Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai is part of the ongoing TPOL in Shanghai Trip Report.
When I am abroad, I try to eat and drink like locals do (see Street Food Shanghai: Morning, Day, Night, Morning Again) until I miss the comforts of home and attempt to revert back to American splendor (see Taco Bell Shanghai: What an Impostor!). In China, I tried to swap java for chai. Each time I’ve tried this, I ended up with a cup of hot water. I must be messing up the tones because 我想喝一杯茶 does not result in tea. It’s much easier to get a mocha frappuccino because there is at least one Starbucks on every corner.
China’s obsession with coffee, Starbucks specifically, is evident by what once was the largest Starbucks in the world (see World’s Biggest 星巴克 (Starbucks) Coming to Shanghai!). That title will soon be held by the roastery in Chicago. The one in Shanghai is massive where Disney World meets Willy Wonka’s crib.
As I took photo after photo, I wondered if I was acting like a tourist or if I was acting like a local. I’ve never seen so many people, foreign and domestic, take selfies in a coffee shop before.
And There’s a Second Floor
It should come as no surprise that the coffee tasted the same as every other Starbucks. What was a surprise is how many people were shelling out money on java. Starbucks has created coffee addicts out of the Chinese population and is cashing in in a major way. It was remarkable to see how demand has been created for something that was never there. The opening of this roastery and its apparent success epitomizes the “if you build it they will come” strategy. Instead of a field of dreams, it was more like The Carter with the role of Pookie being played by masses of people with enough disposable income to burn for a quick high. Nino Brown would be proud.