June 13, 2014 Community

Virtual Road Trip: Coffee and Soccer Converge in Brazil

There are two things most Brazilians are passionate about – coffee and soccer. This summer, those two passions will converge as millions of soccer fans descend on Brazil and experience both world-class soccer and its extraordinary coffee heritage.

Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, and among the first countries to be in the business of coffee production. Although Starbucks has sourced high-quality specialty coffee from Brazil for decades, the company opened its first retail location in Brazil only eight years ago in 2006.

“Although Starbucks has been sourcing specialty coffee from Brazil for many years, we are still in the early days of building our retail presence in the country,” said Scott Mitchem, director of design for Starbucks Latin America. “Our stores here are a great opportunity to share Starbucks story and celebrate Brazil’s rich coffee tradition.”

Mitchem, who lives in São Paulo, shares some of his favorite store designs:

Visconde de Piraja

The Starbucks® store on Visconde de Piraja in Rio de Janeiro takes inspiration from nearby Ipanema Beach – with its wavy wooden ceiling of reclaimed cumarú evoking the wind-blown sand dunes.

“We were looking to capture the Rio aesthetic in this store, clean, elegant lines articulated in rich, warm native materials,” Mitchem said. The store’s coffee story is primarily moody, large-format black and white photography of the original Starbucks store, helping to establish the brand’s heritage in the relatively new Rio market, while a local artist created clusters of dried tropical seeds and leaves that she personally foraged in Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest to accent the space. ”

Gomes de Carvalho

Three hundred miles southwest of Rio is São Paulo, South America’s largest city of 20 million people. The Gomes de Carvalho store is the market’s new home store, located just two blocks from Starbucks Brazil Support Center. The store pays tribute to Brazil’s coffee growing tradition with a wall of coffee flowers hand painted by a local artist and confectionary jars showcasing dark-roasted beans.

“With the Gomes de Carvalho store, we’ve also tried to introduce the tradition of brewing with a coffee press to the market, using hand-painted feature piece of chalk art outlining the steps in making a great cup of coffee at home,” he said. “The loft-like space has an industrial feel, it’s still warm and inviting with reclaimed wood and a mix of leather soft seating and handsome café chairs.”


In the Starbucks store at Rochaverá Corporate Towers, South America’s most advanced office complex and home to some of the country’s most important legal firms, financial services groups and tech companies, the design team took the café upscale to meet the demands of this well-heeled tenancy. The design employed a dramatic mix of modern and natural elements, including a stone fireplace that creates a striking feature wall. Many of the iconic Starbucks elements are there, such as the massive community table and live-edged wood countertops, along with a collection of Brazilian furniture that gives the space local relevance and subtle style.

“Our goal is to make our stores feel Brazilian,” he said, “while also maintaining the soul of Starbucks.”

The Roast Curve is the feature of the store’s coffee story, a hand-chalked piece of illustration located at the hand-off plane, and hinting to the large glass jars showcasing coffee beans at the various points of the roast spectrum, inset into the wall as part of a series of custom tall café tables.

Did You Know?

  • Starbucks stores in Brazil are often most busy just after lunch and into the afternoon, when it is customary to enjoy a cafezinho, which means "little coffee" in Portuguese.
  • The first Starbucks in Brazil opened in São Paulo's Shopping Center Morumbi in November 2006.
  • Legendary Copacabana Beach is just blocks from the neighborhood’s first Starbucks store, which opened in late 2013.

For Your Travels

Starbucks stores in Brazil offer an exclusive Brasil Blend coffee, a 100% Brazilian arabica coffee with soft acidity, notes of chocolate, and a sweet finish. Customers outside Brazil can also enjoy the country’s signature flavors for a limited time with Starbucks Reserve® Brazil Bourbon Rio Verde, available at StarbucksStore.com and select Starbucks stores.

For more information on this story, contact Starbucks Newsroom