Starbucks is often synonymous with basic and *like totally* known for that time of the year when the leaves fade into a sunset palette and flocks of girls donning their uggs, yoga pants and fleece jackets make their yearly migration for the sacred pumpkin spice latte, or infamously shortened, PSL.
It’s not a surprise that Starbucks faces a branding problem. No one really wants to be called basic, especially in a time where sophisticated coffee culture has reached an unprecedented high and local coffee roasters can get away with charging as much as $15 for a pour-over to patrons curious to hear about the tale of the hand-picked beans and the far away farm.
This so-called “battle against the basic” leads us to Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, which is unlike any other Starbucks I’ve seen. I’d call this place a must-see for any Seattle vacation agenda, especially for coffee lovers.
This upscale, experience-focused roastery features everything you’d see in a hipster joint and more. If I had to describe it simply, it was kind of like a hipster Starbucks museum factory. The coffee is brewed any way you’d want, the baristas are “coffee experts” whom are happy to answer any questions you may have, there’s a spacious floor plan with cabin-themed seating and a vast fancy menu pinned down to little wooden clipboards. Oh, not to mention, you know those little trinkets that capture your attention on your way to pay? There’s a whole section of that with the most unnecessarily interesting things ranging from cute mugs to Penny Skateboards to really expensive sustainably-made clothing. Apparently, the beans gotta pass a lot of tests to make the cut. The Starbucks website states, “less than 1% of all Starbucks beans will qualify for this distinction, and some are so scarce they might never be available again.” Damn!
Anyways, I ended up getting a coffee flight because I’m a sucker for coffee flights and I love having options. My best friend got the affogato which I also contemplated heavily. To my surprise, I could actually taste the difference between the coffees (something I wouldn’t expect from a normal Starbucks). They were served in cute little silver pots with fancy post card-quality labels. My favorite was the second one, the Guatemala.
Needless to say, I was pretty hyper and bouncing off the walls by the time we left. According to Business Insider, Starbucks plans to shed their basic identity includes opening more of these premium locations in the US and in other parts of the world such as Shanghai, China.
If you head to Seattle or any of these Reserve locations open up near you, I definitely recommend paying a visit. I can’t say that I’ll start going to the various Starbucks chains near me, but I definitely think these Reserves proves Starbucks can be more than just a basic bitch.