Last night saw the VIP launch of the first official Starbucks store in Durban, which saw the whos who attend, from A-list celebs, down to coffee addicts, it was abuzz with activity, song and dance. Situated at 233 Florida Road, this branch is truly iconic to the brand and a one of a kind in SA. It's the third South African city to get this global coffee brand, after Johannesburg and Pretoria, beating our rival coastal city Cape Town. While there are many reasons for the coffee giant opting to open in Durban before the Cape, us locals aren't too phased about it as we get to enjoy the goodness that they provide. For me it was my first time experiencing Starbucks as when abroad I never got the chance to try it out. The entire experience blew me away as I found out just how this is more than just a run of the mill coffee shop.
Speaking at the launch, CEO of Taste Holdings, and former Durban boy, Carlo Gonzaga said that the location of the store played a pivotal roll in making the brand focus on opening in KZN. It was a neighborhood orientated store, something that was different to the others already in South Africa. Each Starbucks store is unique, with layouts and decor to suit the area it is in. Starbucks on Florida Road is chilled and relaxed, with custom made furniture and a design that is easy going yet bold. The store is also is one of three in the country to boast a Reserve bar, which only 5% of Starbucks worldwide have. The reserve bar offers exotic roasts with a unique one to each bar. This is certainly a must for all!
The Starbucks menu itself is quite expansive and while coffee is usually enjoyed warm, Gonzaga says that almost half of their sales are contributed from their cold offerings. One which got the most attention was the Caramel Frappucinno. I had one myself, and as a big lover of all things caramel, I'm glad that I tried this! Usually with ice coffees, it's heavy on the ice but Starbucks use smoothie type liquidizers to get the ice crushed to a small size, which blends well with the coffee. Another one which I quite enjoyed was part of their festive treats menu, the Toffee Nut Latte. Their signature roast, with a dash of toffee essence and nut, topped with whip cream. It was indeed heaven in a cup.
Apart from just drinks, Starbucks has a great selection of food and desserts, with sandwiches, rolls, cakes and pastries on offer. There's also a wide variety of coffee's on sale, roasts and blends from all over the world, along with mugs and collectables. Starbucks Durban opens to the public on Saturday 25th of November with the second store in Durban, opening at Gateway in early December. Be sure to get down to Florida Road early on Saturday morning to be one of the first to enjoy this global brands great offerings.