Reporter's Notebook
The art of coffee, coffee shops and Tweeting

The art of coffee, coffee shops and Tweeting

 

Chalkboard sign says "Thank You" in Dutch.

I love coffee. I love coffee shops. I socialize in them. I work in them. I get ideas from them. I practice social media in them. I collect unusual ones in travels like some people collect enameled shot glasses or T-shirts.

So during a June trip to Europe, I sought out what had been touted as one of the continent’s more unusual Starbucks: a unit that opened in March 2012 on the bustling Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam.

It’s a stunner. And it also offered a great idea for how restaurants can get customers to mention them in social media. But more on that in a moment.

This Starbucks is in an old bank building – thus it uses the hashtag #StarbucksTheBank – and is one of a number of hyper-local concept stores the Seattle-based chain has debuted.

The Amsterdam Starbucks covers about 4,500 square feet in a subterranean space that was once part of the bank’s vault. It features various levels, a massive communal table, fresh flowers, an in-store bakery and a ‘Slow’ Coffee Theatre for testing small-batch coffee brewing.

The original opening press release provides some detail: “In addition to reclaiming the vault’s exposed concrete and 1920s marble floor, the entire shop is kitted out in repurposed Dutch oak – the benches, the tables and the undulating ceiling relief made from 1,876 pieces of individually cut blocks. Also a radical departure from Starbucks house style are the various types of chairs and stools, reclaimed from local schools and spruced up.”

Now for the “News You Can Use” tidbit. In the coffee pickup area was a little chalkboard, see below, on which it was written: “Like your Latte Art? Tweet a pic! #StarbucksTheBank.” Check it out. There are some great photos.

Now that’s a simple way to get thousands of travelers and local patrons to spread the word … and the latte artists get a widespread audience for their works.

More than 1,870 wooden blocks make up the sculptural ceiling in the multilevel Amsterdam Starbucks, and the barristas urge pictures of their coffee art.

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