Shanghai, already home to more than 600 Starbucks, is now only the second place to get an extra-special Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

With a new Starbucks opening up every fifteen hours in China, adding to the more than 3,000 shops already built in the country, one more is hardly newsworthy stuff. But the Reserve Roastery that opened up last month in Shanghai is something special, an architectural mishmash of luxury hotel and whisky distillery floor that covers a ginormous 2,700 square metres (30,000 square feet), and has a two-storey copper cask dominating its centre. As with some of its stores in Japan, Starbucks have embraced aspects of the local culture, incorporating Chinese designs such as the more than 1,000 Chinese character-engraved wooden boards that decorate the copper cask, detailing the history of Starbucks and their coffee.

The Shanghai Roastery, the second to be built after the first opened in Seattle three years ago, features three wooden coffee bars, including one that’s 27-metres (88-feet) long, a Teavana Bar, and an on-site Italian bakery.

▼ A special branch needs a special name. Why have a cup of coffee in a coffee shop on the way somewhere, when you can be “greeted by a multi-sensory coffee experience in an interactive coffee and retail destination”?

▼ If coffee isn’t your thing, because you can’t beat a proper cuppa, then the new Roastery also caters to tea-lovers with their Teavana range.

▼ Not a laptop in sight, so who is writing all the movie scripts that will never be made?

The first team of Chinese Starbucks artisan roasters at the Roastery are trained to make unique, small-lot Reserve coffee, roasted on-site from green beans  right through to the finished article at the counter where baristas will prepare your ever-so-fancy beverage of choice.

It isn’t just the coffee-making (apparently they use six different brewing methods) that’s state-of-the-art. The whole site has been designed to immerse customers in an augmented reality environment; by waving their devices around them, customers are able to learn about the coffee roasting process.

Starbucks are also working with Alibaba’s Tmall online marketplace so that customers are able to order Shanghai Roastery and Reserve coffee or merchandise to their doors, or sign up for special coffee tasting sessions.

Now, we’ll need to hop on a plane to Shanghai if we want to experience the Roastery ourselves (and perhaps take our own eggs?), or just hope that Japan will be the next place to receive the honour. Which, given the unseemly amount of money we spend at Starbucks, shouldn’t be too much of a push for the company.

Source, images: Starbucks
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