☕ Coffee Journey - Italy

Photo Credit archello.com

Welcome back to my A to Z and UBC coffee journey and happy Monday. 

The letter I is all about Italy. Milan, to be exact. That's where it all began. Not only is Italy the motherland of espresso culture, it's where Howard Schultz came across the typical espresso bars.

In 1983 he was Starbucks' Marketing Director. This sounds a bit exaggerated. Back then they ran four stores. 

On a business trip to Milan - he attended an international housewares show - he was "captivated by the sense of community" he found in the city's espresso bars.

Watch him talk about it:

Howard came back to Seattle and told his partners Gordon, Jerry and Zev (post to be published April 30) about it. 

"Selling whole beans is great" he said, "now we need to take it to the next level and actually make coffee for our guests to enjoy at the store or to take out!" 

Unfortunately his companions didn't share Howard's enthusiasm, and the Starbucks experience we know today, was not born just yet.

In 1986 Howard left Starbucks so he could start his own chain of coffee stores, Il Giornale. More about Howard in his designated post though.

Let's talk about Italy for a minute. 

I live in Switzerland, so it's my neighbor country. Many, many Italian immigrants live in Switzerland and make our lives better with their joy of life and their food. Pasta, Pizza, Pinsa. 

Wait, what?


If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to do three things:

  1. Check out my post about the difference between Pizza and Pinsa
  2. Find out if there is a restaurant nearby that serves it.
  3. Go there. Soon! 

Back to the city of Milan. Let's do some sightseeing. The cathedral "il Duomo":

Photo by Daryan Shamkhali

The Opera, called "la Scala". Can you name a couple Italian opera singers? Luciano Pavarotti, Enrico Caruso, Andrea Bocelli, there you go, great job! Have a listen:

Photo by Alexandro d'Elia

There's also a fabulous shopping mall you shouldn't miss, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele:

Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash

Let's not forget the Bosco Verticale, the green twin towers of a high-rise complex in Milan. They were planned by Italian architect Stefano Boeri and his partners at the architectural firm Boeri Studio:

Photo by Zac Wolff on Unsplash

Last but not least, let's visit the 25,000 square foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery at Via Cordusio in Milan:

Photo Credit archello.com

It is a life long dream of Howard's, and he's been patiently waiting for the right time to open it. The right time was September 2018. 

It's called Roastery because there's an actual industrial size coffee roaster at work for you. Imagine the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans!

There's marble, there's art, there's a wood-fired oven baking delicious smelling bread, and there's cocktails. Yes, that's right, you may come for the coffee but stay for the champagne and a bite to eat! 

I hope you enjoyed touring Milan with me. Be back tomorrow as we're embarking on our next trip to Java, Indonesia! 


  1. Oh, I love posts about Italy! I went to Italy in 1997 -- I need to go back again! We spent 1 day in Milan and managed to see A LOT. It's a beautiful city!

    I have seen pics of the Roastery but obviously it wasn't there when I went.

  2. I wasn't yet a coffee drinker when we visited Italy, although I'm not an espresso drinker. A few of your images brought back fond memories...thanks.

  3. Oh goodness, so much to see here today. The Roastery is astonishing - I'd definitely like to visit. And a visit to Bosco Verticale would definitely be on my agenda for a visit to Italy. I'm also adding pinsa to the must-try list. Sounds delicious.

  4. Yes thoroughly enjoyed glimpses of milan and could smell oven, bread and coffee through your posts. Good to know more about coffee and Howard

    Good day - Dropping by from A to Z - https://afshan-shaik.blogspot.com/

  5. Oh my, those pics make me want to visit Italy now.. that Roastery is simply beautiful, and I also need to check pinsa (maybe I have had it without knowing what it was!)

  6. Who knew? I always assumed expresso started in the Middle East (Turkey?), where I found the strongest coffee concoctions.

  7. It must be nice to live so close. Do you visit?

  8. I had no idea that there is something called Pinza...interesting... i have never been to Europe but would love to one day ...

  9. Such beautiful architecture! And who doesn't love coffee ? :-)

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: I

  10. Looks like a wonderful destination. I have never been to Milan but do love Italy. We went to Florence on our honeymoon. It's so beautiful. Weekends In Maine


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