Starbucks opens pop-up shop in Japan

Starbucks has opened its first ever pop-up store in Tokyo this month in a bid to stand out against competition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the temporary outpost in the city’s trendy Omotesando district is the first of its kind for the chain, and is designed to encourage customers to take their time and sip on their espresso in a bright, airy space.

Set up as a library café, customers place their order at Starbucks Espresso Journey by pulling a pseudo-book from the shelf that bears the coffee of their choice and presenting it to the barista. The book cover is for the customer to keep as a souvenir.

Conceived by Toronto-born Japanese designer Oki Sato, who has worked with luxury brands like Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Veuve Clicquot in France among others, the minimalist shop occupies an event rental space and serves nine espresso-based drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos.

The store is also stocked with limited edition tote bags and mugs and offers latte-pulling classes for wanna-be baristas.

The pop-up concept is the chain’s latest attempt to maintain their competitive edge in the clash of the coffee wars in Japan, points out the WSJ’s Japan Real Time. While Starbucks has about 1,000 locations across Japan, domestic chains like Caffe Veloce and Doutor Coffee are also popular brands. McDonald’s McCafés also offer stiff competition for the premium coffee chain, with their significantly lower price points.

Starbucks Espresso Journey runs until September 30.

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