Starbucks, Alibaba partner on AR tech at new Shanghai roastery

Starbucks, Alibaba partner on AR tech at new Shanghai roastery

Customers can book coffee tasting experiences on Alibaba's e-commerce site as well as buy special Starbucks Reserve coffee and related products tied to the store's launch.

Starbucks opened a similar store or a Roastery in Seattle in 2014.

In addition to coffee, customers can also visit many attractions, "including one of three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods, explore specially-crafted teas at the 3-D printed tea bar, enjoy freshly baked Italian artisanal food by Princi, and marvel at the ceiling made of 10,000 handmade wooden hexagon-shaped tiles, inspired by the locking of an espresso shot on an espresso machine". The roaster also boasts of an 88-foot long coffee bar, which is the longest at any Starbucks site. The coffee bar, which measures nearly 90 ft, is handcrafted by a Chinese artist.

Reports mention that the Roastery will offer coffee beans from 30 countries.

If a customer doesn't have the application downloaded, or access to the web app, they can still scan QR codes located around the roaster for more information.

As customers enter the new Roastery, they are greeted by the sight of a two-story, copper cask, adorned with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese chops (or stamps) that have been hand-engraved to narrate the story of Starbucks and coffee.

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The world's biggest Starbucks officially opened today in Shanghai and who should be in attendance but singer, dancer, and tai chi master Jack Ma. The experience brings to life information about the Starbucks bean-to-cup story.

The app has a digital menu as well as details on the huge, borderline bewildering, range of brewing methods that include the Cold Brew Tower, Modbar Pour-Over and Siphon.

The first Starbucks augmented reality (AR) experience is available, either through the Roastery app or on Alibaba's Taobao app.

Customers even receive virtual badges for each step, which can be shared on social media.

Chairman Howard Schultz told Bloomberg News that China is on its way to become the company's largest market in less than a decade."It's obvious to us that the holding power of China for Starbucks is going to be much more significant than the holding power of the U.S.", he added.

Shanghai is home to more than 600 Starbucks stores, so you wouldn't think the Chinese city would need many more branches. "We've created a space that both recognizes and celebrates our 46-year history of coffee leadership and retail innovation with China's rich, diverse culture".

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