The Reserve Roastery is the premier NYC destination from the coffee brand, intended for customers to learn about and watch its production methods at two coffee bars or its roastery, try coffee-infused cocktails at its bar, shop apparel merch and much more

Starbucks recently opened a branch of its Reserve Roastery locations in a newly completed building in New York City’s Meatpacking District. Spanning three levels and totaling nearly 23,000 square feet, the space is intended to offer customers a detailed experience around the coffee roasting craft and a variety of specialty brewing methods.

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There are a number of major differences as to what’s inside a Reserve Roastery location versus a standard Starbucks location. The primary one, as the name suggests, is that the space includes a working coffee roastery that’s fully on display for everyone to see. Another difference is the service: In place of order queues and express pickup counters are sit down coffee bars where customers can choose from a range of brewing methods and watch the process unfold in front of them.

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To get a better understanding of the how the space was designed to create this unique coffee experience, PSFK toured the interior with Liz Muller, chief design officer of Starbucks. She began with describing the overall vision for the project. “This is about a premium experience, the space needs to have the right mood and light. The interior has to transition from day to night use, said Muller. At night there will be more of a club atmosphere, lower lighting and the music will intensify.”

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One of the most dramatic elements upon entering the space is the ceiling made up of hundreds of wooden boxes that undulate through the interior. “Each location is different and they each need to speak to that city. It’s a difficult thing to do,” said Muller, “but the city gives you the clues. The design of the ceiling in the NYC space is covered with cubes that are inspired by the grid of Manhattan city blocks. The broken up ceiling surface also helps with controlling acoustics, so there’s a functional consideration to the design.”

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Coffee Bars

There are two large coffee bars, one on the entrance floor and the second located on the lower level. Starbucks “coffee masters” are there to help customers choose from one of seven brewing methods, including pour-over, chemex, coffee press, siphon, espresso, Clover and cold brewing. For some of the brewing methods, the process is done right in front of guests seated at the bar. The Roastery also offers coffee flights as an opportunity to sample different brewing methods. The presentation and orchestration of the bartop brewing allows visitors to see the care and attention to detail the coffee masters practice with their technique.

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This is a view looking down at the lower level coffee bar from the main floor.

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The Roastery

Occupying space at the back of the interior is a large copper vessel called a cask, which stores the freshly roasted beans and forms the heart of the roastery. All the equipment and network of pipes isn’t just for show: Starbucks will use the facility to roast beans that will become coffee within the space as well as be shipped out to locations across the United States. Starbucks projects that 1.5 million pounds of coffee will be roasted at the NYC location in its first year alone, making the roastery one of the largest operating in Manhattan.

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At first glance, the industrial vibe of the roastery doesn’t look like it had much design influence from Muller and her team. But she explained that it was an intentional nod back to the area’s former history as a hub for meat processing. Bags of green coffee beans travel up along a conveyor track, similar to the ones that formerly ran into processing facilities in the neighborhood, to a hopper that collects the beans for their first roast.

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Circulating around the ceiling are a network of copper and transparent tubes that channel beans between the roasters and glass storage vessels at each of the coffee bars. Their function is mainly to show that freshly roasted beans are constantly on offer. It also solves the logistics issue of constantly having to manually move and refill bean dispensers and saves any disruption on the floor.

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Arriviamo Bar

Situated on the upper mezzanine level is the U.S. debut of the Starbucks craft cocktail bar called Arriviamo. The focus of the bar is a range of specialty coffee and tea-infused cocktails served by expert mixologists. For those already maxed out on caffeine intake from the coffee bars downstairs, Arriviamo will also serve a selection of beer, wine and classic cocktails.

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The bar area seats up to 80 people and includes a semi-private room that can be booked for meetings or small gatherings.

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Princi

Tucked into the back corner of the interior is Princi, the Milanese boutique bakery from founder Rocco Princi. The bakery will produce on-site baking of fresh breads, Pizzas, cornetti, focaccia, desserts and more.

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Retail Collection

Adjacent to the entry doors is a market-style presentation of Starbucks merchandise. It’s essentially the first thing visitors encounter in the space and that last thing they see before they leave. It isn’t the same sort of insulated tumblers and coffee mugs one might find at a conventional Starbucks locations, however.

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In addition, the Roastery offers products designed for Starbucks by noted Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

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The roastery also features a collection of apparel and all manner of accessories and gadgets for the coffee-obsessed.

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Mini Coffee Forest

Many visitors might miss it, but there’s a somewhat hidden section of rainforest in the lower passageway leading to the restrooms. The enclosure is stocked with tropical plants and includes two small coffee trees. The terrarium is part of a small exhibition of photographs and information relating to the coffee farm Starbucks maintains in Costa Rica.

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The NYC Reserve Roastery is the fourth global location, joining those in Seattle, Shanghai and Milan. Two more locations will open before the end of 2019 in Chicago and Tokyo.

Starbucks


Photos: Matt Glac for Starbucks, Dave Pinter

Starbucks recently opened a branch of its Reserve Roastery locations in a newly completed building in New York City’s Meatpacking District. Spanning three levels and totaling nearly 23,000 square feet, the space is intended to offer customers a detailed experience around the coffee roasting craft and a variety of specialty brewing methods.

There are a number of major differences as to what’s inside a Reserve Roastery location versus a standard Starbucks location. The primary one, as the name suggests, is that the space includes a working coffee roastery that’s fully on display for everyone to see. Another difference is the service: In place of order queues and express pickup counters are sit down coffee bars where customers can choose from a range of brewing methods and watch the process unfold in front of them.