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Starbucks Expands High-End Line With New Seattle Location

Published on Dec 7 2014 8:57 PM in Restaurant

Starbucks Expands High-End Line With New Seattle Location

Starbucks Corp. is opening a store in Seattle that combines a cafe with a coffee bean roastery as the chain boosts production of its Reserve line of premium coffee.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room is a 15,000-square-foot facility that will serve Reserve coffee, which is sourced in small batches and sells for more than $20 a pound. The store will let Starbucks double its small-batch roasting capacity and expand the Reserve coffee presence to 1,500 locations from 800 worldwide.

The world’s biggest coffee-shop operator is experimenting with new store formats, including smaller express stores in New York City and a three-story cafe in Bogota. Chief executive officer Howard Schultz has said Starbucks is seeking to emulate the retail environments offered by Apple Inc. and Nike Inc.

The Seattle facility provides a blueprint for other major urban markets, Troy Alstead, the company’s chief operating officer, said in an interview.

“Our new store formats give us the ability to grow in the US and other parts of the world,” Alstead said. “That unique roastery experience gives customers an understanding of our heritage.”

The new Starbucks roastery features a menu of kale salads, fresh pastries, sandwiches and other items created by Tom Douglas, the Seattle chef and restaurateur. The roastery also shares space with a new location of Serious Pie, the brick-oven pizzeria that Douglas created.

New Locations

Starting next year, Starbucks plans to open 100 “Reserve-only” locations around the globe. The company had been roasting its Reserve coffees at a facility south of Seattle, but decided to move the plant into a retail space in the city to “show how meticulous we are about bringing coffee to customers,” said Andre Kim, senior concept design manager at Starbucks.

“We wanted to create a theatre of coffee,” Kim said.

The roastery includes a pneumatic piping system that delivers coffee beans from a large copper silo to a central coffee bar with seating for customers. There’s also a second coffee bar for brewing demonstrations and an area where guests can watch workers rip open bags of raw coffee beans and see them roasted.

“The point was to make it as a transparent and approachable as possible,” Kim said.

Bloomberg News edited by Hospitality Ireland

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