Milan, home to The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, Negroni Sbagliato and beloved espresso, and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery: the first branch of the gigantic coffee chain in Italy , and the third place with a Starbucks toaster.
Since Italians consider their coffee culture to be an art form unto itself, Starbucks is doing its best to convince locals to befriend the famous chain (perhaps frowned upon by many fans of traditional coffee).
“To provide a premium experience that is different from what people in Italy are used to … including different brewing techniques and a space to stay longer, relax and enjoy” –Said Liz Muller
At first glance, it seems to fit the mission.
The 7,600-square-meter Reserve Roastery is being hailed as its “most beautiful shop to date,” according to a press release, with a mosaic floor crafted in the Palladiana style of northern Italy and marble countertops sourced from the Tuscany (and unlike most espresso bars, these get hot). There is also a wood-fired bakery called The Princi Bakery, a bronze barrel for roasting coffee beans, an affogato station, and an outdoor terrace. Coffee drinkers can spin around and take a look at the roasting process while there, and at aperitif time, they can choose from 100 different cocktails at the store’s Arriviamo Bar. In all, it’s a far cry from what is found in one of the 223 Starbucks scattered around Manhattan.
How is the Starbucks Milan Italy
Given that Italians drink some six billion espresso every year , the chain decided to take its time before tackling Italy (it already has more than 3,100 stores in Europe, the Middle East and Africa).
“Coffee for Italians is more than just a ‘fuel’, it is a ritual, it is part of the culture and one of those little pleasures in life that make our day brighter,” said Marina Cacciapuoti, associate editor of visual and native of Rome, from Traveler. “It is difficult for me to understand how someone would choose Starbucks in New York when there are so many better options, and even more so, in Italy.”
Many in Milan are also skeptical of Starbucks’ enduring power. “We will have to see if people get bored after a while, and are happy to spend so much,” the owner of the nearby Café Martini, Alessandro Panzarino, told AFP. (In Milan, the price of an espresso is as low as € 1, or $ 1.16, but Starbucks will charge almost double (€ 1.80 or $ 2.09), Reuters reports.)