World's largest Starbucks opens in China and it's 30000 square feet

Galtero Lara
Diciembre 7, 2017

Starbucks once made waves with the indulgent sizes of some of its drinks, such as the Trenta, which contains a staggering 31 ounces of joe.

Customers standing in front of the roasting cask at the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Asia will see a two-story copper vessel adorned with almost 3,000 hand-carved traditional Chinese chops or stamps.

The store in Shanghai is only one of the five Roasteries that were expected to open before 2020.

The Shanghai location is the world's largest Starbucks. There will also be three bars where baristas would prepare coffee in a variety of ways.

The new Starbucks-branded attraction is the first to open outside of the USA and roughly twice the size of the original Reserve Roastery in Seattle.

As customers enter the new Roastery, they are greeted by the sight of a two-story, copper cask, adorned with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese chops (or stamps) that have been hand-engraved to narrate the story of Starbucks and coffee. It also features a Teavana tea bar that was 3D printed using recycled materials, the release said.

The experience seems curated to keep people mulling about the store. The coffee giant even partnered with another retail powerhouse, Alibaba Group, to create Starbucks' first augmented reality experience.

Once you get behind its enormous thick wooden doors, which are curved like a roasted coffee bean, there are two floors of theatrical, interactive entertainment.

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China might seem like an odd place to open the world's biggest and arguably flashily Starbucks, given the country's traditional warm beverage has always been tea, not coffee.

The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai features an augmented reality (AR) activity for customers that will blend the experiences of shopping online and in-store, according to a press release.

"We had to educate and teach many Chinese about what coffee was - the coffee ritual, what a latte was", Schultz told CNN.

With a new Starbucks store opening in China every 15 hours - setting the country well on the path to surpass the U.S. total number of stores within a decade - it's clear that those dreams are going to keep growing at an extraordinary rate. In 2021, the company plans to have nearly 5,000 stores across the country.

The company's practices in China haven't been free of criticism.

"It's obvious to us that the holding power of China for Starbucks is going to be much more significant than the holding power of the USA", he said. The company defended its pricing structure, and has not adjusted it. The one bright spot was China, which stood out as Starbucks' fastest growing market.

The higher prices don't seem to have driven away many customers. Sales there were up 8% compared with the same quarter a year ago. The handcrafted long bar, one of three on site, is aptly-named, as at 88 foot it's the world's longest coffee bar. In 2018, the company planned to open Roasteries in Milan and NY, and in 2019, Starbucks will open Roasteries in Tokyo and Chicago.

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