Starbucks Reserve Roastery Review

While in Seattle for a long weekend we decided to check out the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, the ultimate showcase of Starbucks coffee. This cafe was clearly designed to be the adult coffee equivalent of Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

The roastery was about a ten minute walk slightly uphill from the monorail station.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery side door

Here is the side entrance of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Starbucks Reserve Roastery entrance way

I really like the symbol with the star over the R – it looks great and the design in simple and clean.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery main coffee bar

The upper level has set of five coffee beans – fed by tubes, a few Clover machines, two large espresso machines, a handful of automatic pour-over stations and a row of siphon brewers.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Probate coffee roaster

Probat roaster – front and center when you walk in

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Probat control screen

Computer controls for the Probat roaster

Starbucks Reserve Roastery cooling beans

Cooling the beans after roasting

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Burundi coffee of the day

Burundi coffee of the day ready to be fed into the grate in the floor and sucked through tubes around the Roastery and over to the roaster.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery lower level

For some reason I really liked the staircase banister with the Reserve symbol.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery menu

Starbucks Reserve Roastery menu

Starbucks Reserve Roastery specials

Coffees ready to be ordered off the menu. It was a toss up for us between the two lightest roasted coffees on the menu, the Burundi and the Congo. Went with the Congo Lake Kivu.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Siphon coffee brewers

The siphon coffee brewer station

Starbucks Reserve Roastery pour over coffee station

All four pour-over machines with the dedicated Ditting grinder on the left side

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Pour over close up

Close-up of a pour-over station

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Eastern D. R. Congo lake Kivu coffee

Congo Lake Kivu coffee


This was a fun morning activity that involved coffee for the parents and hot chocolate and roast process spectating for the kids. We shared a pour-over Eastern D.R. Congo Lake Kivu coffee. Overall the coffee was very good… but not great. It was full-bodied and smooth but came up a little short of expectations; slightly burnt roast flavors covered up the nuances we have grown accustomed to in specialty coffee.

 

The coffee tasted halfway between regular Starbucks coffee and more lightly roasted specialty coffee. This did not surprise us as Starbucks has to meet people where they are and has built an incredibly successful brand by serving dark roasted coffee. Either way, this was a fun stop.

 

While in the neighborhood, we also headed over the Victrola Coffee Roaster a few doors up the street to grab a pour-over coffee to go. They had a Guatemalan coffee that edged out its Starbucks neighbor.

 

Resources:

Starbucks Reserve Roastery page

Check out this great review of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery by CoffeeReview Kenneth Davids with Jason Sarley. They purchased 8 Starbucks Reserve coffees from the Roastery and tasted them alongside 4 from the Allegro Roastery, 4 from Blue Bottle and 3 from Victrola Coffee Roaster. The Starbucks coffees were decent but all ended up on the bottom due to a longer roast time. Our single sample size of one coffee aligned with their cupping results.

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