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Money & Finance posted a topic in Food & Drink's TopicsToday, Starbucks (+0.78%) is opening its first location in Italy—a "Reserve Roastery" in Milan—as an homage to the very country that inspired its espresso-fueled vision (and ~28,000 stores worldwide). But this isn't your corner coffeehouse Look back at the picture. That's what the very upscale, 25,000-square-foot Milan Roastery looks like. Plus, it offers locally roasted coffee from 30 countries alongside freshly baked pizzas and pastries...and alcoholic drinks so you won't miss your after-work aperitivo. There's a backstory: Starbucks Chairman Emeritus Howard Schultz first traveled to Milan in 1983...when there were only four Starbucks locations, all of them in Seattle. Italy's cafe culture inspired him to "build a company with the same nucleus of warmth, community, and human connection," Starbucks wrote in a release literally called, "Starbucks comes to Italy: An opera verismo in seven acts." Italy worked its magic Now, Starbucks opens a coffee shop chock full of human connection (if someone writing your name on a cup counts) every four hours on average, and it clocked in $22.4 billion in net revenue last year. This is just its third Roastery (after Seattle and Shanghai). But Starbucks plans to open Roasteries in New York, Tokyo, and Chicago this year and next. FWIW: The Milan Roastery might not be an easy sell for the proud Italian coffee-lover. Starbucks will charge more than 3x the going price for espresso and cappuccino in Milan (at least visitors from NYC will be used to overpaying). Already, one consumer group has filed a complaint over prices. Plus, Italians are deeply protective of their coffee culture. Good luck defending why your "grande" size is only a medium. So why open the Roastery? Starbucks is trying to expand abroad as U.S. sales stagnate (and force store closures). In China, for example, Starbucks opens a new location every 15 hours. And expanding its global footprint is as important as ever—$13 billion of Starbucks's $73 billion valuation is tied to opening stores over the next few years, per Forbes. h/t Daily Roast