Legacy West Part 2: Starbucks Reserve

Hello readers, and welcome to post #2 of A Girl’s Bite Out!  Today, as promised, I will be bringing you a post that I think many, many people will be excited about:

Starbucks Reserve!

I visited the Starbucks Reserve Bar twice, because A.) I wanted to be sure that I got a lot of great information to share with you, and B.) I just HAD to go again for more coffee!

I was definitely not disappointed.  I will start out with a brief history and overview for those of you who may not have heard of Starbucks Reserve:

The aim of the Starbucks Reserve Bars is to bring guests the Starbucks environment that we all know and love, while also channeling the spirit of Starbucks Roasteries.  The Roasteries are locations in which coffee is not only roasted on site, but are also open to visitors to be completely immersed in the experience.  I dearly hope to visit one day in locations such as Seattle, Tokyo, and Milan!  Their website describes them as “theatrical shrines to coffee passion.”

If you really want to get a true feel for what Starbucks Reserve is all about, you would definitely want to visit the Seattle Headquarters, where you will find Starbucks Reserve SODO.  There, you will find multiple coffee bars, Rocco Princi foods, and an environment in which to get completely immersed into all that is Starbucks Reserve.  I’m adding this to my bucket list!

You can find Starbucks Reserve Bars (basically, Starbucks Roasteries without the roastery),  in a number of locations throughout the US.  These little shops will remind you a lot of the Starbucks stores that you may be used to, offering a cozy environment in which to enjoy your beverages.   However, these stores will prove to be very, very special.  The Legacy West location is a great example of one of these Reserve Bars, quite literally having bar seating in full view of all the action!

The beans used at these roasteries come from a variety of places across the globe.  I was fortunate enough, on my most recent visit, to experience a coffee tasting!  The store manager and Coffee Master was more than happy to give me more of a background on the history of Starbucks Reserve, and I thoroughly enjoyed his wonderful presentation on the super limited time and exclusive Guatemala Yaxbatz Estate!

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I had not been expecting a coffee tasting to be taking place; I had originally gone in for a sandwich, iced white mocha, and a cake pop that looked like a peacock to share with my sweetheart.  (It was date night, after all). But how exciting it to get even more than I had expected.  I was, definitely, up all night from so much caffeine.

Coffee tastings are a weekly, free event hosted by Starbucks Reserve Bars.  Since you must be a Coffee Master to work at these locations (an intense journey of coursework and hands-on discovery; I know, I’ve actually worked for Starbucks 😉 ), everyone has so many interesting things to say about the various places that these coffees come from, and are enthusiastic to explain various brewing techniques.

Starbucks Reserve coffee beans tend to be very rare and exclusive, and you will be hard-pressed to find them being sold in *most* regular Starbucks locations.  During the tasting, I was told that the Yaxbatz Estate will likely “never be seen again.”  I feel quite privileged to have gotten to taste this citrus, strong coffee flavor.  Truly a delicacy!

It was truly amazing to get to taste this exclusive coffee brewed in two different ways.  I must say, I definitely preferred the way it sat on my tongue after being brewed with the Chemex.  To me, the taste was much lighter and more enjoyable than the coffee press, but to each their own!  The caramel-covered oranges we were offered really brought out the taste of this smooth coffee.

The employees were even kind enough to let me add few pumps of orange piloncillo syrup into my cup, after I decided to ice a bit of the Guatemala!

Reserve stores offer coffees brewed in many different ways; both ones you will find at traditional stores, and ones that are exclusive.  They include:

Clover Brewed

Pour-Over

Cold Brew

Nitro Cold Brew

Coffee Press

Chemex

And, of course, the Siphon.

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I am providing a photo of one of their brochures, so that you too can read about the various brewing methods!

What sets Starbucks Reserve stores apart from the regular stores is that they serve rare, small-lot coffees.  As seen on the brochures that I was given by the enthusiastic and helpful employees, the coffees offered change depending on harvest schedules around the world. Examples include the Panama Carmen Estate with floral, lemon and praline.  Or perhaps you could try something more like the Sun-Dried Tanzania Mount Meru, which is cherry, raspberry, and chocolate flavors.  Maybe even a Jamaica Blue Mountain?  The menu will be new and exciting every time you visit!

Can’t decide, or maybe you are just a coffee enthusiast?  Purchase an Experience!  you can get an Origin Flight (three different 8 fl oz coffees prepared on the Clover), or a Brew Comparison Flight (One coffee prepared two different ways).  Of course, this is only my suggestion if even the coffee tastings leave you wanting more.

There are also seasonal offerings as far as the types of drinks that the Starbucks Reserve will offer.  For example, the Vanilla Creme Anglaise Macchiato features vanilla bean-flavored custard with lemon zest and cinnamon.  This is a creation I am truly dying to try!  However, if you do not catch the seasonal offering that you were wanting, there are a number of special offerings exclusive to the Reserve stores.

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Another aspect that really sets the Reserve stores apart is their incorporation of ice cream into a number of beverages.  You may be able to get a cold brew iced coffee at any store, but only at a Reserve location can you get a Cold Brew Float or Malt.  Absolutely to die for!

Although I was tempted to try their exclusive Hazelnut Bianco Latte, I had opted for an iced butterscotch latte on my first visit.  Is it any wonder that I came back for more?

The Starbucks Reserve Bars are simply a MUST, and if you live near one and have been passing it along as just any old Starbucks, stop inside!  You will most certainly not be disappointed, and it is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.  It’s okay to be a coffee snob!

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-Melissa Nicole Garrett

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