Starbucks has just opened a brand-new Beijing flagship – and it's the largest in the capital.
Opening last Friday (June 29), this three-storey behemoth in Qianmen is looking to position itself as a mecca for coffee and tea lovers rather than a traditional café. As Beijing's third-wave coffee movement
gets into full swing, Starbucks' newest branch has done away with different-sized novelty drinks (goodbye grande caramel espresso frappucinos) in favour of austere pour-over coffee and cold brew in an attempt to appeal to serious caffeine connoisseurs.
Spanning approximately 1,000 square-metres (roughly 10,764 square-feet), Beijing's newest Starbucks is only a fraction of Shanghai's 30,000-square-foot Reserve Roastery (which is also the coffee giant's largest branch in the world
). Located in Qianmen's renovated Beijing Fun complex, this swanky coffeehouse is decked out in copper hardware, wood panelling and polished concrete floors, giving it a similar vibe to Beijing's other industrial-feel, renovated hutong cafés (see: Barista
– or any new indie café, really).
The first floor is dedicated to Starbucks Reserve, where discerning coffee drinkers can pick from a daily rotating list of 'reserve' coffees (when we visit it's Sumatra Kerinci, Rwanda Sholi and Papua New Guinea Luoka), try out a nitro cold brew float (68RMB) or even sip one of their tasting flights, featuring samples of their different brews (128-158RMB). If you're into the whole burnished copper look they've got going on, you can also purchase all manner of coffee paraphernalia from the shop floor.
American tea company Teavana takes up the entire second floor, where tea lovers (or coffee haters) can try out nitrogen-infused Teavana tea or watch the brewers try out a new steam tea-brewing technique. It's all a bit hectic, and probably not the best place to head to if you're after a straightforward cup of English Breakfast.
Finally, the third floor serves up (for the first time) alcoholic beverages, with drinks ranging from chai spiced wine (78RMB) and tea sangria (68RMB), all the way to Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut (for a casual 789RMB a bottle). If you've ever wandered into a Starbucks and wanted to get absolutely sloshed, then look no further.
It's hard not to read Starbucks newest branch as an attempt to get down with Beijing's latest crop of cool hipster café kids, but the good news is, if this souped-up Starbucks doesn't appeal to you, there's another branch less than 100 metres away (seriously).
Starbucks flagship store Building 3, Langfang Toutiao, 13 Meishi Jie, Xicheng district