Food & Recipes

Starbucks Has A 32,000-Square-Foot Store—And It’s The Biggest In The World

Attention coffee lovers! This looks incredible!

Starbucks recently opened its latest Reserve Roastery in Tokyo and, let’s just say, the new space is seriously impressive. From the stunning interior to the one-of-a-kind beverages it offers, this locale is far from your average Starbucks.

Luckily, you don’t need to buy a plane ticket to get a peek inside the brand-new store. Here’s a closer look at the immense Tokyo Roastery, including the design elements inspired by Japanese culture and the specialty drinks that you can only try there.

It’s The Biggest Starbucks In The World

Though Starbucks has opened several of these sprawling Reserve Roasteries around the globe, the new Tokyo location is by far the biggest. The Roastery stands four stories high. It also takes up a whopping 32,000 square feet. When you compare that to the average Starbucks store, which is about 2,000 square feet, you’ll realize how massive this one is.

It Offers More Than 100 Unique Coffee And Tea Beverages 

Aside from promising the freshest coffee, these Roasteries offer a more expansive menu than a traditional Starbucks. The Reserve Roastery Tokyo is no exception, with more than 100 types of coffees and teas to choose from. Customers can find a variety of hand-crafted coffee beverages at The Main Bar on the first floor, including the Barrel-Aged Cold Brew.

It Features A Bakery With Authentic Italian Fare

In addition to beverages, the Reserve Roastery Tokyo also offers an impressive food menu. The location is home to Japan’s first Starbucks’ Princi bakery,  which serves artisanal Italian fare. If you’re feeling hungry or want something to eat along with your coffee, customers can buy cornetti, focaccias, pizzas, salads, bread and more freshly baked goods.

It Houses The World’s Largest Starbucks Roastery Cask

The new Roastery is also home to the world’s largest Starbucks Roaster coffee cask. The cask towers at four stories and features more than 55 feet of copper. It features hand-crafted cherry blossoms (pictured below) that change hues throughout the day, depending on the light in the store. According to Starbucks, the huge cask was built using the “tschuime” technique, a tradition of copper beating where each builder gets a chance to hammer a different portion.

The New Roastery Offers Alcoholic Beverages

That’s right — this particular Starbucks isn’t limited to just coffee and tea. Customers can also buy wine and beer, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Like the New York and Milan Roastery locations, the Tokyo Roastery features a full bar that offers specialty cocktails (but more on those later!). 

Each Floor Is Dedicated To A Specific Theme

Each of the four floors is dedicated to a specific type of beverage or theme. The first floor boasts the bakery and the Main Bar, where customers can choose a hand-crafted coffee drink. On the second floor, you’ll find the world’s largest Teavana bar. The third floor features Starbucks Japan’s first cocktail bar, Arivvamo, featuring coffee and tea-inspired cocktails, as well as wine and beer. The AMU Inspiration Lounge, a community space, makes up the fourth floor. Speaking of which …

The Tokyo Roastery Introduces Starbucks’ First AMU Inspiration Lounge

On the fourth floor of the Roastery, customers will find the AMU Inspiration Lounge, a space meant for community members to gather and host conversations around issues of social impact. The phrase “amu” means “knit together” in Japanese. The concept of the lounge is based around that meaning. Looks cozy!

The Lounge Will Be A Platform For Creative Leaders In Japan

This lounge is the first of its kind in any Starbucks location around the world, and the company hopes that it will serve as a meeting place for change-makers across Japan. The space is scheduled to hold its first event in April 2019, celebrating the role of women leaders in Japan. 

“We believe that where passions connect, the future is sparked, and we will offer the Tokyo Roastery as a gathering space to spark new ideas and create an impact,” Starbucks Japan’s CEO, Takafumi Minaguchi, said.

The Coffee Drinks Are One Of A Kind

Now, back to the drinks! Like many of the other Roastery locations, the Tokyo Roastery has a slew of beverages exclusive to its store. Among some of the new, fun concoctions you can sip there: The Pop N’Tea Sakura Jasmine, which consists of Silver Needle Tea topped with a pink hibiscus and a cherry-flavored popsicle that you can eat separately or let melt in your drink.

You can also opt for The Golden Sky Black Tea Latte, which features a chunk of turmeric cotton candy that you can, again, eat on its own or dunk in your drink. And that’s just the coffee beverages!

Too Late For Coffee? Try A Specialty Cocktail

Speaking of beverages, you won’t want to miss out on the specialty cocktails available at this Tokyo location. The second-floor bar, Arriviamo, features a host of exclusive adult beverages that sound way too good to pass up. In addition to wine, beer and traditional mixed drinks, the bar will feature a range of coffee- and tea-inspired cocktails that you can’t find anywhere else.

One such drink is the Nakameguro Espresso Martini, which combines chestnut liqueur, creme de cacao and espresso, plus rich chocolate from Nakameguro’s brand. That’s a decadent drink.

Have Your Drink On The Balcony

While select Starbucks locations across the country have outdoor seating available, they’re pretty few and far between. The Tokyo Roastery has terraces on several of its floors, allowing customers to enjoy their coffee outdoors. The terraces also offer views of the cherry blossom trees that Japan is famous for.

The Building’s Design Was Inspired By Tokyo Itself

The Roastery, located in the neighborhood of Nakameguro, boasts a design inspired by the cherry blossom trees that famously line the Meguro River. The store’s glass walls and terraced floors allow visitors to have a view of both the trees and the river (pictured below).

It’s The Only Roastery Ever Designed With A Local Architect

The Tokyo Roastery has plenty of superlatives to its name, being the biggest location so far and the home to the largest cask. Another title the store holds: It’s the first Roastery ever to be designed in collaboration with a local architect. Renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kumahelped partnered with Starbucks’ Chief Design Officer Liz Muller to create the location’s beautiful exterior.

Local Craftspeople Also Incorporated Design Elements

Locals craftspeople also lent their expertise when it came to the interior design of the Roastery. Japanese crafts inspired several elements in the location’s decor. For example, the wood-tiled ceiling is modeled after the art of origami. Meanwhile, the wood used in the interior, sourced locally, has been treated with a traditional technique that prevents it from aging. 

The Roastery Will Roast Fresh Coffee On-Site Every Day

As its name implies, the Tokyo Roastery is a fully operational coffee roaster. According to Starbucks, this location will roast more than 680,000 kilograms (almost 750 tons) of coffee per year for the Japanese market. The Tokyo Roast blend, exclusive to Japan, will be roasted at the location and sold at all Starbucks stores throughout the country. 

Customers Can Watch The Roasting Process

Though the Tokyo location implements specific elements that pay homage to the country it’s located in, the Roastery aesthetic seen in stateside locations remains the same. As in the other Roastery locations, copper tubes funneling coffee beans run across the ceiling. Visitors can look up and watch the coffee beans getting roasted right in front of their eyes.

The Whole Place Is Basically Instagram Gold

From the incredible interior design to the one-of-a-kind drinks, pretty much every aspect of the Tokyo Roastery is photo-worthy. So if you do pay a visit to the location, you’ll want to make sure to snap some pictures on your phone to share later. Starbucks has even provided a list of the most Instagram-ready drinks sold at the location (including the one below — the Pop’nTea Sakura Jasmine, a tea beverage topped with a handmade hibiscus and a cherry popsicle), just in case you want to figure out what to order in advance.

Customers Will Be Able To Buy Exclusive Merchandise

Each Roastery sells exclusive merchandise for customers to remember their visit. At the Tokyo location, you’ll find a curated collection of unique items, including collaborations with some of Japan’s finest designers and artists. Some of the one-of-a-kind items up for purchase include a tableware series designed by Kengo Kuma, painted Daruma lucky charms from Gunma Prefecture and a Tokyo Roastery-branded cake set from Japan’s oldest castella bakery. You can also get these after-coffee candies that come in flavors like mint ocho lemon and mint amaou strawberry.

The Tokyo Roastery Will Become Starbucks’ First Certified Training Location In Japan

In addition to housing the first ever AMU Inspiration Lounge, the Tokyo Reserve Roastery will also mark another big milestone for the coffee chain. The company plans to use it as a training location, making it Starbucks’ first Specialty Coffee Association-certified training space in Japan. This place is legit!

It Will Boast A Very Large Staff

Given their massive sizes and all of their features, it’s no surprise that Starbucks Roasteries employ a much larger staff than your typical cafe, where you can typically count the number of employees on several hands. The new Tokyo location will have 250 employees working in various areas across its four floors.

This Marks Starbucks’ Fifth Global Roastery

The new Tokyo locale marks Starbucks’ fifth Roastery Reserve. Last year, Starbucks opened similar spaces in Milan and New York (pictured below). Prior to that, the company also opened Roastery locations in Seattle and Shanghai.

Shanghai Has The Second Biggest Roastery

With its grand opening, the Tokyo location officially became the biggest Starbucks Roastery Reserve in the world. Following close behind? The Shangai locale, which boasts 30,000 square feet. 

More Roasteries Are Coming 

Customers haven’t seen the end of the Starbucks Reserve Roasteries. The company plans to open one in Chicago this year. Beyond that, CEO Kevin Johnson has announced plans to open a total of six to 10 more in the near future. Locations for the new Reserves have yet to be announced. 

Prices At The Roasteries Are Higher 

Unsurprisingly, the meals and drinks at each Roastery are more expensive than those at your average Starbucks. According to Forbes, the Roastery equivalent of a small Starbucks coffee (usually about $2.45) will cost you closer to $5.60 at the New York location. As for food, a healthy pizza slice at the New York Roastery’s bakery will cost you $10. 

Each Roastery Serves As An Innovation Lab

Aside from offering a unique experience, each Roastery also serves a practical purpose: creating and testing out new beverages. Since each location promises drinks that are exclusive, the Roasteries are an ideal place for Starbucks to evaluate the potential popularity of a new flavor. For example, the Juniper Latte debuted in the Seattle Roastery before debuting in all stores as a holiday beverage last year.

You Really Can Hang Out At A Roastery All Day 

Have you ever tried camping out at your local Starbucks with a laptop only to get a dirty look from another customer waiting for a table? While you may be at your most productive when you’re sipping on a macchiato, not all Starbucks locations are conducive to hanging out for an extended period of time. Well, customers definitely won’t have that problem at any of the Roastery locations. 

The design and features of each Roastery are meant to encourage visitors to spend time there and explore the place. “This is a slower experience,” Starbucks’ chief design officer Liz Muller said of the locations, per CNN. “Come and stay longer, meet with your family or friends, relax.”

The Roasteries Are Aimed Slightly At Coffee Snobs

“This is about establishing a new experience,” Burrows told Forbes of the new Roastery locations. “We’re building out the Starbucks Reserve brand and taking the finest coffees produced under the sun and allowing people, who have a mature palate, to partake of the halo that is the Starbucks brand.”

They’ve Led To Other Cool Starbucks Concepts 

The success of the Roasteries has led the company to explore other new Starbucks concepts, including the “coffee sanctuary” it opened in Bali in early 2019. That store boasts a 1,000-square-foot coffee farm, as well as a nursery where customers can plant seeds. The store, called the Starbucks Dewata Coffee Sanctuary, also offers coffee tasting and preparation classes. 

Your On-The-Go Cup Isn’t Going Anywhere

While Starbucks works to expand the coffee-tasting experience with these upscale locations, those who prefer to grab a quick beverage on the go also have plenty of options. In addition to maintaining its traditional stores, the company is working on expanding its delivery services worldwide. It also plans to open more drive-thru locations.

Smaller Cities Aren’t Exempt From The Experience

Just because you live in a small city doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to skip out on the Starbucks Reserve experience. Cliff Burrows, group president of Starbucks Siren Retail, has suggested that though the large-scale Roastery stores will be mostly located in major centers of population, there’s still a possibility of opening smaller Reserve locations in smaller cities.

“We are also opening smaller Reserve stores in other locations, where people show an interest in exploring coffee,” he told Forbes. “We have opened smaller Reserves, which contain all the elements without the roasting. ”