An Immersive Coffee Experience at Starbucks Reserve Roastery in New York
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I do not usually visit Starbucks when I travel to foreign countries. I am always on the search for new experiences exclusive to the new places. Ordering coffee from Starbucks is a type of experience I can always have in my own backyard, and it did not make sense to visit its chain coffee shops in a foreign land.
However, after spending two nights in Chelsea Market eating seafood and delicious noodles, and passing Starbucks Reserve Roastery twice while seeing its different interiors and having people around me surprised by such a huge establishment, I decided to spare a few hours inside of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in bustling Manhattan and found out what makes this place so special. It turned out to be a unique experience that trumps any visits I had in other coffee shops.
New York’s Starbucks Reserve Roastery Facts
Starbucks Reserve Roastery in New York is across the street from the Chelsea Market. It has three levels and covers the span of 23,000 square feet. This roastery opened in December 2018 and is the fourth of its kind after Seattle, Milan, and Shanghai. There are two more Starbucks Reserve roasteries scheduled to open in Tokyo and Chicago this year.
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery opens every day from 7 am to midnight and it requires lots of people with intense labor. It has approximately 300 employees at work at the same time.
First glimpse of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery
The first thing that caught my attention was the unique design of this Starbucks Reserve Roastery where the ceiling was made of square and rectangle shapes with copper pipes. It has concrete floors, wood furnishing, and a fireplace where guests can cozy themselves up in the winter.
Upon arrival at the doorstep, I had a 360-degree view of this roastery and was immediately overwhelmed by its large scale. Hundreds of people walk around at the same time while different bars and pastries are located in various places.
However, once you step in, there are staff members directing you and helping you with your needs. Upon knowing it was my first visit, they understood the overwhelming sense. They shared their knowledge about this place and walked me through different areas. They even suggested that I walk around and talk to the coffee masters working in different bars, as they are more than happy to share their knowledge of coffee and their expertise.
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Most of my time was spent in the experience bar. It is on the lower level that has the design of walnut colored bench circling around coffee brewing stations where coffee masters work, which provides a perfect ambiance for interaction. You can order coffee from there and talk to your barista, which is recommended as you will learn more about how your drinks are made, as well as different coffee brewing methods.
The coffee brewing process
The Starbucks Roastery Reserve has five different brew methods, and they are clover, pour-over, coffee press, Chemex, and siphon. After I ordered my Vietnam De Lat, I sat at the bar and watched my coffee being brewed through the siphon.
The water was boiled in the bottom cup and was pulled into the top chamber through air pressure. The ground coffee was then added and mixed and filtered back to the bottom cup. You can watch the whole process and notice how the ingredients change from one second to the other as if it was a part of a chemistry experiment.
The barista talked me through the process, explained the important components of making good coffee, and told me the difference between the Vietnam De Lat and the Brazilian coffee. He was a coffee nerd and frequently poured himself his beloved Brazilian Sunshine during breaks. He even offered me a cup so I could test taste them.
The coffee there costs more than your average Starbucks coffee. One can easily spend $8 to 10 on a cup of expresso and $35 on a siphon-brewed coffee flight. My small cup of Vietnam De Lat was $5.5 but the experience was worth it. You get to learn originality of your ordered coffee and how your drinking coffee is made, from the exotic coffee beans to a perfectly brewed coffee that is delivered to you.
Starbucks Roastery has an Arriviamo Bar on the top floor featuring coffee and tea-infused alcohol beverages, including cocktails, beer, and wine. It even has aperitive like Starbucks Reserve Milano-Torino made of sweet vermouth and smoky Zucca, garnished with an orange peel to stimulate your palate before your main meal.
While other Starbucks only feature coffee cups and beans, several stands in the New York Starbucks Roastery display a variety of branded gifts and souvenirs like shirts, books, art, and coffee press machines. Moreover, this roastery has dedicated a corner on the main floor where coffee cards are displayed on the wall and different coffee beans are there for sale.
The Giant Coffee Roaster
The coffee roaster facility is giant and incredible. It consists of a huge rounded Probat roaster where the coffee beans are ground, with a computer workstation next to it. The coffee roaster collects with the copper pipes on the ceiling that send freshly ground coffee to the different bars where your coffee is made and delivered. The roasters sometimes stir one type of coffee beans, but other times they are roasting mixed coffee beans.
The whole process takes up to 16 minutes and the coffee beans change colors from white to green and black. There is a bench allowing you to sip your own coffee while watching the coffee roaster working.
The table service
Unlike other Starbucks chains with menus on the board, this Starbucks has a restaurant-style menu for you to order drinks and delicious treats that are exclusive to this Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Apart from its printed menu, Starbucks Roastery provides a perfect restaurant-style service to its guests, which is that you can order coffee at the bar and then sit at a table and wait for your coffee to be served.
There are chairs, sofas, and free Wi-Fi, so you can spend time relaxing, working on your computer, or reading a book, and nobody will mind if you sit there all day.
If you plan on visiting New York, I highly recommend that you make a stop at this Starbucks Reserve Roastery. This place not only offers various choices of special coffee drinks and boasts a large-scale establishment and special decor, but you can have a full-immersive coffee experience, unlike other coffee shops. The staff is extremely welcoming and attentive. My favorite part is that you are welcomed to spend hours there, relax, and learn about the coffee. It makes you feel like walking into a coffee museum.
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