Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by brewthatcoffee
Starbucks Reserve Roasteries are destination coffee shops with only six locations worldwide. These exclusive venues offer Italian pastries, coffee cocktails, active coffee roasting, and glamorous, unique interiors. Read on to learn about visiting a Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
Starbucks Reserve Roasteries are high-end locations that stock and serve small-batch, individually sourced Starbucks Reserve coffees. These stores boast working roasteries, coffee bars tended by baristas, alcohol bars tended by mixologists, Italian bakeries, gift shops, and libraries.
If you’re a fan of handpicked, especially roasted, small-batch coffee from unique sources, you’re probably familiar with Starbucks Reserve coffee. Your next experience needs to be the Reserve Roasteries, where coffee roasting, blending, brewing, and drinking are taken to new heights. Let’s look at these unusual stores and get the lowdown on visiting a Reserve Roastery.
Starbucks Reserve Explained
Starbucks Reserve is a unique coffee offering curated by Starbucks. Starbucks Reserve Roasteries are select, luxe locations where Reserve coffee is available.
Starbucks Reserve Coffee
Starbucks Reserve coffee is characterized by high-quality ingredients, intense flavor profiles, and meticulous production methods.
First, rare beans are sourced from family-run farms, ancient estates and plantations, and small cooperatives. Starbucks has built relationships with and supports these communities.
Each individual lot of coffee has a unique roast, brew, aging, infusion, and blend to refine its inherent qualities.
These single-origin coffees are available in small batches and for limited periods, changing seasonally, and are available only at Starbucks Reserve Bars and Reserve Roasteries.
What is the Difference Between regular Starbucks, Starbucks Reserve Bars, and Starbucks Reserve Roasteries?
Comparing a regular Starbucks, a Starbucks Reserve Bar, and a Starbucks Reserve Roastery is like comparing jeans from Target or the Gap with Versace denim. They are all jeans but are worlds apart in quality.
Here are the main differences between a Starbucks Reserve Roastery, a Starbucks Reserve Bar, and a regular Starbucks.
Regular Starbucks stores tend to contain a coffee counter with food displays, tables, and chairs. They are cookie-cutter coffee bars with the same branding.
Starbucks Reserve Roasteries are massive megastores, at least twice the size of a regular Starbucks.
These stores are architectural gems, often located in historic buildings with antique fixtures and custom designer fittings. Each contains two bars, a roastery, a bakery, a library, and a scoop store.
Starbucks Reserve Bars combine regular Starbucks with Roasteries. Often with a high-end, although recognizably Starbucks interior, Reserve Bars offer the regular menu with some additions from the Roasteries.
You get the regular hot and iced coffees, teas, and perhaps a seasonal offering at a regular Starbucks. You don’t get to choose the beans you want, making do with the mass-produced Starbucks blend.
Starbucks Reserve Roasteries offer small-batch Reserve coffee, with each exotic lot available for limited periods. You will enjoy different types of coffee each time you visit.
The baristas are also trained in techniques like Chemex, pour-over, and Siphon, paying tribute to the craft of coffee making. Some of the Roasteries’ individual coffee concoctions make it to the Starbucks Reserve Bar menu.
Another notable difference is that Starbucks Reserve Roasteries serve alcohol, including unique coffee-based cocktails.
While you can grab a sandwich or pastry at a regular Starbucks or Starbucks Reserve Bar, they are premade and limited in variety.
Each Starbucks Reserve Roastery has an in-house Italian bakery, which makes sweet and savory food to order.
Best Drinks to Order at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries
The pleasure of Starbucks Reserve coffees is that they are produced in small batches, so there is always a new flavor to try.
Imagine being served a Gin Barrel-Aged Rwandan Cold Brew or a Sun-Dried Bolivian Kusillo Java? You also have the chance to sip wine after your coffee or have a coffee-based alcoholic beverage.
Coffee Drinks With Alcohol
Alcoholic menu items containing coffee are the unique coffee cocktails, including these most popular items.
Starbucks Reserve Espresso Martini
This best-selling riff on the classic Martini combines Starbucks Reserve espresso, vodka, vanilla syrup, and dark chocolate. To experiment with different Reserve blends, order the Espresso Martini flight, which splits the drink into three glasses, each made with an alternative coffee.
Roastery Old Fashioned Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew
Another twist on a classic, this cocktail includes Starbucks Reserve cold brew, whisky, amaro, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and orange.
“Correct” your coffee with a mixture of Starbucks Reserve espresso, apple brandy, amaretto, vanilla syrup, and cinnamon.
Cold Brew Spiced Rum
A spiced rum to warm you up includes Starbucks Reserve cold brew, rooibos tea, white rum, lime juice, sugar syrup, bitters, and cinnamon.
Coffee Drinks Without Alcohol
Although you can order regular Starbucks coffee drinks like a latte or cappuccino, the menu also includes some other items worth sampling.
Orange Coffee Tonic
This refreshing mocktail contains cold brew and chai, topped with tonic water and citrus cordial.
Cold Brew Float
The Cold Brew Float is a twist on affogato, the Italian dessert where hot espresso is poured over ice cream to “drown” it. Here, the ice cream is drowned in cold brew.
Cold Brew Malt
Fans of milkshakes will love this ultra-thick concoction of cold brew, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate bitters.
Dark Chocolate Mocha
This is a step up from a regular mocha. Starbucks Reserve espresso is mixed with fine cocoa powder, ground dark chocolate, and steamed milk.
Does Starbucks Reserve Have A Food Menu?
Starbucks Reserve Roasteries have an in-house bakery known as Princi. The restaurant, which was developed in the Milan Roastery, provides pizzas, pasta, sandwiches, focaccias, salads, soups, and a variety of breakfasts.
There is also a mouth-watering display of pastries, such as cheesecake, fruit tarts, brioche, cinnamon rolls, and filled cornettos.
The menu changes seasonally, and all the food is made on-site.
The 6 Starbucks Reserve Roastery Locations
There are only six Starbucks Reserve Roasteries worldwide, places of pilgrimage for coffee lovers.
Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery And Tasting Room
Being the home of Starbucks, the Seattle Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room was the first to open in December 2014. It is located nine blocks from the original store in Pike Place in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
This flagship Roastery was the first to showcase a working coffee roastery alongside coffee bars, retail opportunities, and a restaurant, offering an immersive coffee experience.
Shanghai Starbucks Reserve Roastery
The second Reserve Roastery opened in December 2017 in the vibrant city of Shanghai, China. This megastore boasts an augmented reality (AR) experience, where visitors can explore the wonders of coffee.
The store’s design draws on the rich Chinese heritage of Shanghai. It is centered around the two-story copper roasting cask.
The cask is covered with 1,000 Chinese chops (hand-carved traditional stamps) telling the story of Starbucks. Another highlight is the 3-D-printed tea bar.
Milan Starbucks Reserve Roastery
What could be more appropriate than a Reserve Roastery in the home of espresso?
This Roastery opened in September 2018, paying homage to the history and craft of coffee that forms part of the Milanese cultural heritage.
Located in the historic Piazza Cordusio (near the Duomo di Milano), the Reserve Roastery boasts the original Arriviamo Bar and Princi bakery.
New York Starbucks Reserve Roastery
Hot on the heels of the Italian store, the New York store opened in December 2018. The Roastery is ideally located in the Meatpacking District.
It reflects the area’s industrial past through both the design and the coffee production that continues.
Tokyo Starbucks Reserve Roastery
The Tokyo Roastery opened in February 2019. The beautiful wooden exterior was designed to reflect Japan’s natural beauty and cultural appreciation of quality craftsmanship.
Chicago Starbucks Reserve Roastery
In November 2019, Starbucks opened its largest store on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. The Chicago Starbucks Reserve Roastery covers five floors, each level focusing on a different coffee experience.
The store features artwork from Chicago-based artists and Roastery beverages unique to the Chicago store.
Do I Need A Reservation?
The Starbucks Reserve Roasteries get very busy, so it is best to make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
Visit Seattle’s Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Not The Original
For tourists and locals alike, visiting Seattle’s Starbucks Reserve Roastery offers a much more nuanced and richer experience than the original Starbucks on Pike Place.
The Roastery’s building and décor are stunning. Tours offer insight into the coffee roasting and brewing process, and fantastic food, coffee, and cocktail options are also available.
The original Starbucks, while historic, is a regular Starbucks and often runs queues.
Highlights of the Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery
Make sure you see all the highlights of the Seattle Roastery.
The Main Bar is where baristas create delightful coffees and beverages from the rare, freshly roasted Reserve beans. Enjoy watching their skill while admiring the custom-made teak and marble bar.
When you’ve enjoyed your espresso, wander to the Scooping Bar, where an expert Coffee Master will advise you on which Reserve coffee to purchase. You can scoop the beans of your choice, taking them home in a paper bag.
Handpicked At The Roastery
If you’re keen on retail therapy, visit the gift shop, Handpicked at the Roastery. With various oddities and extraordinary coffee-related items, you’ll find the perfect present for the coffee lover in your life.
At the Mixology Bar, experts invent unique coffee-based cocktails and mocktails. Classic cocktails and a variety of Italian-style aperitif and digestif beverages are also available.
Another highlight of the Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery is the Italian bakery, Princi. This baking concept was imported from Italy, offering pizzas, pasta, focaccias, and luscious sandwiches on artisanal bread.
Order a coffee and nibble on one of their delectable pastries – the croissants and brioche are extraordinary.
A fascinating feature of the Reserve Roasteries is the Roasting Area, where the coffee magic happens.
Find out where the coffee beans are sourced and how Starbucks works with community coffee farms. Then watch the coffee beans being roasted, blended, and vetted for distribution.
This part of the Roastery is only for serious coffee drinkers and slow-brew aficionados.
Baristas share innovative brew methods and equipment, showcasing some of the more theatrical coffee brewing approaches. They’re also willing to share their knowledge and stories about the world of coffee.
Enjoy a one-on-one tasting experience as the barista creates the perfect cup of coffee.
The Roastery library has a curated collection of over 200 coffee-related books. You’re welcome to page through the titles, seated in a comfortable chair.
Starbucks Reserve FAQs
Apart from the regular Starbucks, where you pick up your mid-morning brew, you can also visit Starbucks Reserve Bars and Starbucks Reserve Roasteries. Focused on serving rare Starbucks Reserve coffee, these specialized Starbucks stores offer a superior experience. Visit one of the six Roasteries worldwide for a mind-blowing journey through Starbucks’ world of coffee.