646 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
This blog post is my holiday gift to you. I just want one holiday gift from you:
Forget everything you know or thought you knew about Starbucks. Forget!
You need to empty your cup before it can be filled.
Scroll down to see more photos and read more about Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
“The Sfilatino is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The green olives have a lot of oil and flavor!”
This was the third and final stop on our epic day downtown, Lisa, my mom and I having visited Sawada Coffee and Christkindlmarket earlier on this Sunday in early December. (Read about both places in my previous blog posts.) Next up was Starbucks Reserve Roastery on the Magnificent Mile. It took a while to open the doors for the first time after the site was announced, but the wait was well worth it. After a decent walk from Daley Center Plaza, here we were at the largest and most unique Starbucks.
As you might imagine, there was a long line that snaked its way up and down through a roped maze in front of the doors. The line moved quickly. It might have been over caffeinated without the jitters, smooth and not bitter. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood. People were let in as other people left the building, all full of rich coffee and cool souvenirs. I wanted that. The line started to move again, fast and without interruption. We were going in!
Holy sh*t. Big. Tall. Grand. Copper. Polished. Roasting. Laughter. Excitement. Energy. Merchandise. Everything. Everywhere. People? Not a problem. At all. There was plenty of room. And people brought plenty of patience. We were all on a mission to taste not only Starbucks Reserve coffee, but the entire Roastery experience itself. Like leaves falling in autumn, we found our proper place.
The first floor showcased a working demonstration of the coffee roasting itself. This was a good idea to prove that all the Starbucks Reserve coffee beans are fresh roasted ongoing, and to explain the roasting process itself. If I were given any more information or shown anything more up close, I might have been qualified to roast the next batch. The Roaster on duty at the time was so helpful and knowledgeable. He was so patient and fully invested in coffee bean roasting and promoting the quality of Starbucks Reserve coffee. Already this was a completely different experience than walking into the corner Starbucks.
Lisa, my mom and I walked around, checking out the merchandise and asking questions from a very friendly staff member. He explained the pneumatic tube system overhead, how it transports the fresh roasted Starbucks Reserve coffee beans from the roasting area to the copper bins everywhere throughout the Roastery. I thought that they were just steampunk dressing. They were. And functional.
After taking some snaps and picking up a souvenir t-shirt, we made our way upstairs to explore more of this amazing place. An impressive copper-hued metal sculpture greeted us as we spiraled our way upstairs to visit the Princi Bakery & Cafe on the Second Floor. The Princi Bakery is a new and special foray into exclusive Italian bakery offerings. There is a standalone Princi Bakery in the Fulton Market District, probably not far from Sawada Coffee, our first stop today. We will definitely check out Princi Bakery soon.
The wide variety and assortment of savory and sweet food and treats was almost overwhelming. The problem wasn’t saying “Yes” to anything; it was saying “No” to almost everything. It all looked so good. Future visits will facilitate the answers.
On the Third Floor, we found ourselves hungry and ready to take flight with an Origin Flight of Starbucks Reserve coffee. The Experiential Coffee Bar provided the Sfilatino and the trio of Ethiopia, Christmas 2019 and Pantheon Blend.
Finding a seat was the most challenging part of the excursion at the Roastery. We did manage to scramble three chairs and a table. After a brief wait, our treat and coffee were ready. Everything looked like a coffee table magazine spread, but we could interact with the image. It was real! And we were really here!
Lisa poured a half serving of each blend into a cup. We wanted to sample the coffee basic black, as-is. We took a sip, made some comments, then moved on to the next cup. Afterward, we convened with our thoughts. Of the Ethiopia blend, Lisa thought, “The Ethiopia tastes very strong, rich, but not acidic.” I thought that it tasted very smooth, not sour with a robust flavor that contained a nice roasted quality. My mom wasn’t yet ready to comment. She wanted more to taste.
The Christmas blend was next. Lisa took a few sips and summarized, “The Christmas blend presents a fruitiness with a nice, dark flavor that isn’t overpowering!” I tasted a few sips and thought that it almost had a cinnamon note to it, something spicy, warm and maybe a little earthy. My mom also agreed that it presented a spicy character.
Next up was the Pantheon blend. Lisa tasted a few sips and said, “It tastes a little sour.” I don’t think this was her favorite. I was curious if she was on the mark, so I tried it and thought that it was a bit strong, a little punchy with a classic “black” taste.
After trying the entire Origin Flight pure and simple, we gave everything the full-bodied treatment at the finishing bar with a little cream and simple syrup. Wow. All of the coffees transformed beautifully, full-bodied and distinguished. What at first we could sip, now we could guzzle. We did manage to pace ourselves.
“The Christmas blend presents a fruitiness with a nice, dark flavor that isn’t overpowering!”
The Sfilatino was next. This was Lisa’s choice, and she chose the green olive version. Good choice. Lisa broke off a piece, popped it in her mouth and nearly jumped an inch off her seat. I could tell she hadn’t had anything like this before. My mom took a bite and was so equally moved. She exclaimed, “The Sfilatino is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The green olives have a lot of oil and flavor!” And they jump in your mouth when you look at them!
What an amazing place is Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago. It is the largest and most unique Starbucks, but it is not like any Starbucks you have ever known. That’s why you must bring your cup empty to Starbucks Reserve Roastery and let them fill it; then, you can empty it. Repeat.
You can find Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago at 646 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The website for Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago is Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago
To experience an amazing dynamic presentation of Starbucks Reserve Roastery, click on the link to my Adobe Spark photoblog at Adobe Spark – Starbucks Reserve Roastery
To see more photos of Starbucks Reserve Roastery, follow my Instagram page at Instagram – The Simple Luxuries