Not your everyday cup of joe
Il Sole 24 Ore
Is Italy ready for Starbucks? asked Stefania Romani. The Seattle-based megachain has opened its first Italian store, in Milan, and many Italians are skeptical that the Americans can teach us anything about coffee. “A two-hour wait for a Starbucks coffee?” Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted about the long line outside the new store. “Not even if you paid me.” But I’ve been inside, and it’s not what you think. The Milanese Starbucks, housed in a beautiful old building just a few steps from the Duomo, is a lush temple of marble, with a huge bronze roaster that makes “a spectacular aesthetic impact.” The shop is one of the company’s flagship Reserve Roastery stores, where beans are roasted, ground, and filtered on the premises. And it has its own blend, Pantheon, a smooth brew with “hints of raisins, milk chocolate, and caramel.” The real surprise is the food: Starbucks enlisted Princi, the “historic Milanese bakery that is synonymous with quality” to supply cakes and pastries, while “stuffed focaccia and other homemade delicacies are cooked in a wood-burning oven” behind the counter. Even the takeout cups are Italian: Instead of the iconic white and green, they are a sleek black. This is not “mass production,” but “local flavor”—and it’s delicious.