Hoping to create some buzz around the new process baristas are using to make espresso, Starbucks Japan opened a "pop-up store" from Sept. 9 to Sept. 30 in the trendy shopping district of Harajuku in Tokyo. View more photos here.
The store, washed in white and lined with shelves, looked nothing like most of the cozy Starbucks coffeehouses, and instead focused mostly on the steamy beverages. And that was on purpose, said Norio Adachi, director of corporate affairs for Starbucks Japan. Designed as a coffee library, the store's shelves stocked book sleeves with information about the history and properties of a specific coffee variety.
"We are promoting our exciting core beverages like the Starbucks latte," Adachi said. " This category is the biggest chunk of our business, so we think we should remind (people of our) authority."
More than 20,000 customers visited the store and chose their favorite espresso just as they'd choose a library book. They then exchanged the book at the counter for the actual drink. The store only served espresso and lattes, however, in honor of the chain changing the milk pitcher which helps to create a creamier drink, Adachi said.
"(There were) no drip coffee or frappuccinos, so it was very different from our other stores," he said.
Another stand-out feature was that for 500 yen (about $6) customers could learn how to make the "perfect latte."
"It's an experience. Two baristas (worked with) four customers for a 30-minute lesson (to see) how we make a perfect latte, and the customer (would) try to do it," Aachi said. "They put our green apron on (and took) a lot of photos; (It was) very enjoyable."
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Cherryh Butler has been a reporter for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining FastCasual.com as editor, she oversaw KioskMarketplace.com and PizzaMarketplace.com and contributed to RetailCustomerExperience.com. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.