Starbucks has launched the Ristretto Bianco beverage in much of Europe, some Asian countries, and in a few other countries. One of my twitter followers mentioned that this beverage was just launched on October 1st, in South Korea. From what I've heard via Twitter, this beverage is not available in Germany, but is definitely available in Hungary, Poland, Austria, and South Korea. In September this year, a partner (meaning a Starbucks employee) sent me photos of his Ristretto Bianco, launched in Wroclaw, Poland. He was very excited about the introduction of his new drink! Recently, I received an email from a partner in Vienna, who was also excited to talk about this same espresso beverage. He sent photos of his store and its food and pastry case, and I realized I had to write about this.
I will note that the United Kingdom and Ireland do not offer the Ristretto Bianco because they offer the "flat white" which is also a small traditional latte (as I understand it, a flat white is closer to a wet cappuccino.).
As to the Ristretto Bianco, as I understand it, it is a smaller-sized latte using Ristretto espresso shots (shorter shots), and with decorative latte art atop it. The Ristretto Bianco has been tested in the United States, where Starbucks seemingly has vetoed its introduction for this country. It seems as though American customers want larger size lattes, to-go ware, no latte art, and don't know what a Ristretto shot it (or, are not intrigued by it). (I'm not saying that's wrong or right, it just seems as Americans and Europeans want two different things in their coffeehouses.)
Here's a great Ristretto Bianco in Poland:
In Starbucks in Austria (and I assume in other places also), the store manager has to certify the baristas as qualifying to make a Ristretto Bianco. Each barista must be able to produce three successive perfect beverages, all with a perfect finish before certifying:
Also, most stores currently have some kind of in-store signage for the Ristretto Bianco:
I want to digress and mention the pastry case in Starbucks Austria. I love these two photos:
The photo that includes the fresh fruit on the top shelf has interesting signage with it. The words right below the fresh salad and sandwiches say, "Ihr köstlicher Lunch - auch zum Mitnehmen!" That says, "Your delicious lunch - also to-go!" Given that they market that the sandwiches are available to-go, it seems to suggest that most people stay in the Starbucks to eat a sandwich. Below that shelf, the signs seems to also say that this Starbucks can warm up your sandwich, though the sign is partially covered by the sandwiches, so I'm not totally sure what it says.
Click on any of the images to make them larger!
One more thing, the signage in the store, as well as on the Starbucks.at website says, "Wir erfüllen einen neuen Standard der Perfektion. Deinen." That translates as "We are reaching a new standard of perfection. Yours."
I like it. A very traditional espresso beverage is not larger than eight to twelve ounces. Who knows. Maybe as Americans start drinking lattes from a Verismo, they'll start to like smaller lattes.
Would you order a Ristretto Bianco - unmodified - from your local Starbucks? It's no longer a Ristretto Bianco if you add five syrups and whipcream on top and put it in a 16-ounce to-go paper cup. What do you think?
Last but not least, the partner from Austria mentioned that the Ristretto Bianco is so popular in Europe that even Burger King stores in Austria now offer their own variation on the Ristretto Bianco. I somehow cringe at the thought of a Ristretto Bianco from a Burger King.
Thank you so much for emailing me to the two partners who sent in photos! I love hearing what's happening in Starbucks overseas. Thank you!