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Giant Reserve Stores Invoke Premium Image for Starbucks In Southeast Asia
Starbucks is thinking big in Southeast Asia with two giant Reserve-branded stores opening during recent weeks in key Southeast Asian cities.
This month, in the Tropicana Gardens shopping centre in the heart of the community between Kuala Lumpur’s Kota Damansara and Tropicana Indah, Starbucks Malaysia has opened its largest cafe yet. Billed as an “immersive coffee experience” and taking up almost 6000sqft (560sqm) the new Reserve is the nation’s largest yet.
It follows the opening of the brand’s biggest Thai cafe, located in the IconSiam shopping centre on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok in February, more than twice the size at 13,600 sqft (1260sqm).
Both new stores feature two bars: one offering the core and seasonal Starbucks beverage menu, the other a more niche space offering six different brewing methods, including pour-over, siphon, Black Eagle espresso and Nitro Cold Brew.
Starbucks opened its first Reserve cafe in Malaysia five years ago aiming at customers with a passion for coffee and offering a more upmarket feel and service than standard stores. Sydney Quays, group CEO at Berjaya Food Berhad and MD at Starbucks Malaysia & Brunei, says the concept offers “human connection and immersive coffee experience that will continue to inspire coffee passion to the community”.
The Tropicana Reserve cafe features ceiling to floor windows offering a view across a garden to a rapid transit station. It is decorated with a 50-foot wide ‘Wall of Gratitude’, paying tribute to the more than 200 frontline medical workers and Starbucks baristas featured, who worked to keep the community safe and serviced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Further north in Bangkok, the IconSiam Starbucks Reserve cafe marks the nation’s 12th Reserve store and the brand’s 417th overall.
Like other Starbucks Reserve stores around the world, the IconSiam cafe features artworks and design pieces created by local artisans. At the entrance, a mural depicts Thai coffee farming landscapes and familiar Bangkok landmarks, while at its centre, a wood-carved mural reflects the traditional art of Thai wood carving, depicting rural scenes and coffee craftsmanship.
A staircase, with a coffee tree from Northern Thailand at its centre, leads to a mezzanine floor, where Starbucks baristas demonstrate the different tastes and aromas of Starbucks Reserve coffees, with a backdrop artwork depicting a flavour ‘tasting’ wheel. Lanterns created in a likeness of the lamps used in the Loy Krathong Festival hang from the mezzanine level’s ceiling and stadium-style seating mirroring the shape of the Chao Phraya River offers views across the city.
Sara Trilling, president at Starbucks Asia Pacific, says the store “recognises our coffee heritage while celebrating Thailand’s rich and diverse culture”.
“For 22 years, Starbucks has been elevating coffee craftsmanship and bringing unique experiences to our customers in Thailand.”