World's largest, most lavish Starbucks opens in Shanghai

World's largest, most lavish Starbucks opens in Shanghai

But the Shanghai Roastery won't hold the title of largest Starbucks for too long. It's the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery - the company's new retail offering - outside the U.S. It's also the largest Starbucks in the world, almost twice as large as the Roastery in Seattle that opened three years ago.

The new Starbucks-branded attraction is the first to open outside of the US and roughly twice the size of the original Reserve Roastery in Seattle.

As far as other global openings for the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, New York, Milan and Tokyo are under construction, and Shanghai will eventually succumb to the planned store in Chicago which is due to cover a mind-blowing 45,000 square feet.

The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai features an augmented reality (AR) activity for customers that will blend the experiences of shopping online and in-store, according to a press release.

The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which opened Wednesday in Shanghai, is the first non-U.S. location of a new series of shops created to offer a more "immersive" experience for coffee lovers, according to Starbucks.

Dubbed the "first fully immersive coffee wonderland in China", it's something of a caffeine-fueled Disneyland.

The store has a Willy Wonka feel, with a giant two-story cask holding tons of freshly roasted beans that are sent out to the café's various bars through tubing that snakes along the ceiling while packaged beans wander around on conveyor belts.

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Food is on the menu too of course, and the selection is way above the usual offerings thanks to Italian baker Rocco Princi, a Milan-based maestro who Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz personally persuaded to come on board. Powered by Alibaba, diners just need to point their phones at items to get more information about them and Starbucks' history.

Coils of long copper pipes crisscross the ceiling, carrying coffee beans from the Copper Cask to the main bar.

The store's boasting rights as the world's largest won't last long, though. It is the largest in any Starbucks store.

Customers can also utilize the Roastery app to view digital menus and learn about Starbucks' various brewing methods.

Customers even receive virtual badges for each step, which can be shared on social media. However, the Shanghai Roastery is twice the size of the Seattle one.

Chairman Howard Schultz told Bloomberg News that China is on its way to become the company's largest market in less than a decade."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 United States", he added.

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