Starbucks makes its way to the home of espresso, Milan

Posted on 28 September 2018

Starbucks has just opened a Reserve Roastery store in Milan, Italy and it’s enormous.

Photo sourced from Starbucks.

The American coffee company has gone out of its way to establish what it has called ‘an ode to the coffee culture that emerged in Italy’. Having opened 27,339 stores around the world, this is the first time that Starbucks is attempting to make inroads into the home of the espresso, Milan.

CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz says in video below that it was on his visit to Milan that he saw the future of Starbucks. “We are not coming to Italy to teach people about coffee. This is where coffee was born” says Schultz. “We wanted to come here and offer people a premium experience that was different from everything else that people in Italy are used to” added Schultz.

Starbucks has acknowledged in numerous interviews that it is entering the market with humility by setting up a premium roastery where Italians have the opportunity to see the roasting process. The building is designed in a manner that gives you a 360-degree of the entire process.

Locals and experts have expressed concern about the shift from the established coffee tradition that’s deeply entrenched in Italy. “If there is one thing Italy is competitive on and is better than everybody else, it is food. The fact that [Starbucks] is not Italian is really hurtful,” said professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Luigi Zingales, in an interview with Mercatus Center.

Also read: 20 coffee traditions from around the world

There may be an opportunity for Starbucks to succeed in this market by putting more effort into marketing its products that don’t make up part of the coffee tradition in Milan. These inlcude ice-coffee, Americano, Turkish coffee and other variations. Whether Starbucks entry into this market poses a threat to the traditional caffeinated brew or offers an opportunity to widen the scope of coffee consumption remains to be seen.

Conde Naste’s Laura Giannatempo predicts that Italians are less likely to seek out Starbuck’s coffee than traditional beverages and that tourists will most likely seek out the authentic Italian experience on their travels.

However Starbucks is adamant to penetrate the Italian marke.


Also read: 8 great coffee shops for working in Cape Town

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