Starbucks opens its first South African store

Opened by Starbucks Coffee Company and Taste Holdings, it is located at the corner of Cradock and Tyrwhitt Avenues in Rosebank. The store has a unique design and offers a wide range of Starbucks beverages and food, including Starbucks ethically‐sourced 100% Arabica coffee.

Present at the official opening was Starbucks vice president, licensed operations Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and UK retail, Rhys Iley, who commented, “This is a milestone for Starbucks and we are delighted to have arrived in South Africa. With Taste Holdings we will deliver the special Starbucks experience for our new South African customers, a place for the community to gather and connect over a great cup of coffee.”    

The Rosebank store combines inspiration from the very first Starbucks store, located in Pike Place in Seattle, U.S, as well as the vibrant Rosebank neighbourhood. “This store will not only offer amazing coffee and world-class customer service, it is a representation of our commitment to South Africa through its localised design,” says Taste Holdings CEO, Carlo Gonzaga. “We have taken inspiration from rich local colour palettes and designs, with materials and artworks produced by local artisans. It signifies the start of our coffee journey in South Africa.”  

Artworks in the store include the woven leather ceiling panels that pay homage to the South African tradition of basket weaving and a 3D recreation of the famous Starbucks siren in wood.  There is also a copper mural that captures the atmosphere of the neighbourhood around the Pike Place Market, and the copper reminds us of the Starbucks Roastery in Seattle, where it is a key material used throughout.    

“We also carefully considered South African customer tastes when we developed our menu and customers can expect local products like Rooibos tea,” added Carlo Gonzaga.  

For the coffee connoisseur, the store hosts an intimate coffee theatre and tasting experience with its Starbucks Reserve Bar. The Reserve Bar offers single origin, small batch coffees sourced from around the world, with a variety of brewing methods including Syphon, Pour-Over, the Clover™ brewing system, and all espresso beverages will be made with a Black Eagle espresso machine. Starbucks sources coffee from nine countries in Africa and two of the first Reserve coffees on offer will be Burundi Morambi and Kenya Kaganda.  

Some of the store employees, or partners, are from Taste Holdings’ Changing Lanes programme. This is a training and development programme that recruits from local communities and provides retail opportunities to currently unemployed youth.  

Rhys Iley concluded, “We are very proud to partner with Taste Holdings to bring Starbucks to South Africa, celebrating our rich coffee history, whilst also celebrating the vibrant community we will be serving. We are creating jobs and opportunities in our stores, as well as supporting the local supply chain and we look forward to the future of Starbucks in South Africa.”