Starbucks Is Going Artisanal

Reserve Roastery unveiled to show off coffee’s finer points

Dec 15, 2014
Outside Magazine
starbucks reserve coffee seattle

The new facility will produce every Starbucks Reserve bean sold there.    Courtesy of Starbucks

The Starbucks Coffee Company announced the opening of its first Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle on Monday, according to a press release on the company’s web site.

The flagship Reserve Roastery will be situated nine blocks away from the very first Starbucks shop at Pike Place Market. It will feature an open-air assembly line, allowing customers to watch the roasting process and to choose from one of six brewing methods, including “Pour Over,” “Chemex,” “French Press,” “Siphon,” “Espresso,” and “Clover-brewed” coffee. Ultimately, the company plans to make tasting-room style layout a part of at least 100 stores, starting in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Starbucks wants to make the Reserve line available at 1,500 locations globally. An additional Roastery is planned for Asia in 2016.

“This is a real-life Willy Wonka experience with coffee as the heart and soul, where customers will see coffee being moved through the roasting process right before their eyes,” Liz Muller, vice president of Concept Design for Starbucks, stated in the press release. “We have opened up the world of sourcing, roasting and brewing so that our customers at any one point are only feet away from the theater and artistry.”

At a time when Starbucks’ digital payment system is taking the lead—last year, 90 percent of all mobile payments in the U.S. were made at a Starbucks, reports Motley Fool—the new addition is a step forward in the company’s brick-and-mortar efforts, and represents a bid to keep up with luxury coffee roasters. Tom Douglas, a chef known for his acclaimed restaurants in Seattle and Portland, has been recruited to develop a food menu to complement the coffees offered at the Reserve Roastery.

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