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Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Mailand

New barista in town: Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan

A Starbucks in Italy? The major corporation's decision to seek a foothold in the "homeland of coffee" was met with heated debate. Some saw the coffee company's market entry as a cultural imperialist affront to Italy's national identity; others were worried about increased competition and the small businesses that mainly underlie the Italian economy. Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, sought to allay these fears, however, by stating that his company was coming to the country "with humility and respect".

It was thus that the 2,300-square-metre roastery opened its doors in Palazzo delle Poste in the direct vicinity of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and La Scala. A Scolari roasting cask 6.5 metres tall stands squarely at the centre of action. The interior design recalls the Starbucks roasteries in Seattle und Shanghai, offering pale green hues combined with bronze piping and fluted wooden elements.  In reference to Italian architectural history, both the bar countertops and floors are mosaicked in Carrara marble from Tuscany, a stone already in use at the time of the Roman Republic.

The company is thus now active in a total of 78 countries. Liz Muller, Chief Design Officer of Starbucks, hopes the Milan roastery will introduce a new coffee practice to Italy. It thus remains to be seen whether the world's largest coffee company with its 47 years of experience will be able to assert its place in Lombardy.

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