Starbucks is about to open what they're calling their most ambitious project ever, with a massive new interactive Reserve Roastery store in Shanghai that will feature everything from augmented reality experiences to a 3D printed tea bar and coffee theater.
On Wednesday, the coffee company's second ever Reserve Roastery store -- originally described as a "Willy Wonka" coffee theater for the Seattle opening in 2014 -- will open its doors in Shanghai as the biggest Starbucks store in the world.
The coffee giant has not been shy about singling out China as one of its top priority markets: Shanghai boasts the largest number of Starbucks stores in the world with 600 locations, and China is the company's fastest-growing market with more than 3,000 stores across 136 cities.
Put another way, a new store opens in China every 15 hours.
Last year, the company unveiled its five-year plan which involves doubling the number of Starbucks stores in China to 5,000 by 2021, and one day making China the chain's largest market, ahead of the US.
One of the biggest centerpieces for the new 2,700 square-meter (30,000 square-foot) space is a soaring two-story copper cask, hand-engraved with 1,000 traditional Chinese stamps to tell the story of Starbucks coffee history.
For the first time, Starbucks will serve Chinese coffee made from beans grown in Pu'er in Yunnan Province and roasted at the store by a team of eight Chinese coffee roasters trained by Starbucks specialists.
The Yunnan Reserve coffee, which is described as a rare, yellow, honey-processed coffee, will be available exclusively at the Roastery store in Shanghai, and marks a new step for China as a coffee-growing country and bean-to-cup producer.
In a statement, executive chairman Howard Schultz called the store "our boldest, most premium store ever."
The Shanghai Roastery will also be one of the most advanced digital locations for Starbucks with augmented reality technology. After downloading related apps, visitors can point their smartphones at key features around the space that will call up educational videos and graphics on the bean-to-cup story.
Not unlike a wine bar, the Shanghai Roastery will also feature three coffee bars where visitors can sip and swirl a selection of rare, small-lot reserve coffees prepared in a variety of brewing methods.
Wooden bars, one of which spans 27 meters (88 feet), are handcrafted by Chinese artisans, and inspired by the roasting curve of individual coffee beans.
Finally, the Shanghai Roastery will also feature a modernised tea experience at a Teavana bar, which pays tribute to China's ancient tea traditions with handcrafted tea creations and tea "mixology."
The tea bar is also created from recycled materials, and 3D printing technology.
More Roastery stores are planned for Tokyo, Milan and Chicago.