Artisan coffee have long sneered at Starbucks and their whipped cream laden, syrupy confections. But the world famous coffee chain is now trying a whole new tactic in Milan. Their very first location in Italy is the historic Poste building in Piazza Cordusio which will be home to the world’s first Starbucks Reserve Roastery. This space will be a 2,300-square-meter (25,000-square-foot) homage to the Italian espresso culture that inspired Howard Schultz 35 years ago to create the Starbucks Experience.
This is clearly the Seattle base company’s bid to enter a burgeoning artisan coffee market which has lately become the center of coffee consumption. The Reserve experience is built around the Arabica coffees that are sourced from more than 30 countries around the world.
The coffee is handpicked by quality experts, and each one offers a unique taste profile and stories from the region where it was grown. Seven skilled roasters who have spent nearly a year training in Starbucks roasting plants around the world are responsible for roasting the coveted beans. They apply their craft daily in the Milan Roastery, which is the first place in Europe where Starbucks’ unique, small-lot Reserve coffee will be roasted.
At the coffee bar guests have access to hundreds of baristas who will handcraft a menu of more than 115 beverages across multiple brewing methods: ModBar® Pour Over, Chemex, Coffee Press, Siphon, Espresso, Cold Brew and the proprietary CloverTM Brewed coffee. For the first time at Starbucks the bar will feature an affogato station, where guests can enjoy a shot of coffee over a scoop of made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream.
This Milan location will also be the first Starbucks location to feature an Arriviamo Bar. Here, a team of mixologists create beverages from a bespoke menu that draws on both the Italian palate and Starbucks coffee heritage. Expect classic Italian favorites such as the Spritz and Negroni as well as cold-brewed coffee cocktails. This is an altogether new experience for Starbucks customers.
“During my first trip to Milan in 1983, I was captivated by the sense of community I found in the city’s espresso bars – the moments of human connection that passed so freely and genuinely between baristas and their customers. The opening of the Milan Roastery is the story of Starbucks coming full circle,” said Howard Schultz, chairman emeritus of Starbucks. “Everything we have experienced, since that first moment of inspiration 35 years ago to now being a daily part of millions of people’s lives around the world, we bring with great respect to Italy. On behalf of the 350,000 partners who wear the green apron and millions before them, I am so proud and humbled to bring our Italian customers an experience that is the very best of Starbucks.”
With so many new offerings available to Italians, we can’t help but be jealous! Hopefully Starbucks will bring some of these new features stateside for their longtime fans to enjoy. While the Roastery concept is bold and enticing, it is questionable whether this artisan approach will work well in the US, where the brand has a well-established identity.