Zeenat Moorad Associate editor: Financial Mail

It’s been a year of firsts for Starbucks, that sceptre of American globalisation. This year, the Seattle-based company said it would phase out plastic straws because of the plastic waste crisis. And it launched a vegan iteration of its celebrated Pumpkin Spice Latte. The company will also allow anyone, paying customer or not, to use its restrooms. None of Starbucks’ firsts, however, were as chewed over as the opening of its first Italian outpost. Italy has one of the most storied coffee cultures in the world, anchored in tradition and ceremony. Mornings are for cappuccino or caffè latte and it’s almost sacrilege to drink either of them after a meal. Coffee on the move — almost always an espresso — is generally drunk standing up, at a (usually) crowded coffee bar. There’s some quick-witted banter, a little bit of socialising but definitely no lingering. Many Italians have derided Starbucks’ launch in their country as a ridiculous and provocative joke, and snobbery is likely to prevai...

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