The world’s largest Starbucks opens and it’s like a theme park for coffee lovers

Hope you have your passport handy because you may be adding a new destination to your 2018 travel plans. The world's largest Starbucks has just opened in Shanghai, China, and judging by the photos, it looks like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory - but for coffee lovers. You've probably fantasized about riding a gondola down Wonka's Chocolate River at least once in your life, but for the most part, it's still a fantasy. But if you've ever dreamed of owning a coffee theme park complete with a 3D printed tea bar, you're in luck. The walls may not be lined with ready-to-drink coffee beans, but it's still a wonderland.

The Shanghai Starbucks Reserve Roastery opened on December 5, making my local Starbucks look like a cozy corner cafe. Based on the size of this coffee tower, my local Starbucks could actually fit into several stores. The good news is, there's plenty of space and you won't have to look long to find a good seat. Especially when you have three or three cafes where you can play musical chairs. Some might say the pumpkin spice latte is a religion. I mean, it does have a pretty passionate following. You might want to make a pilgrimage, as it seems this is where you'll find enlightenment with spices and caffeine.


According to Starbucks' official press center, this wonderland of coffee beans, tea and pastries spans 30,000 square feet. Over half an acre of seasonal lattes and Princi's homemade Italian bread. You can actually get lost here, and maybe that's not a bad thing. There are plenty of treasures to stumble upon.

There may not yet be an espresso tide pool for surfing, but in the meantime, there's a cafe theater for our entertainment and educational purposes. Because that’s what’s happening now. And, honestly, if it involved brewing, roasting, and serving coffee beans at a bar, I would be a regular.

You can choose to sit at three bars, one of which is 88 feet long, the longest ever in Starbucks history. Liz Muller, senior vice president of global creative design, said the sticks are more than just your typical coffee stick, but are intentionally reminiscent of "the unique roasting profile of an individual coffee bean." What’s more, the bar is framed as a stage where tourists and coffee lovers can watch professional baristas handcraft coffee.


You can also take a self-guided tour as you float around the store and gaze at all the coffee performance art happening behind the counter. It's like a museum. Except at Starbucks. Coffee lovers will be able to immerse themselves in a digital coffee experience by accessing Alibaba’s Taobao app or through the Roastery digital network app. A spokesperson for Starbucks said of the technology, "Simply point their mobile device at key features around the roastery to bring information about the Starbucks bean-to-cup story to life." To learn about brewing methods Or the coffee bean itself, you just point your phone at it.

It's everything everyone loves about Starbucks. From expanded and customized menus, to theater, to technology and grand self-guided tours, this is a real-life amusement park that Willy Wonka himself could have imagined. But thankfully, we don't have to hunt around for cups at Starbucks in search of golden coupons. The only ticket you need to visit the world's largest Starbucks is a plane ticket. So I hope you have your Google Flights tab open while you're reading this and planning your trip next year.