Starbucks + Italy = The future

In a previous post I talked about how there are 9 Starbucks stores in the Greater Lafayette area. Guess how many there are currently in Italy? Zero.

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Milan, Italy
Starbucks has stores in 75 countries, but has yet to enter the country where espresso was born. Until today.
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The reveal of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan. Photo credit: news.starbucks.com

On February 28, 2017 Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz announced that his company would be opening a coffee roastery in Milan. Following the opening of the coffee roastery, Starbucks stores will slowly appear around Milan.

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CEO Shultz and Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala making the announcement. Photo Credit: news.starbucks.com

On February 29, 2016 Shultz announced in a press statement, “Starbucks history is directly linked to the way the Italians created and executed the perfect shot of espresso. Everything that we’ve done sits on the foundation of those wonderful experiences that many of us have had in Italy, and we’ve aspired to be a respectful steward of that legacy for 45 years.” The company was suppose to open their first store in Italy in 2017, but that did not happen.

I have mixed feelings about Starbucks coming to Italy. I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Italy over this past summer and got to experience the Italian coffee culture. They are serious about their espresso. Whether you order a caffe latte at a gas station or at a fancy cafe, you will always receive a beautiful, delicious cup of espresso.

On one hand, I am excited that the company, I barista for, is expanding and growing into different countries and cultures and on the other hand, I am afraid that Starbucks will hurt small, local coffee businesses in Italy. Starbucks is a chain coffee shop. You can get in 75 countries. Why would I go to Starbucks in Italy, when I can visit a unique, local coffee shop that I will probably never have the opportunity to visit again?

On a more positive note it seems to me like Starbucks realizes how special and unique Italian coffee culture is. In my opinion Starbucks should be very humble and show great respect for Italy’s coffee culture. They are not the experts here.

To read more, check out the complete press release.

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