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The World's Biggest Starbucks Lands in Shanghai With Augmented Reality

It's the chain's first store to utilize the technology

Partners work at the Teavana tea bar in the new Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai, China. Starbucks

The biggest Starbucks in the world is headed to China: The coffee behemoth will unveil its newest fancy Roastery location in Shanghai on December 6, occupying a whopping 30,000 feet. (Its second-largest store, the flagship Seattle Roastery, is half that size.)

Starbucks first debuted the Roastery store format in 2014; much larger than a typical Starbucks store, the Roasteries showcase single-origin beans that are roasted on-site and prepared with a variety of brewing methods, from Chemex to pour-over. The Shanghai location will serve beans from more than 30 different countries, including China’s Yunnan province.

The longest coffee bar of any Starbucks, it stretches 88 feet.

Located on Nanjing Road in one of the world’s busiest shopping districts, the Shanghai Roastery has a number of unique features not found at other Starbucks stores: It’s home to the longest coffee bar of any Starbucks store, stretching 88 feet, and the ceiling is constructed from 10,000 handmade wooden tiles, a look “inspired by the locking of an espresso shot on an espresso machine,” according to the company

A Teavana tea bar, the first in China, is constructed from 3D printed recycled materials, and serves nitrogen-infused tea as well as tea brewed with the “Steampunk” system, which Starbucks explains “uses steam to extract unique flavors from each tea leaf.”

It’s also Starbucks’ first store to utilize augmented reality technology: Customers can point their mobile phones at various items inside the store to access more information about their coffee and to unlock “virtual badges” to share on social media.

A customer uses the augmented reality feature at the Shanghai Roastery.
A customer uses the Shanghai Roastery’s augmented reality app.

The new Shanghai store is also home to Asia’s first Princi bakery, the Italian chain that Starbucks recently began installing inside its Roastery and Reserve locations serving artisan breads and pastries that are baked on-site.

Bakers work in the Princi bakery at the new Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai, China.
Princi bakery inside the Shanghai Roastery.

Starbucks sees China as its biggest market for growth, and it’s proceeding with rapid expansion accordingly: It now has more than 3,000 stores there, and is opening a new location every 15 hours.

Additional Roastery locations are slated to open in Milan (Starbucks’ first store in Italy), Tokyo, and New York in 2018, and Chicago in 2019.

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