On September, 7, 2018, Starbucks opened its doors in the heart of Milan, just a few steps from the Duomo Cathedral in Piazza Cordusio. If you’re visualizing a traditional Starbucks, clear your mind because everything here celebrates Italy.
The Milan Reserve Roastery, the third the company has opened after Seattle and Shanghai, is impressive, 2,400 square feet in the historic Palazzo delle Poste right in the financial district of Milan. The interior is pure Italian: the floors are Italian marble, the roasting machine from the Italian brand Scolari Engineering, the marble counter from the Italian Calacatta Macchi Vecchi, and the wood oven is made in Italy as well.
The concept stays true to Starbucks’ former CEO and now chairman emeritus Howard Schultz’s vision, including his idea to keep the charming, friendly, familiar, and overwhelming welcome of the Italian bartenders. He has said: “We’re not coming here to teach Italians to make coffee.”
Schultz, who travelled to Italy for the first time in 1983, was fascinated by the Italian tradition of enjoying coffee. Italians worship coffee, drinking the beverage in china cups while standing at the bar or seated at a table. Americans drink coffee on the go in large paper cups. The owner of the internationally known coffee chain was brilliant to understand that there are cultural differences. He brought together two different ways of enjoying coffee and approaching life.
The store features an enormous variety of Italian products, including ice cream and sorbetto by Italian master Alberto Marchetti, a selection of small pastries by the Milanese Princi, wines from small Italian wine makers, and thousands of cocktails that will appeal to Italians. On the ground floor there is ample seating as well as a beautiful terrazzo balcony, both spaces providing ways for Italians to enjoy coffee or an aperitivo. There is also, as in Starbucks in the U.S., free Wi-Fi.
The Milan Reserve Roastery Reserve may follow the Seattle and Shanghai format, but everything is tailor made to please an Italian audience.
One sticking point: the price, higher than what a consumer would pay in a traditional Milan cafe.
If you plan a visit, expect to stand in line for at least 90 minutes.
Top photo: Bigstock