Since its start in Seattle in the early 1970s, Starbucks has opened shops all over the world including European nations where coffee culture was already well established. But one place they dared not tread was the coffee-centric land that helped foundershape the chain's character in the first place.
That changed this week when Starbucks opened its first Italian location in Milan.
"This is for tourists. Come on. It's for tourists," Emanuele Barozzi, from Milan, said as he stood in line with hundreds of others waiting to get a peek inside. "This will not become my cafeteria!" he proclaimed.
Inside, Starbucks transformed a former post office into a 25,000-square-foot coffee roastery, reports CBS News' Seth Doane. It's a testing ground for ideas like using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream for an affogato and an elaborate attempt to woo – and wow – the country that invented espresso.
It's called a Starbucks but it doesn't resemble any kind of Starbucks you've been in before. It's really more of a theme park of coffee.
They've dispensed with some of the more "American" concoctions like the Frappuccino – but they have imported American pricing, high for Italy.
Over at Milan's Camparino Café, where Schultz was said to have been inspired, they've been brewing espresso for a century. Customers there were unfazed by the American import.
Asked if Starbucks will change the way Italians drink coffee, Analisa Cataneo said, "No. We are Italian. We invented coffee and pizza."
Starbucks has struggled and closed stores in other countries with a strong coffee culture including Australia, New Zealand and Israel. To succeed in Italy, it'll definitely need more like its first location. Fifteen minutes at the Starbucks roaster and the previously skeptical Italian, Emanuele Barozzi, is a convert.
"You see the Brazilian coffee being toasted in this super huge machine and you drink it, it's the complete experience. Incredible," Barozzi said. "Completely changed my mind."