Starbucks Opens Reserve Roastery in Milan

Starbucks Coffee opened its first store in Italy – Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan – today. Following a grand opening celebration last night, the Roastery opened its doors to customers 7 September at 9 am CET.

“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,” says 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.”

Starbucks arrival in Italy marks the company’s 78th global market. Milan is the first time Starbucks has established its retail presence in a new country with the Roastery format, of which only two others exist in the world: the Seattle Roastery, which opened in 2014, and the Roastery in Shanghai, which debuted in 2017. Standing at 2,300 square meters (25,000 square feet), the Milan Roastery is in Milan’s Palazzo della Poste on the Piazza Cordusio — only streets away from iconic landmarks such as the Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Teatro alla Scala.

Starbucks opened its first store in Europe 20 years ago in London. Since then, it has grown in partnership with strategic licensees to more than 3,100 stores in 40 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The introduction of the company-operated Reserve Roastery in Milan reinforces the company’s investment in its premium brand as part of its overall growth strategy, which also serves as a pipeline of retail and product innovation for its core stores around the world. Following the opening of the Roastery, Starbucks will bring additional cafés to Milan with licensed partner Percassi beginning late 2018. These stores will reflect the unique coffee culture of the Italian market, while also offering Starbucks iconic beverage and food offerings.

“We have taken our time to ensure our entry into Italy is done thoughtfully and respectfully,” says Kevin Johnson, CEO, Starbucks. “The introduction of our Roastery and premium Reserve brand will set the stage for the long-term development of our core store portfolio with our world-class licensee partner, Percassi.”

At the Milan Roastery, heritage and innovation take center stage against a backdrop of stunning design and immersive discovery. Vibrant colors reflective of the Italian fashion, and over the course of the day, the space transforms from the light filtering through the glass ceiling.

At the heart of the environment is a fully-functioning Scolari coffee roaster, manufactured just miles outside of the center of Milan. To the right, customers will find the main bar, where classic espresso beverages mingle with cutting-edge coffee innovation. The wood-fronted bar features fluting, which echoes a motif found in Italian architecture throughout history and is topped with marble sourced from Tuscany. Upstairs on the mezzanine, customers can discover Arriviamo Bar — where mixologists are on hand to create specialty cocktails behind a 10-meter (30-foot)-long marble bar carved from a single block of Calacatta Macchia Vecchia. To the left, customers will see upon entering a Princi Bakery, complete with a wood-fired oven, built brick by brick, onsite by hand using a crew of masons and artisans.

Throughout the Roastery, the physical retail environment is complemented by an interactive augmented reality (AR) experience, encouraging customers to use their mobile device to uncover more about Starbucks Reserve coffees, the roasting process and the company. The centerpiece of the AR experience is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall visual representation of Starbucks history and its coffee — engraved in brass by local craftsmen, burnished to an ombre finish and backlit.

Outside on the building’s terrace, customers can enjoy the full range of Roastery coffees, cocktails and cuisine in a distinctly European environment — that of a street-side café. Also adorning the Roastery’s portico is a striking statue of a siren – the symbol of Starbucks steeped in classical lore – hand-carved in Carrara marble by Tuscan sculptor Giovanni Balderi.

At the heart of Starbucks premium Reserve brand are the rare and exotic Arabica coffees, ethically sourced from more than 30 countries around the world. The Milan Roastery is the first place in Europe where Starbucks unique, small-lot Reserve coffee will be roasted. The Roastery provides customers unprecedented visibility to all aspects of the roasting process, with a 360-degree walk-around view of the manufacturing site, where coffee will be packaged for distribution in Starbucks stores across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The coffee bar will serve as the stage where hundreds of baristas 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 Clover Brewed coffee. The main bar will also feature a first-for-Starbucks affogato station, where ice cream is hand-crafted, made-to-order, using a unique and theatrical liquid nitrogen finish to create the perfect ice cream to be paired with a delicious shot of espresso.

At the Scooping Bar, guests may purchase specially-packaged, freshly-roasted coffee beans from Starbucks Reserve coffees, including some that are exclusive to the Milan Roastery.

In 2016, Starbucks announced a strategic partnership with Italian baker Rocco Princi, making his artisanal, freshly baked food the exclusive pairing to the company’s premium Reserve brand. Following the introduction of Princi food to the Seattle and Shanghai Roasteries last year, Princi is now available in the first Reserve store located in Starbucks headquarters in addition to the first standalone US Princi store that opened this summer in Seattle.

Inspired by the Italian aperitivo – social cocktails paired with small delicacies in the early evening hours – the Milan Roastery will be the first Starbucks location to feature an Arriviamo Bar. Located on the mezzanine at the top of a sweeping staircase, Arriviamo is a destination for a handcrafted cocktail or special coffee service.

At Arriviamo, a team of mixologists create beverages from a bespoke menu that draws on both the Italian palate and Starbucks coffee heritage. From classic Italian favourites such as the Spritz and Negroni to cold-brewed coffee cocktails that infuse flavor and craft, customers can witness a whole new theatre of experience that is both distinctive from and complementary to the bars on the main Roastery floor. In addition to serving aperitivo in the evening, customers can also enjoy coffee on the mezzanine.

Nearly 300 new careers began earlier this year as the Roastery hired on its inaugural team of partners (employees) — spanning barista and mixology positions, coffee roasters and manufactures, and Princi bakers. Partners underwent minimum three-months’ intensive training and will continue to see investments in learning and development as they grow their careers with Starbucks. Starbucks also brings its award-winning Apprenticeship Program to Milan at opening. Starbucks is already offering apprenticeships to baristas and mixologists, with six apprentices already enrolled.

Beyond its own doors, Starbucks will also focus on creating educational and career opportunity for youth across Milan. The Starbucks Foundation is partnering with the Fondazione Don Gino Rigoldi to create a bespoke program to support young people from disadvantaged areas of Milan who are at risk of marginalization and face significant barriers into employment. Simultaneously, The Starbucks Foundation is supporting programs in partnership with La Scala Academy, focused on scholarships, employability training and community engagement that offer students greater access to education and employment.

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