Starbucks is delving into the high-end coffee market with a new kind of store that looks nothing like the coffee chain we know.
The first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opens Friday in Seattle and the company has plans to build another 100 locations across the US.
The store’s designer, Liz Muller,likensthe 15,000-square-foot roastery to the fictional Willy Wonka chocolate factory.
The New York Times has called it “part retail store, part manufacturing facility and part theatre.”
There are coffee bars throughout the store and overhead, pneumatic tubes transfer beans to roasters and coffee silos.
“A 32-foot-high Copper Cast, where beans rest after roasting, shines like a newly minted penny,” writes USAToday’s Bruce Horowitz.
Muller told Horowitz that the store is meant be the “theatre of coffee.”
“We wanted to create a space to reinvent retail for the 21st century,” she said.
High-end coffee beans can sell for between $US16 to $US45 per pound.
“We’re going to take the customer on a journey, immersing them in an interactive environment where they will be introduced to handcrafted, small-batch coffees within feet of where they’re being roasted,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the Times.
The Seattle store will serve as a flagship for the new chain of roasteries.
Instead of carrying Starbucks’ logo, the bags of coffee for sale inside the store are marked with the letter “R,” which stands for “Reserve” — the name of the chain’s new line of high-end coffee.
In fact, you won’t find the familiar Starbucks logo anywhere inside the store, which will serve as a flagship for the new chain of roasteries.
The coffee beans available for sale include Colombia Montebonito and Sumatra Peaberry Lake Toba.
Starbucks is expected to open the next Reserve cafes in urban areas like New York City and Washington, D.C.
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