An Experience of Origin: Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

An Experience of Origin: Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

An Experience of Origin: Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

There’s a lot brewing for Starbucks these days, but we thought we’d take a step back and look at the start of a revival. Sure, the term third place was coined long before the association of Starbucks, but they helped to craft an ambiance that energized consumers not just by the cup, but also by the experience.

For the cult-like coffee brand, 2014 signaled an impetus for a closer connection to the consumer. In the heart of where it all began and just a stone’s throw from the first store at Pike’s Place Market, Starbucks opened The Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Capitol Hill.

Starbucks Roastery Exterior
Exterior at Starbucks Roastery
Starbucks Roastery Exterior

Many, including former Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz and Liz Muller the brand’s director of concept design, have described it as the Willy Wonka of coffee factories. While we see the similarities, the experience is not accidental or ostentatious in design. It’s crafted and choreographed. No golden ticket entry required here, just a golden glow that emanates.

The 15,000 square foot space activates the brand through all of your senses. You can see, touch, hear, and smell coffee without even taking a single sip. Your eyes are dazzled at every turn, and your senses are ignited with curiosity for experimentation and education. There’s almost something whimsical about being immersed within the production of the product.

Starbucks Roastery Signage
Starbucks Roastery Coffee Bar
Starbucks Roastery

Within an old auto dealership built in the 1920’s, The Roastery is a beautiful blend of the past and the future. Part retail, part manufacturing, and part theater, consumers are fully integrated into the bean-to-brew experience. Embracing an industrial chic aesthetic, elements like the original terrazzo and concrete floors were restored, while a modernized digital clacker board mechanically flips to showcase the daily roasting menu and special events. Pneumatic tubes overhead draw you into the 32-foot-high hand-hammered copper cast as a center focal. Surrounding burlap bags are even marked with their crop year. No detail is left out for the common eye of discovery.

Starbucks Roaster Scoop Bar
Starbucks Roastery Cast
Starbucks Roastery

Sipping your way through the experience, there’s much to do to fill time. If you’re looking for a straightforward experience, start at the main bar to check the evolving menu of beverages. In addition to the expanded specialty beverages, customers can indulge in artisan breads, fresh pastries, sandwiches, salads, soups, and pizzas from the brand’s partner and exclusive food provider Rocco Princi.

Once you’ve got your fill you can consult with a coffee master before picking a bag of beans at the scoop bar, and heading over to the retail area to browse a curated collection of goods.

Starbucks Roastery Retail Area
Starbucks Roastery Experience Bar
Starbucks Reserve Library

In the back of the space, customers can deepen their learning at the experience bar where brew masters demonstrate brewing techniques and share stories of the origins of the bean. Winding down the journey, customers can lounge in the two-story coffee library filled to the brim with over 200 books to take it all in.

Since the original Reserve Roastery and Taproom opening, Starbucks has been strategically adapting and evolving this premium coffee experience. Earlier this year they opened a location in Shanghai, and most recently in Milan, Italy. New York, Chicago, and Tokyo are already in planning, and as many as 20-30 eventually will follow worldwide. These flagships serve not only as premium coffee destinations but also as a distribution vehicle to smaller Reserve stores that blend the craft of coffee with a marketplace feel.

Photo Credit: Starbucks | Chute Gerdeman

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