IN the city where one can find the largest number of Starbucks stores in China, the corporation’s most ambitious project yet has become a dream come true. The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery is an embodiment of coffee innovation.
Walking into the 2,700-square-meter Roastery for the first time is a special Willy Wonka moment. Customers are greeted by the stunning sight of a two-story copper cask, adorned with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese chops (or stamps) that were hand-engraved to narrate the story of Starbucks and coffee.
“Eighteen years ago, when we decided to come here, very few people in America believed that Starbucks Coffee Company could create a successful business in a tea-drinking society, the question was will Chinese customers drink coffee when they come to Starbucks,” said Howard Shultz, executive chairman of Starbucks Coffee Company. “For many years, that question was not answered in the affirmative, because in the early years, Starbucks had to educate, to share and to demonstrate the experience of Starbucks coffee.”
As the values and essence of what Starbucks stands for has universal appeal, it has achieved tremendous success in the Chinese market, growing to more than 3,000 stores and 40,000 employees who are serving 5 million customers every week.
Also with the opening of the new Shanghai Roastery, the Starbucks Foundation and Starbucks China has announced a social impact commitment of US$20 million ( 132 million yuan) over the next five years.
“We firmly believe it is our role and responsibility to use our scale to give back to the communities as we continue to grow in China, and with the people of China,” said Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China. “Our commitment, together with our Roastery opening, epitomizes how Starbucks is doubling-down on the unprecedented opportunities we see in the future for Starbucks and China.”
The art of roasting and brewing
The Shanghai Roastery has created a theater of roasting that begins with the arrival of green coffee beans. Customers can witness how the beans transform into aromatic coffee and even purchase the freshly-roasted coffee at the scoop-bar.
The beans are heated intensely for five to seven minutes to achieve the “first pop” as the beans double in size, crackling as they expand. Somewhere between 11 and 15 minutes, the beans would start to develop their full flavor potential.
All coffee served within the Shanghai Roastery or enjoyed and purchased from Reserve stores in China, are roasted in two Probat N500 roasters. Each machine can roast up to 100kg of coffee beans.
The first Starbucks Reserve Roastery outside the company’s hometown Seattle will also be roasting Yunnan coffee, coffee grown in China.
The Shanghai Roastery offers some unique brewing methods that cannot be found in other stores, including the debut of Starbucks’ proprietary Clover brewing system in China, which utilizes a full-immersion brewing method paired with vacuum extraction to deliver the unique clarity and full flavor potential of the Reserve coffee. The Shanghai Roastery has 11 Clover machines.
A visually-stunning Cold Brew Tower was specially designed for the Roastery, where the coffee is steeped in cool water to unlock the smooth and natural sweetness. The cold brew coffee also serves as the base for many of the mixology innovations at the Shanghai Roastery, including the Nitro Cold Brew, which infuses refreshing cold coffee with nitrogen. The Steampunk Brew is also debuting for the first time in China, a dynamic tea brewing sensory experience at the Teavana Bar, allowing customers to watch tea leaves dance as they are immersed in the steam-heated water.
The Princi experience
The entire store is a symphonic experience for the senses, as customers get immersed in the aromatic scents of coffee beans and freshly baked breads and cakes from the Italian artisan bakery Princi, founded by acclaimed baker Rocco Princi who combines the craft of bread baking, exceptional ingredients and the ” Spirito di Milano.”
Princi is the exclusive food offering in all Roastery locations, including Seattle, Shanghai and upcoming stores.
In Shanghai, a team of more than 30 skilled Chinese bakers and chefs are bringing more than 80 different menu items from flaky cornetti to focaccia sandwiches filled with Parma ham and Italian mozzarella. A Commessa (or culinary concierge) will guide customers through the breadth of offerings.
A tribute to the Chinese culture
The design of the Shanghai Roastery shares some similarities with the Starbucks’ first Roastery in Seattle opened 2014: copper cask, symphony pipes and clacker board. But the two roasteries are also distinctly different. The team of designers have conceptualized every design detail that not only reflects the journey of coffee, but also pays tribute to local Chinese culture and heritage.
In addition to the chops on the copper cask, which were inspired by traditional Chinese seals, the ceiling is honoring the Chinese architecture with 10,000 elegant walnut-wood hexagons that create a panel to connect the two floors into one cohesive experience.
The Teavana Bar’s pale-jade color drew inspiration from traditional Chinese porcelain. It is decorated with unique pieces of fine, delicate ceramics designed by renowned Shanghainese artist Tu Juan. Created with 3D printing technology and using recycled plastic, the distinctive 7.5-meter bar is a visual representation of cascading tea terraces celebrating the rich tea culture in China.
The Roastery has a rich, deep tone of the American walnut. The space’s only bright pop of color is the “Shanghai Wall” which was created by arranging the Starbucks Reserve cards neatly to spell the word ” Shanghai.” A similar pop of brightness is found by the Teavana Bar on the second floor which arranges the Teavana tea cards.
Being one of the most advanced digital locations for Starbucks worldwide, the Shanghai Roastery has integrated the augmented reality (AR) experience which allows customers to point their mobile devices around the store to learn about the facility and browse the menu.
The Roasting Area is definitely the star of the show, customers can watch master roasters unlock each coffee’s unique flavor nuances. The Main Bar is where the Roastery journey begins. Enjoy espresso drinks with a Roastery twist, and a super smooth espresso beverage made of fresh cream instead of milk.
The Paring Bar can elevate the coffee experience and you can even try chocolate pairings with coffee and exclusive craft bear. In the Long Bar you can enjoy everything from coffee to Princi bakery. Witness China’s first Clover brewing system and watch the spectacle of siphons while enjoying drinks and wine.
The Teavana Bar crafts an unexpected tea experience, including tea-inspired cocktails, while the Cold Brew Tower features 5 iconic vessels, where you can enjoy handcrafted cold brew beverages.
(c) 2017 Shanghai Daily Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).