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‘It’s like opening Taco Bell in Mexico’: Your reactions to Starbucks coming to Italy

Whether you took a stand for Italian espresso or were jonesing for a pumpkin spice latte, the news that Starbucks will open its first branch in Italy this year got The Local's readers talking like few things before.

'It's like opening Taco Bell in Mexico': Your reactions to Starbucks coming to Italy
Starbucks will open in Milan in September 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP

As soon as the US chain announced that it would move into Milan in September 2018, the story quickly became the most-discussed topic on our social media.

We asked our readers to vote for or against the move: the result, it probably won't surprise you to learn, was a resounding “no”, by 87 percent on both Facebook and Twitter.

Why the opposition? Well, many of you just don't like the coffee. “Burnt” and “acidic” were the words we kept hearing.

It left a particularly bitter taste considering the local competition.
 
Bringing coffee to Italy, various readers suggested, would be like taking tulips to Amsterdam, opening a Taco Bell in Mexico or a Domino's Pizza in Italy (for the record, they've already done that). 

Then there's the price. 

And the translation issues.

And, um, the portions.

Many people said no self-respecting Italians would be caught dead there. 

But others disagreed. After all, Starbucks isn't just coffee.

And a few brave souls even said they'd be ordering a tall skinny latte themselves. 

Besides, is it really the end of the world?

As plenty of you pointed out, Italy's legendary coffee culture is probably tough enough to survive a little competition.

So go ahead, Starbucks, open in Milan if you want. We have a feeling that Italy – and its coffee – will be just fine.

READ ALSO: Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

MILAN

IN PHOTOS: Inside Italy’s first Starbucks

Starbucks claims its Milan branch, which opens to the public this week, is "the world's most beautiful". So what does it look like?

IN PHOTOS: Inside Italy's first Starbucks
Will the Milan Starbucks tempt Italians inside? Photo: Starbucks

The flagship “Reserve Roastery” is located inside a former stock exchange and post office near Milan's cathedral.

The American company, whose founder Howard Schultz claims to have been inspired to start his empire by a trip to Milan, says the cafe was designed as “a tribute to the Italian coffee culture that helped shape Starbucks and a celebration of everything the company has learned over the years about the art and science of coffee”.

Beans are roasted onsite in a giant, Italian-made coffee roaster.

The beans travel to this giant, rotating cask. We're not sure what it's for but Starbucks says it “periodically unfolds and rotates, like a blooming flower”. Ok then.

A board displays the blends available.

The Milan Starbucks also features what the company calls its “first ever affogato station”, where staff use liquid nitrogen to make ice cream based on the traditional Italian dessert of of gelato topped with espresso.

Bread is baked onsite in partnership with Italian baker Rocco Princi.

Outside is a terrace featuring seating in giant “bird cages” as well as a mermaid, the company's logo, carved in Carrara marble.

Upstairs is a cocktail bar serving alcoholic drinks and aperitivi. 

Hot drinks will be served in crockery, unless customers request a cup to go, while cold drinks will be served in single-use plastic cups – to the disappointment of environmental campaigners who had challenged Starbucks to avoid the use of disposable cups in Italy.

All photos courtesy of Starbucks.