Do you love a fresh brewed coffee first thing in the morning? Do you crave the heavenly scent of roasting coffee beans to breathe life into your day? If your mouth waters at the prospect of a proper brew, then you absolutely must make the effort to visit the Starbucks Roastery in Seattle. This is no ordinary coffee shop!
Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery
Only nine blocks from the original Pike Place Starbucks location, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is one of the largest Starbucks in the world. Gleaming bronze towers sit side by side with Experience and Mixology bars and:
‘If Willy Wonka had built the ultimate coffee shop instead of a chocolate factory, the result may have looked a lot like the 15,000-square-foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery.’
The Seattle Roastery was opened in the Capitol Hill district in December 2014. It offers a theatrical stage on which to share the Starbuck’s passion for coffee.
Starbucks have since launched a further four Starbucks Reserve locations, with another coming soon in Chicago. Sadly, a Roastery has yet to open in the UK. In fact, the nearest is in Milan and as you may recall, I am not a fan of the city.
Starbucks Reserve menu
The Seattle Roastery aims to introduce guests to a variety of different coffee blends and brewing methods. As well as the usual selection of coffees at the café bar, you can opt for a coffee experience or indulge in caffeinated cocktails at the Mixology bar.
We select a coffee flight from the menu, giving us the chance to try a few different coffees. The Seattle Starbucks Roastery pulls out all the stops, to bring you the rarest and freshest coffees and it takes time for us to choose our three samples.
Starbucks Reserve Experience Bar
The Experience Bar offers a chance to witness up close diverse brewing techniques. We eventually opt for the 19th Century Siphon brewing technique. Being honest, I selected this option because it looks like a mad professor’s coffee brewing technique. It’s a stunning visual display, which uses vacuum filtration to force extremely hot water through a bed of fresh ground coffee.
We look on intrigued, as the cylinders of hot water bubble violently and our barista regales us with the history of this technique. Then its time for our tasting session.
Seattle Reserve coffee
I am not a fan of drinking black coffee so none of the three blends we try blow me away, however the drama of the brewing, presentation and pouring is worth the visit alone. There is ample coffee in each pot for four (Jason, myself and Jon and Ben from No Mas Coach) people to comfortably test each blend.
We opt for the Vietnam Da Lat, Kenya Barichu and Haciena Alsacia from Costa Rica. Each blend is presented in a metal urn, accompanied by a card which provides information about the blend and its source.
The Vietnam Da Lat coffee hails from the ‘mist shrouded pine forests of Vietnam’s Central Highlands’ and turns out to be my favourite.
The Kenya Barichu comes from the Central Region of Kenya, and the Barichu Cooperative in Costa Rica uses coffee to improve livelihoods and support over 6,000 farmers. I can’t distinguish much of a difference in taste between the Kenyan and Vietnamese blends, however the last coffee from Costa Rica is simply not to my liking. From the Alajuela province, Starbuck’s very own Costa Rican coffee farm produces a coffee described as ‘sparkling acidity balanced by citrus and milk chocolate flavours.’ I cannot say I detect any of those flavours but regardless, love the whole ambience and drama of this experience.
Seattle Starbucks Roastery area
Once you have had a chance to sample the Roastery wares, head to the centre of the Roastery to observe the roasting staff at work. They will happily answer questions about the roasting process, and impress you with their knowledge and passion. Astonishingly, we discover that every bean that makes its way into your cup of Starbucks comes from one of these Roastery locations!
Bakery and store
The Seattle Starbucks Roastery also houses a large store and bakery selling pastries and breads. Its simply a stunning space with teak woods, gleaming copper vats and tourists and locals chatting over coffee. The Seattle Reserve Roastery is not the place to visit when you are short on time!
Have your say
Have you had a chance to visit one of the other Starbucks Roastery locations? If so, I would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share them in the comments below.