MILAN — Starbucks is opening its first store in Italy, betting that premium brews and novelties like heated marble-topped coffee bars will win customers in a country fond of its espresso rituals.
Decades ago, Milan's coffee bars inspired the chain's vision. Now Starbucks hopes clients will visit its new store, called the Reserve Roastery, to watch beans being roasted, sip coffee or enjoy cocktails at a mezzanine-level bar opening Friday in a former post office near the city's Duomo, or cathedral.
Starbucks chief design officer Liz Muller told AP: "We're not coming to Italy to teach people about coffee." Instead, she said, Starbucks is offering Italians a different, "premium experience," where clients "stay longer."
In Italy, an espresso at a coffee bar is usually a quick ritual performed standing up.