This article is sponsored by Starbucks Reserve® Roastery.
If you only associate Starbucks with coffee, you might want to think again. The arrival of the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery locations brought a new perspective on the beloved coffee brand, and both coffee lovers and foodies can find something genuinely exciting at any of the six Roastery locations in the world (you’ll only find them in three cities in America—New York, Seattle and Chicago).
A Look Inside Starbucks Reserve® Roastery NYC
Though you likely don’t have a location in your hometown, the stunning spot in New York City is a destination in itself and visitors—especially coffee lovers—should definitely consider adding a visit to their NYC trip itinerary. The drink and food offerings range from comfort food classics to unique artisanal goods—more than you might ever expect from the beloved coffee company.
We took a look at the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery New York and all it has to offer to see what coffee lovers and visitors can enjoy once they step through the doors. From a scoop bar to craft cocktails and coffee tasting flights to artisanal Italian pastries by Princi®, there’s something for everyone when visiting the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery in New York City.
Located in the Meatpacking District, the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery provides an ideal haven for visitors (and of course, coffee enthusiasts) to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, whether it be for a favorite cup of coffee or a complete meal. The space was also designed as an all-occasion destination perfect for a quick bite to eat, a casual date night or a celebration with friends and family.
“The neighborhood has so much energy,” Vice President of Siren Retail Designs, Jill Enomoto, has been quoted as saying. “The thing that excites me the most is that we’re an operational coffee roasting plant in a neighborhood with a fantastic history of industry. So we’re using it as it’s historically been used but bringing this really incredible experience along with it. There’s tradition and history all around us and a fantastic mix of locals and tourists.
“The really striking quality of the building itself is that it’s made up of these beautiful, rigid squares and rectangles, pushed and pulled. Where they are pulled in, it becomes a terrace, and it makes these little gardens,” Enomoto has said. “We fell in love with the geometry of the building and riffed off that idea.”
Upon entering the Roastery, visitors are greeted by a stunning copper Siren—a sculptural rendition of the brand’s Siren logo that’s more than a little striking. This wow factor is a small indication of what visitors can expect from the nearly 23,000 square-foot space. The Roastery employs over 150 staff members everywhere, from the actual roasting floor to the bakery and the bar.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the Roastery is the terrarium on the Cellar Level. The space incorporates a little touch of Costa Rica with vegetation native to the region, including coffee plants. The area was designed by the team at Furbish and modeled after the Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica, Hacienda Alsacia. “It’s a beautiful surprise down there,” Enomoto has said. “You could be wandering around and end up in a pocket of Costa Rica.”
You might find some familiar flavors on the menu at the Roastery; however, much of the menu is completely unique. A visit here is the perfect time to indulge in something out of the ordinary, and there are numerous unique flavors like the “Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cold Brew” and the fun “Cold Brew Trio Flight.” On hot summer days when the humidity is more than sweltering, diners will love the menu’s affogato offerings and the cold brew floats and malts.
Coffee lovers who can’t decide on one beverage have the opportunity to take part in “coffee experiences.” Much like a wine tasting, the “coffee experiences” include several different coffee flights—the “origin flight,” “cold brew flight,” “espresso flight,” and the “brew comparison flight.” Those who partake can also do the optional add-on with chocolate truffles for the optimal chocolate and coffee pairing.
“Folks in Manhattan thought of coffee in one of two ways – espresso at a highly esteemed venue or a cup on the street corner,” Ric Rhinehart, Chief Executive Officer of the Specialty Coffee Association, has said. “In the popular culture, there wasn’t room for this idea of connoisseurship for coffee.”
If you’re in the mood for something with a bit more of a kick, make a visit upstairs to the Arriviamo Bar, a 60-foot bar serving up coffee and tea-infused cocktails. The space drew inspiration from the Milan Roastery, and the traditional aperitivo served in that region of Italy.
Visitors can enjoy coffee-infused flavors like the “Starbucks Reserve® Espresso Martini” (also available in a martini flight) and fun flavors like the “Pistachio Buttered Rum.” “Our Seattle roastery experience created something that had never been done before, transforming a retail environment into something far beyond just a coffee shop and into the single best retail experience of any kind,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks. “in new york, we want to take elements from what we originally created and build something even bigger and bolder, celebrating coffee and craft in a completely unique and differentiated way. we want this experience to tell our customers that we’re coming to Broadway.”
“Spiritforward” versions of your favorite beverages are also offered, and some can be taken to-go. If you’re looking for ambiance but staying away from caffeine, classic cocktails like the Aperol Spritz and the Manhattan are also available at the Arriviamo Bar.
Roasting over 1.5 million pounds of coffee on an annual basis, the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery is the biggest roasting plant in Manhattan. Most of the coffee enjoyed at the Roastery was actually roasted on-site, which is a rarity in itself. You can have a look at the process and follow the journey of the coffee bean too.
“The neighborhood has so much energy,” Enomoto has said. “The thing that excites me the most is that we’re an operational coffee roasting plant in a neighborhood with a fantastic history of industry. So we’re using it as it’s historically been used but bringing this really incredible experience along with it. There’s tradition and history all around us and a fantastic mix of locals and tourists.”
Baked Treats & Souvenirs
While breakfast goods and bakery treats have long been a norm for Starbucks, the Roastery offers sweet and savory pastries from Princi®, the exclusive supplier of food items for the venue. The bakery was founded in Milan and offers diners a taste of authentic, artisanal items. From various classic Cornetto pastries to sandwiches and various pizzas, there’s something for every palate at the Roastery and a meal for every occasion. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat with your coffee, Princi® has several desserts to choose from too.
You’ll likely want some type of souvenir from your visit. Luckily, there are plenty of options. The retail section of the Roastery offers unique gifts and items that are part of the Reserve® brand, so you won’t be finding them in your local Starbucks. The Community Capsule program features specialty gifts designed by local artists and reflects the city's vibe. And of course, there’s the Scoop Bar where visitors can scoop their own coffee souvenirs—the Scoop Bar features a rotating variety of 14 different coffees from around the world. It’s the perfect way for coffee lovers to get an international taste of their favorite beverage.
“Here we are in New York City, and the aroma of coffee fills the air, and it is a magical place,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks chief executive officer. “It’s the ultimate experience for our customers.”