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Friday 30 September 2016

Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle

Ok... so when I started writing this post it was Thursday, and National Coffee Day, the holiest of all the food holidays - expect for maybe National Donut Day which is filled of holes. Ha! See what I did there?

Anyway, National Coffee Day seemed like the perfect day to share our visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Or at least, it would have been had I finished writing this post on the actual day. Of course, now it's no longer Thursday, so National Coffee Day is sadly a thing of the past, but hey, I'm only a few hours late so let's just pretend!

Today it's National Coffee Day (shh... we're pretending, remember?) so what better day to share our visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle over Summer. I know, I know... a post about a Starbucks store doesn't sound all that interesting, but trust me; this isn't your regular Starbucks. This is swanky Starbucks. The fancy Starbucks. A Starbucks for true lovers of coffee. Scroll through the photos below and you'll see that not only does this Starbucks look nothing like a regular Starbucks, there's something different about the people too. Not a single person is sitting in front of a computer - well, apart from the guy controlling the coffee roasting machine, but we're not counting him. The customers are engaging in conversation. They're taking time to enjoy their coffee. They're watching the roasting and brewing processes. This is not a Starbucks to grab a paper cup of coffee in order to make use of the free wifi for hours - don't get me started on how much that very American practice still drives me crazy. This Starbucks is a destination. Oh, and look at the cups... they're ceramic. They're glass. They're not paper and they don't have names spelled strangely on the side in Sharpie. Of course, they do have paper cups for take out though, but they're fancier paper cups!

The first time we visited Seattle we made sure to visit the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market. We lined up for a crazy amount of time to buy our lattes that were exactly the same as the lattes at every other Starbucks store, and, most importantly, purchased my "You Are Here" Pike Place Market mug (I collect them from every city we visit). It was a novelty to say that we'd been to the first Starbucks but that's all it was; a novelty. During this most recent trip to Seattle I read about the new Starbucks store that was drawing crowds and I thought it might be a novelty to go visit it too.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery is so much more than the novelty I imagined it would be. It feels more like an artisan coffee shop than part of the world's biggest coffee chain. The design is a stunning mix of industrial chic and mid-century modern with warm copper tones throughout. It's all very Instagram worthy. The ample seating is comfortable with many different options available. Cafe chairs at tables, arm chairs with coffee tables, bar stools at the counters. The atmosphere reminded me of cafes back home in Australia where people go out for coffee to socialize rather than to work on their laptop. We ended up staying for far longer than we expected as we'd forgotten just how nice it is to sit down with a coffee in a real mug or glass and relax. Well, as much as you can relax with young children in tow!

To their credit, the girls were actually pretty well behaved and they really did enjoy watching the coffee roasting and brewing processes. They were able to watch the coffee beans spin in the large roasting drum. They watched the beans make their way through tubes overhead. They put their hands out to catch rogue coffee beans fleeing the roasting drum. Lola caught three and was pretty proud of herself.

The girls also enjoyed watching the various processes of brewing coffee, some far more technical than others. The siphon coffee brewed over a flame definitely caught their attention. They were intrigued by the copper pipes that make their way along the ceiling of the store and provide beans to the containers behind the main counter. Every now and then a pipe would deliver more freshly roasted beans to its allocated container much to the delight of the girls - and every other child in the store. The fact that pretty much the whole process of making coffee from raw bean to cup is on display amazed the girls. And I have to admit that I thought it was pretty great too.

Of course, we didn't go to Starbucks Reserve Roastery just to watch coffee being made - as fun as that was. We went there to drink coffee! The menu at Starbucks Reserve Roastery is quite different to what you find in the regular stores. For one, the beans used here aren't available at most Starbucks stores. The variety of coffees available is much larger, and the menu itself comes on an actual menu. We found seating for 5 at a coffee table and spent quite some time reading the menu to decide what we'd like. Well, I spent quite some time perusing the menu. Kim tends to pick the first thing he reads on the menu. As this is no regular Starbucks, the girls were not able to just grab their regular Horizon chocolate milk in a carton out of the fridge like they usually do. Instead they had chocolate milk with plenty of whipped cream on top made for them. It was pretty decadent. Kim chose an espresso - which came with a small cookie, just like at home - and I decided to give the Nitro cold brew a try as it was such a hot day.

We didn't grab anything to eat with our drinks as we'd had a late lunch, however a large range of pastries is available. There is also a pizza store called Serious Pie located in the building. From what I've heard, their pizzas are supposed to be pretty good. Mathilde was a little upset that she couldn't get a chocolate cake pop like she usually does at Starbucks, but she was so content watching the coffee making process most of the time that she soon forgot about it. Plus she filled up on all that rich chocolate milk!

Lola and Mathilde were keen to check out the mezzanine level where we found many books about coffee, a wall lined with bags of beans, and views over pretty much the entire operation. I believe that this area can be reserved for tasting events.

We really enjoyed our visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. The coffee is great, the interior design is stunning, the atmosphere is relaxed, and it's pretty cool to be able to watch the whole coffee process unfold in front of you. We will definitely be back next time we visit Seattle.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located at 1124 Pike Street, Seattle. You can find more information including opening hours here.

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