Italy’s First Starbucks Opens in Milan on Friday
In what Starbucks is calling a 35-year-old dream, the company will finally open its first Italian store in Milan on Friday morning.
A Starbucks in Italy — the espresso capital of the world — marks the company's 78th global market, but it looks nothing like any of the coffee shops you'd see in neighboring European cities and the US. The Reserve Roastery in Milan is located in the former historic post office in Palazzo delle Poste. The bronzed storefront blends in easily with the architecture; On the inside, the 25,000-square-foot space is designed by Liz Muller, Starbucks chief design officer, and the roof combines Italian artistry and materials from hand-carved marble with palladiana flooring.
The Reserve Roastery in Milan is Starbucks third roastery in the world, after the first in Seattle, home to its corporate headquarters, went up in 2014, and one in Shanghai in 2017. The roastery will offer arabica coffee sourced from 30 countries around the world and will sell baked artisanal food from local baker Rocco Princi.
Muller told the Associated Press that Starbucks “wanted to come and bring a premium experience that is different to what people in Italy are used to.” In Italy, hanging out at a coffee shop isn't the norm. In fact, you often have to pay if you want sit down at a cafe. Instead, you typically pay one to two euros for a quick espresso shot and enjoy it standing up at the bar. Not all Italians will appreciate this new coffee shop in their country.
“I’ve tasted Starbucks coffee, and I’ll absolutely stick to Italian coffee,” Italian local Giulia Brighenti told the AP.
The Milan Roastery comes 20 years after Starbucks opened its first European store in London. The company described the new Italian store as “the crown jewel of Starbucks global retail footprint.” Howard Schultz, chairman emeritus of Starbucks, said his trip to Milan 35 years ago in 1983 inspired him to transform the company into what it is today. Schultz said he was "deeply impressed" with Italy's espresso culture where "family, friends and colleagues meet daily for espresso or cappuccino at welcoming, casual neighborhood bars."
Starbucks also plans to add additional stores in Milan later this year.