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Starbucks launches ‘theatre for coffee’ in London

Starbucks opened the doors to a multi-sensory café concept, Starbucks Reserve bar, in London’s Covent Garden yesterday (21 October).

Starbucks' new store enables customers to watch on as their coffees are prepared
Starbucks’ new store enables customers to watch on as their coffees are prepared

The new concept café, inspired by the brand’s Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle, is said to offer a one-of-a-kind coffee experience, with the brand’s Reserve offering the focus.

The space features arena-style seating that is designed to showcase the coffee-making process, enabling customers the chance to watch on as top baristas, known as Coffee Masters, manufacture their beverages in front of them.

In a departure from the traditional coffee machine, the store offers five different brewing methods – The Clover, Black Eagle, Syphon, Chemex and Pour over, each of which employs equipment that wouldn’t look out of place in a science experiment. Espressos will be made using a manual Black Eagle machine.

Upon entry to the store, customers are welcomed by what the brand has described as ‘experienced coffee masters’ who discuss the new concept and take orders using handheld technology – there is no order point and there are subsequently no queues within the store.

The Reserve bar also offers the newly launched Starbucks Evenings menu, which includes beer and wine, and it is the brand’s first central London outpost to provide freshly prepared food on site throughout the day.

Ad De Hond, vice president of store design for Starbucks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “The store is a platform of connection. Everything in the store is visible – the way we make our coffees, the way we prepare and present our food, and the way we interact with our customers.

“The coffee bar you see is rounded at the front near the glass and low. It’s a theatre for Starbucks Reserve coffee,” said de Hond. “The coffee bar can be seen from the outside, like a billboard inviting customers to come in.”


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