Partners reflect on one year of coffee, connection and opportunity in Milan

“Being here means love, family, new experiences and new goals.”

It’s been one year since Starbucks arrived in Italy, and ever since, partners (how the company refers to its baristas) at the Reserve Roastery Milano have been sharing their deep passion for and knowledge of coffee with customers from around the world. The partners at Roastery have been a part of Starbucks journey in Italy since the very beginning – from an intensive three-month coffee training and brand immersion, through last September’s grand opening – and creating beautiful coffee beverages for customers ever since.

As the Roastery team celebrates its first anniversary in Milan, we caught up with some of our Italian partners, asking them, “What has the last year meant to you, being a part of Starbucks journey in Italy?”

Here’s what they had to say:

Marco de Mitri, barista:

“I love the idea that I’m part of a something bigger. It’s important to me to be part of a team, be connected with [coffee] farmers. By studying coffee, I can feel a part of them. I feel like I am working for them - I’m very honoured to transform the coffee they grow into something special for customers. I have a goal in this company to grow and specialise in coffee.”

Christian Orsini, roaster operator:

“It’s meant being an ambassador for a different way to experience and drink coffee in a country that created the culture of espresso. It’s been a year of discovering again my country: I left it as a student and came back as a worker – a great change of perspective and a great opportunity. I’ve also observed changes: my peers becoming friends, my leaders taking new paths and my future opportunities getting broader.”

Federico De Palma, barista:

“Starbucks was everything for me, everything. Every time I had the possibility to travel outside Italy my “safe place” was always Starbucks. And I had the best feeling with all the baristas... it was a magic love story, a love story of 12 years, since my very first cup of coffee in a little Starbucks Store in Barcelona, and now I’m here, in the most beautiful Starbucks store: the Roastery. I decided to move from my hometown to be part of it, to make my dream come true; to give back what Starbucks gave me through all these years, make it true in my country. So Grazie Starbucks.”

Mirko Barzaghi, barista:

“You know you are going to something great, you go to work everyday, and you don’t know what the day will bring; it is unique. You don’t know who you will meet. To be a partner, our journey is to stimulate our lifeblood because it gives you emotion in what you do but what we feel is that we are living.”

Melody Marino, barista:

“Being part of the future, we create something new. I am a part of something big. I’m proud to be part of something unique and opening up a new world of possibility for the new ways of working; it’s a new world of innovation.”

Erti Jaupaj, barista:

“This year has been: fresh air. After a long time waiting for Starbucks [to arrive in Italy], it is now reality: working with amazing people. I never thought it would be possible in Milan, and here we are; I never thought I would represent Starbucks in Italy.”

Rosana Gamboa, barista:

“Being here means love, family, new experiences and new goals. I have learned knowledge about coffee. Now I truly know that coffee is complex and the meaning of connection behind it.”

Emi Fejzullai, barista:

“We understood the impact and reputation of Starbucks in the world, and it’s been an adventure, every day to represent Starbucks in Italy. It’s an honour to be able to explain the Italian people what coffee can mean.” 

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Meet the Starbucks EMEA Greener Store of the Year for 2023