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Starbucks to Go "Venti" in China

06 December 2017

However, that award can now go to Shanghai, thanks to the company's latest opening: a sprawling, 30,000-square-foot Reserve Roastery that's officially the largest Starbucks ever. "The affinity we have built with our partners (employees) and customers over the past 18 years in China is special", says Schultz, who notes that the metropolitan hub and consumer gateway Shanghai is the ideal location for the new premium store.

China is Starbucks' fast-growing and most important overseas market.

Shanghai's Reserve Roastery is a fully interactive experience which enables consumers to point their mobile phones at features throughout the store to unlock augmented reality experiences.

"It's obvious to us that the holding power of China for Starbucks is going to be much more significant than the holding power of the U.S.", Schultz said Tuesday at a briefing to unveil the new cafe.

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As customers enter the new Roastery, they are greeted by the sight of a two-story, copper cask, adorned with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese chops (or stamps) that have been hand-engraved to narrate the story of Starbucks and coffee.

A Starbucks "partner" makes a siphon brew in the new Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai, China.

Roasted coffee spills into a cooling tray in the new Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai, China.

Additional Roasteries are slated to open in Milan and NY in 2018 and in Tokyo and Chicago in 2019.

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One of the three coffee bars is 88 feet long.

But the roastery in Shanghai won't hold the title of largest Starbucks for too long.

The Roastery will also feature China's first Starbucks Teavana Bar, where customers can select a Teavana signature pure tea or blend, served either hot or iced. Sales in same-stores were up by 8% in China in the most recent quarter, in comparison to an increase globally of just 2%. Its CEO for China told CNBC a new Starbucks location opens in the country every 15 hours.

Starbucks increased its China investment during July, when plans were announced to buy out its joint venture partners.

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Starbucks to Go