Seattle is known for its coffee, and while there are cafes galore, no Seattle coffee brand is better known than Starbucks Coffee. Many make the pilgrimage to the original Starbucks location at Pike Place Market while others crowd the lines at Starbucks shops throughout the Seattle area (located within a block or two of each other, in some cases). But in late 2014, Starbucks opened a new facility that allows coffee fans and connoisseurs to experience brew in an entirely new way—the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
Visiting the Roastery is a treat for coffee lovers. The space is all at once a store, a roastery, a café, and almost a museum of the coffee roasting process.
While the original Pike Place Market Starbucks location was built in 1912, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is newer, built in just 2014. It’s one of the largest Starbucks stores in the entire world with 15,000 square feet of pure caffeinated goodness (and there may be a few decaf items in there somewhere). The Roastery was designed and built to be the ultimate coffee destination – a place where coffee lovers could not only enjoy a cup of unique brew, but a place where they could learn about the entire process, from sourcing beans to roasting to brewing and drinking.
What to Expect
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is more or less a large and enhanced Starbucks store experience. It’s self-guided and free to roam, as well as free to enter. You can customize your experience, whether you want to pop in and grab a bag of unique coffee or delve into the learning experience from start to finish.
Things to Do
A treat of visiting the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is watching coffee beans roasted right in front of you. The Roastery has two roasters that you can watch in action up close—a Small-Batch Roaster and Micro Roaster. Both allow you to watch beans go through the entire roasting process as well as chat with a roaster, who can answer questions about what exactly is going on. You can also ask to sample a freshly roasted bean—they’re pretty tasty. Head up to the small second floor overlook and you can watch beans getting packaged and labeled, too.
The freshly roasted beans are – you might have guessed – called Starbucks Reserve. And Starbucks Reserve is the good stuff. Starbucks seeks out the very best beans to include under this label that present unique flavors and accents. Most are fairly limited in quantity, too. You may find them at some Starbucks stores, but the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is dedicated to these small-batch, unique coffee roasts. So first and foremost, during your visit, make sure you enjoy a cup of a roast that appeals to you.
Near the entrance, you'll be greeted by displays of cool coffee equipment. Looking for a unique mug? A cold brew coffee kit? Pour over systems or copper kettles? You’ll find not only a great selection here, but unique pieces you won’t find in most Starbucks stores.
Venture in farther, and you’ll most often find baristas preparing some Starbucks Reserve brews on the spot—stop and try one to find out what you like. If you’re interested in different brewing methods, you can also ask about how the coffee was brewed. There are eight brewing methods available so you can learn a little extra about your favorite bean’s journey to the cup. If you can’t or don’t want to decide on just one, order a coffee flight so you can sample a few.
To the left of the entrance is the Main Bar. If you require more caffeine than a mere sample can offer, this is the place for you. Try a coffee or espresso drink with a snack, and enjoy the cool atmosphere of the Roastery, which employs teak, marble, and lots of copper.
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery also aims to be a place to learn. Sidle up to the Coffee Experience Bar at the back of the establishment and you can take classes or otherwise learn and taste, or venture into the Coffee Library and delve into more than 200 books, magazines and more about coffee.
How to Visit
Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located at 1124 Pike Street in Seattle, WA. It’s just a few blocks from downtown and is an easy walk up Pike Street from Pike Place Market (about 11 blocks from the entrance). You can also drive straight there if you prefer and look for street parking on surrounding streets.
The Roastery is open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day of the week. You can call 206-624-0173 to reach them.
What Else to Do Nearby
The Roastery is very close to downtown Seattle. Pair it with a visit to the original Starbucks location at 1st and Pike, right in front of the Pike Place Market entrance.
Take a stroll through Pike Place Market, where you can watch fishermen toss fish, sample local foods, buy fresh flowers, or pick up a souvenir or two. Things you can buy include Market Spice teas and spices, handmade goods, and gemstones and toys.
Explore downtown Seattle on the streets between Pike Place and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. You’ll find plenty of recognizable store names like Macy’s and Old Navy, as well as local companies like Columbia, and smaller stores worth exploring.