Italy brought espresso to the United States, and in turn, this country is bringing Starbucks to Milan!
Italy’s first Starbucks is scheduled to open in the fashion-centric city on Friday, September 7, and photos released ahead of the opening indicate this Starbucks is quite different from the more casual stores littered throughout just about every city and town in America.
Known formally as Starbucks Reserve Roastery Milan, the massive 25,500-square-foot storefront, which is located just yards from the landmark Duomo, boasts a heated marble-topped coffee bar, a cocktail bar, artisan bread offerings under license from a local baker and a 22-foot tall bronze cask that allows customers to watch part of the roasting process. Missing from the menu, however, are Frappuccinos and many other beverages Starbucks is known for.
According to Bloomberg, despite having more than 28,000 stores worldwide, the Milan location is only the mega-chain’s third roastery. The others are located in Seattle, where the company is headquartered, and Shanghai, China.
Though not all Italians are eager to say ciao to this American import, Starbucks actually has roots in Milan: In 1983 the company’s former CEO, Howard Schultz, was on a business trip in the Italian city, which is widely credited for inspiring his successful vision for the company.
Still, many Italians and Americans alike aren’t thrilled that Starbucks now has a presence in Milan, let alone one that is expected to grow in the coming months. “Please for the love of all things holy don’t teach Italians anything about coffee,” tweeted one naysayer after plans for the Milan Starbucks were announced.
Schultz is well aware Starbucks won’t be welcomed with open arms by everyone. “We are not coming here to teach Italians how to make coffee, we’re coming here with humility and respect, to show what we’ve learned,” he said last year as he announced plans for the Roastery. “This store will be the culmination of a great dream of mine.”
In an interview with CBS This Morning on Thursday, September 6, the entrepreneur explained how Italians might actually learn from the new store. “Most Italians have never seen coffee roasted, and what we’ve created, really, is the Willy Wonka of coffee,” he said. “I think we’re going to add something to the Milanese culture and values, and I think Starbucks is going to do very well here.”
Tell Us: Do you think Starbucks belongs in Milan?
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