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Starbucks has brought a new meaning to the word “roastery.” A roastery is considered “a place where coffee beans are roasted and processed,” but the Seattle-based coffee giant has gone above and beyond in recent years, and now, they’ve gone even higher with their newest project.
The company recently opened a brand-new roastery in Tokyo, Japan, that is like a “coffee wonderland,” as Starbucks Japan CEO Takafumi Minaguchi described it.
Starbucks currently has four roasteries in Seattle (2014), Shanghai (2017), New York City (2018) and Milan (2018). The Tokyo Roastery brings it five, with number six expected to open in Chicago.
It is four stories and 32,000 square feet of coffee heaven, surpassing Shanghai’s 30,000-square-foot facility as Starbucks’ biggest establishment in the world.
The company’s roasteries are “large, lavish Starbucks stores that feature specialty coffees and teas, on-premise roasters and massive coffee casks where freshly roasted beans are held.” And like its predecessors, the Tokyo Roastery “has series of overhead pipes that shoot beans throughout the building, sells customized merchandise and incorporates Princi bakeries into the stores.”
The coffee giant uses its roasteries to offer a premium experience to lure customers and create a better relationship with them. “This is a real-life Willy Wonka experience with coffee as the heart and soul,” said Liz Muller, Starbucks’ chief design officer, when they first opened their Roastery in Seattle.
“The Roasteries are brand amplifiers for us,” CEO Kevin Johnson said. “That is their primary objective.”
They allow management to promote turning Starbucks locations into a “third place” where even non-paying customers can hang out and relax – a policy they implemented after last year’s controversy in Philadelphia surrounding two black men.
“This is a slower experience,” Muller said on the roastery in December. “Come and stay longer, meet with your family or friends, relax.”
The company also tests out new drinks in their roasteries before releasing them to locations nationwide. In addition, they test different design elements, specifically for their 200+ Reserve Bars. For those who aren’t familiar, their Reserve Bars are high-end coffee shops that aren’t on the level of their roasteries; they are fancier than your standard Starbucks coffee shop.
The new location can be found in Tokyo’s chic Nakameguro district alongside the Meguro River in what locals consider a prime spot, and can roast up to 4,000 pounds of coffee a day. The second floor is home to the world’s largest Teavana tea bar, while the third floor contains an Arriviamo bar, just like the New York City and Milan locations. This bar has both coffee and tea-infused cocktails, with Japanese twists on traditional classics and non-alcoholic options. And on the fourth floor is the “Inspiration Lounge,” which acts as an event space; something no other location has.
It was designed by local designer Kengo Kuma and is the first of the five to be built from the ground up; the others were overhauls of existing buildings. You can read more about it on CNN.