Starbucks is taking on home-grown coffee shops offering speciality brewing methods, craft beer and fresh food with what it calls a “coffee theatre”, a new outlet in central London.
The outlet, branded as the Starbucks Reserve bar, is to be the first of the US retailer’s UK outlets to serve fresh food such as pastries, salads and sharing platters of cheeses, meats and flatbread. An evening menu will offer beer and wine.
Customers at the new coffee bar, on Upper St Martin’s Lane, will take a seat – rather than stand in a queue – from where they will be able to order from a handheld device.
Rhys Iley, vice-president of operations for Starbucks in the UK and Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions (EMEA), said the inspiration for the store was the success of a new roastery that had opened this year in the company’s home town, Seattle, in America.
“London is the most competitive coffee market – bar none,” Iley said.
Starbucks said its five brewing systems included machines such as the Clover, which uses vacuum press technology, a hand-crafted manual espresso machine called the Black Eagle, as well as the Syphon, Chemex and Pour Over.
Iley said the beers sold were from London breweries, in Hackney and Battersea, and the wines were from vineyards in Washington state in the US.
Ad De Hond, vice-president of the store design for Starbucks for EMEA regions, said of the new store opening in the West End of London: “We wanted to create a buzz with the design that focuses on a sensorial experience and reflects our commitment to creating and presenting the highest quality and innovation.”
The Reserve coffees, which are limited and in small batches from small farms, includes the Brazil Santa Ines with notes of plantain and milk chocolate, as well as the Uganda Sipi Falls, an arabica bean with a lemony, caramel flavour.
Starbucks said customers at the new store would be able to use the latest technology such as mobile order and pay, Powermat wireless charging for mobiles and tablets and 100MB per second Wi-Fi.
This article was written by Aisha Gani, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 20th October 2015 16.52 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010