Starbucks will make its first foray into the Italian market with a roastery located in a stately old post office on Piazza Cordusio in Milan, the company announced today in a press release. The roastery, the first to open in Europe and the fifth in the world, is slated to be unveiled at the end of 2018. Although Starbucks, with more than 24,000 stores in 70 countries around the globe, had announced last year that it would open in Milan in early 2017, the schedule has changed as the company appears to be gearing up for a much splashier Italian entrance than had been planned.
It’s only appropriate, given Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz’s spiritual affinities with the country. He’s visited Italy every year since 1983, when he travelled there to represent Starbucks at an international trade show and became enamored of its coffee culture. "This store will be the culmination of a great dream of mine—34 years in the making—to return to Milan with one of the most immersive, magical retail experiences in the world,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO.
It remains to be seen, of course, if the Italians will nibble—or sip, as it were. Coffee consumption in Italy is a relatively sacrosanct affair, though Milan’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, welcomes Starbucks’ commercial incursion, presumably because it will provide a boost to the country’s languid economy. "On this occasion, I would like to welcome this new venture and thank Howard Schultz for choosing Milan,” he said in a statement. “Starbucks is a brand famous worldwide. Its presence in the city is for us a further confirmation of the important attractiveness of Milan on the entrepreneurial scale."
It isn’t clear if Italians will go for the sugary concoctions and larger portions that Starbucks doles out, given their preference for demi-tasses of strong espresso. But there is one way in which Starbucks will fit right in: its size names, for the most part, are already in Italian. Aside from the sort of confusing “tall,” grande (large), venti (20, as in ounces) and trenta (30, ibid.) are all Italian words that either denote volume or size. A spokesperson for the company told Extra Crispy in an email that the company has no plans to change its size naming.