Monday 22 April 2024
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Starbucks in Milan «turns the spotlight on the coffee world» says Caroli Sca Italy’s coordinator

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MILAN – International magazine STir has devoted an interesting article by Dan Shryock to Starbucks’ debut in Italy that describes how Italian consumers and coffee professionals are reacting to the opening of the Reserve Roastery flagship in downtown Milan.

The author also reports the comments of Cristina Caroli, national coordinator for the Specialty Coffee Association in Italy. Here is the article.

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Starbucks opened its much-anticipated Reserve Roastery in Milan, Italy, today to choruses of cheers and critiques.

This is the multinational coffee giant’s third roastery in the world and its first storefront of any kind in Italy. The roastery, 2,400 square feet of space in the historic former post office in Palazzo delle Poste, roasts and serves small-lot Arabica coffees from 30 countries.

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The store also sells fresh artisanal foods from famed Milanese baker Rocco Princi. And, for the first time, aperitivos and small-bite foods are served at an Arriviamo Bar.

The roastery created 300 new jobs, Starbucks said. The roastery opening will be followed by some additional Starbucks stores across Milan, developed in partnership with the Bergamo-based Percassi real estate development company. Reports indicate the partnership may grow to 200 stores across the country within the next six years

The building itself is opulent in its construction, keeping with its location and historic nature. Starbucks’ three roasteries showcase the process from green bean to roaster and eventually to the cup.

The Milan setting features marble, brick, copper, and bronze. Center stage is dominated by a 22-foot bronze roasting cask that unfolds and rotates to show customers the de-gassing phase of the roasting process.

The roastery, about a five-minute walk from the Duomo di Milano and the upscale Galleria shopping district at the heart of the city’s tourism, is expected to attract visitors as well as local millennials.

The idea of Starbucks coming to Italy has been derided by detractors and praised by specialty coffee advocates.

Italian coffee consumers are creatures of habit, industry professionals say. They not only drink their espressos in a hurry, they tend to prefer the local or regional blends and roasts their taste buds recognize. It’s what they expect.

Cristina Caroli, the Specialty Coffee Association’s national director, coordinator, in Italy, called the Milan roastery “a colossal investment in Italy, an initiative of great media relevance that turns the spotlight on the coffee world.”

Cristina Caroli

“In my opinion, this is positive,” Caroli said Thursday. “Italy needs a strong shock (to see) the great potential that the world of specialty coffee has. I hope that this initiative can attract consumers’ curiosity to say that they have visited a cool place, but at the same time it can put them in direct contact with the diversification of origins and methods of preparation, that can show them the great craftsmanship and beauty of the specialty concept at a high level.”

Caroli said she expects most Italians will continue to visit their local bar “as a place of affection and aggregation” and that Starbucks may be a curiosity.

“On the other hand, for some who search for luxury experiences, this is the proposal that they were waiting for.”

Dan Shryock

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