Ultimate Coffee Experience at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room!

For the winter break, I went back to Seattle to reunite with my friends and family. As soon as I landed at the airport, I instantly felt that I have returned home. The air, the humidity, the rainy weather all feel the same. Although half a year has passed, nothing much changed. At the package claim, I gave my aunt a tight hug as I thanked her for coming to pick me up. Although it was already 2:00a.m., I hardly felt tired because I was already excited about the plans I made for the break ahead.

Since I was only going to be in Seattle for the break, I called up my friends to visit the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room on the weekend. Located in the infamous Capitol Hill, the roastery attracts thousands of tourists and coffee lovers annually. At the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, you don’t just get to taste good coffee, but you learn everything about it. From roasting, processing, to brewing coffee, precision is required at every step. As my dad said, it is not just about the coffee that you are drinking-- It is the sensations, the aroma, and the ambiance that makes the experience unique. As soon as we arrived at the roastery and entered through the wooden doors, I could instantly smell the nutty and floral aroma of Starbucks coffee. My friends and I spent a good hour walking in there to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and aroma. As I roamed in the area to check out the merchandise, a barista greeted me from her station as she handed me a sample of cold brewed coffee. Without hesitation, I took a sip and let the taste sink in. Immediately, I noticed that there was no bitterness at all. I shared my observation with the barista and she began to explain the brewing process and origin of the beans. The entire process felt so natural as if it was an interactive lesson on coffee rather than a shopping experience in a shop. Since we came on a Saturday afternoon, the place was packed. Tourists, families, and students all gathered in small groups doing different things: some are chatting with the baristas and some are simply enjoying each other’s company. The scene was tranquil, as if everything was put together deliberately. The warm lighting and friendly baristas made us feel right at home.

The infamous Italian bakery shop, Princi, is also located inside the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. With over 100 items in Princi’s recipe library, it offers something for everyone at any time of the day. There is always freshly baked focaccia, clabatta, croissants, and even rectangular-shaped pizzas for you to choose from. All day round, the roastery serves breakfast, lunch, and even happy hours to deliver the best experiences for its customers. If you are not a coffee lover, I would recommend trying the desserts such as chocolate ganache cake, lemon delights, strawberry tart, and tiramisu. On the other side of the room, there were two giant coffee roasters. Out of curiosity, I approached the coffee roaster to ask him some questions. Patiently, he explained to me that the roasters would decide on the production level based on daily demand. The roast profile and timing are all calculated and logged into the machine, which can be adjusted accordingly. He also told me he has a 1KG roaster at home and would regularly roast his own coffee based on his preferences for the flavor and taste. Having been working in the industry for 15+ years, it is no surprise he has so much passion and knowledge about coffee.

By the time we were about to leave the roastery, it was already almost dinner time. I walked out the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room with a big smile on my face and a brand new appreciation for coffee. If you ever have the chance to visit Capitol Hill, make sure you visit the roastery to taste some coffee, chat with a barista, and tour this shop. For those

visiting China soon, definitely check out the second Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room that recently opened in Shanghai!

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© 2020 by Nicholas Lu, Moira Yi, Jacqueline Chen & AJ Mackey

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