Starbucks is upping the coffee game again.
The Seattle-based chain is opening its largest location on the planet to date — and claiming it’s the most beautiful.
The store will be in Shanghai, complete with an augmented-reality feature and an on-site bakery The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, part of the company’s new line of upscale coffee venues, opens on Wednesday .
“China is such an opportunity,” said Nick Setyan, managing director at Wedbush Securities. “The return on investment is twice as high than anywhere else in the world, including the U.S. The cost of construction is lower and the (profit) margins are a little higher.”
China is its fastest growing market with more than 3,000 stores in 136 cities, according to the company. Shanghai has more than 600 Starbucks locations, the largest number in any city in the world where the Seattle-based chain has a presence.
Here are five key things to know about the Shanghai store:
•It’s huge. This caffeine mecca is 30,000 square feet — twice the size of the Seattle Reserve Roastery, the only other one in existence so far. That leaves a lot of room to fill — even in the planet’s most populous country. Starbucks is describing the Shanghai location as a “fully immersive, sensorial coffee experience.”
•Augmented reality takes coffee to a new level. AR, as it’s known, becomes the new reality for Starbucks customers here. They point their mobile devices at various points around the store to get an AR tour about how coffee goes from bean to cup. There are also virtual badges to unlock and a Roastery filter to commemorate their visits.
•Cool brews. The coffee menu includes brews from beans grown in China’s Pu’er in Yunnan Province. Customers may also watch the brewing process. Plus, there’s an onsite Princi bakery.
•The Teavana Bar is staffed by “tea curators.” These baristas — serves nitrogen-infused tea and tea-based beverages inspired by mocktails. Tea, of course, is a tradition in China and it plays an important role at the new location.
•Amazing decor. The carefully designed space includes a ceiling of 10,000 handmade wooden hexagon-shaped tiles inspired by an espresso machine; a two-story, 40-ton hand-engraved copper cask that uses pneumatic copper piping to refill the store’s coffee silos; and the longest Starbucks coffee bar in history, measuring 88 feet; and a tea bar made out of 3-D printed recycled materials.
Starbucks stock closed at $58.76, up $1.44 or 2.51%, on Monday.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer
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