Shanghai is home for world’s largest Starbucks Reserve Roastery

The world’s largest Starbucks Reserve Roastery opens in Shanghai tomorrow, a store the company also describes as its “most beautiful”.

At 2700sqm (nearly 30,000sqft) the store is twice the size of the Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery flagship. It features three coffee experience bars, the largest 27m long. The coffee bar was handcrafted by premiere Chinese artisans and references the unique roasting curve of individual coffee beans.

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China is Starbucks’ fastest-growing market with a new store opening every 15 hours. The US coffee chain has been in China for more than 18 years and now has more than 3000 stores across 136 cities. More than 600 of those  are in Shanghai.

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The ambitious store expands Starbucks’ core offer, with more than 100 beverages on the menu, including Teavana tea infused with nitrogen and a new take on tea brewing with the Steampunk, which uses steam to extract unique flavors from each tea leaf.

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Starbucks says the design is unique and will not be repeated elsewhere. Key design features include a ceiling consisting of 10,000 handmade wooden hexagon-shaped tiles inspired by the locking of an espresso shot on an espresso machine.

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At the store’s entrance, mirroring the signature copper cask at the inaugural Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, customers will be greeted by the sight of a two-story, 40-ton copper cask adorned with more than 1000 traditional Chinese chops, or stamps, hand-engraved to narrate the story of Starbucks and its Reserve concept. The cask has a practical purpose, as well – connecting to the three coffee bars with pneumatic copper piping, replenishing all the roasted Starbucks Reserve coffee silos.

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New bars and AR

Besides the coffee experience bars, the new store features Asia’s first Princi bakery and cafe, with more than 30 Chinese bakers and chefs baking 80-plus menu items fresh onsite daily, based on artisanal recipes created by Italian baker Rocco Princi.

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And it features China’s first Teavana Bar. Made entirely from 3D printed recycled material, the bar’s light jade colouring was inspired by ancient green clay teapots and the stains formed by brewing over time. Starbucks will continue China’s brewing tradition alongside tea curators as they practice mixology with the help of the Steampunk system’s nitrogen flavor extraction.

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Designed by Starbucks, and powered by Alibaba, the Shanghai Roastery will become the first Starbucks location, and the first-of-its kind in China, to seamlessly integrate a real-time, in-store and online customer experience. Roastery customers are invited to immerse themselves in the first Starbucks augmented reality (AR) experience by simply pointing their phones at key features around the Roastery to bring to life information about the Starbucks bean-to-cup story. Guided through the space by a custom-designed AR “tour-guide,” customers can unlock virtual badges and a unique Roastery filter to commemorate their visit.

“The affinity we have built with our partners (employees) and customers over the past 18 years in China is special and we knew we must bring the Reserve Roastery, our boldest, most premium store ever, to Shanghai, China’s bustling metropolitan hub and one of the world’s most dynamic retail destinations, as well as a gateway to customers from across Asia and the world,” said Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks Coffee Company. “We’ve created a space that both recognises and celebrates our 46-year history of coffee leadership and retail innovation with China’s rich, diverse culture.”

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Here’s a video from Starbucks showing some of the interior (no sound):

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