In December 2014, Starbucks opened the Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room just nine blocks from the original Starbucks. I was so excited when I heard this was coming, not just because I work for the Siren or because I’m a coffee addict but because of what you can learn about coffee here.
For those of you who don’t know what ‘reserve coffee’ is, it’s rare small batch coffee that Starbucks finds from all over the world. The buyers and agronomists at the Farmer Support Centers work closely with farmers to be able to source these one-of-a-kind coffees. Only the most unique coffee become Starbucks Reserve coffees and that means we as consumers only get to taste the best!
The Roastery is the complete coffee experience. It’s a sensory overload as soon as you walk in the door. You see stacks of burlap sacks the beans come in, actually get to see coffee beans in their green state, watch professional roasters roasting this rare coffee, and of course get to drink it and purchase whole bean coffee to take home from the scoop bar. They brew coffee multiple ways: pour-over, chemex, coffee press, siphon, espresso, and clover brewed. All of the baristas are knowledgeable, friendly and love to share their knowledge. One of the roasters I was watching actually took a couple beans out and gave them to me, I still have them btw. They’re all coffee masters here and come from across the United States. The Roastery sells one-of-a-kind merchandise you can’t find at any other location and their menu is different and special as well.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit this magical place twice. The first time was 2015, I did a brewing method flight, they brewed Brazil Santa Inez two ways: clover and pour over. Each brewing method brings out completely different flavor profiles and I loved them both! I also got an iced Ethiopia Bitta Farms, which is a varietal with geisha lineage, it was so complex and full bodied. This most recent trip (August 2017) I did a cold brew flight: they took Eastern DR Congo Lake Kivu and brewed it normal cold brew method (steeped for 20hrs at room temperature) and it was done as a nitro cold brew (on tap like beer). Again, each brew method brings out different flavor profiles and I think the nitro was my favorite. It had a smoothness and low acidity to it that I loved. On a recommendation from a very nice lady that we shared a table with, I got the cold brew ice cream float. Yeah, you read that right COLD BREW ICE CREAM FLOAT!!! It was the Eastern DR Congo Lake Kivu cold brew and small batch homemade vanilla ice cream made in Seattle. I should have gotten a bigger size because this was the best thing I’ve had in a while. I highly recommend this drink if you ever go to the roastery.
Even if you don’t like coffee, the roastery is a Seattle must see! If nothing else you’ll learn a little bit about coffee, see how Starbucks roasts it, and get to see a beautiful building that Starbucks put a lot of time and attention to detail in.
My new goal is to visit every Starbucks Reserve roastery that opens, yes there will be more. I’ve heard there will be one in Shanghai, Tokyo, Milan (opens 2018), NYC (2018), and Chicago (2019)
Have you been to the Roastery? What did you love most? Let me know in the comment section below!