The world’s largest Starbucks will open in 2018 and promises ‘coffee as theater’

Starbucks plans to open a new roastery location in New York in 2016.
Starbucks plans to open a new roastery location in New York in 2016.
Image: REUTERS/Jason Redmond
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The world’s largest coffee chain will open its biggest shop in New York City, a sprawling 20,000-square-foot roastery meant to serve up “coffee as theater.”

The new location is part Starbucks’s plan to rope in coffee connoisseurs who would otherwise frequent fancy boutique roasters which charge north of $4 a cup. The Seattle coffee chain already competes with quick-serve competitors, such as Dunkin’ Donuts.

Starbucks said the mammoth coffee shop will open in 2018 in the Chelsea neighborhood, drawing inspiration from the 15,000-square-foot Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room that opened in Seattle in 2014.

In Seattle, customers are encouraged to chat with roasters and baristas and learn the intricate details of roasting and brewing coffee. The extra engagement is supposed to foster a culture in which people think of coffee as a craft, one tenderly guarded by skilled employees using six different brewing methods to extract flavor from the beans.

“In New York, we want to take elements from what we originally created and build something even bigger and bolder, celebrating coffee and craft in a completely unique and differentiated way,” said CEO Howard Schultz in a statement.

The company is planning to open a similar location in Asia this year, though it has not said where.