There is no such thing as a Starbucks Reserve Store … yet.

Do you know the hierarchy of Starbucks stores? It looks like this:

image001 starbucks store pyramid

The Roastery is at the top of the pyramid. At least right now, there is only one Starbucks Roastery, and it’s located in Seattle. I dropped by again yesterday afternoon and took a few photos – Here’s what it looks like on a busy Monday:

2017+July+03+Victoria20170703_173944 Lincoln and Paulo at the engine2017 July 03 front of the roastery2017 July 03 front of the roastery with front doors handpicked2017 July 03 Paolo latte art2017 July 03 Lincoln at the engine20170703_173832 vietnam de lat coffee at the green coffee loading pit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Click onto images to make them larger.)

Starbucks has announced that in 2018 there will be a Reserve Roastery in New York City.

The next category is the “Reserve Store” category. There are NO Reserve stores as of today, July 4, 2017. The first one is under construction and will be in this location here. I know it is extremely common to hear a barista say, “I work at a Reserve store” (and once upon that was correct nomenclature – when Reserve coffee was new, that was considered acceptable to say, but not now) but there is no barista that can say that as of right now because the first actual “Reserve Store” is still under construction. Sometimes when a partner (Starbucks calls their employees, “Partners”) says, “I work at a Reserve Store” they actually mean, “I work at a core Starbucks that offers Reserve coffees.”

From what we know about the “Reserve Store” category, all the food will be Princi food and there will be no core Starbucks coffees, like Verona, Gold Coast, and more. You’ll only find Reserve coffees at the Reserve stores.

Following the Reserve store category, there are “Reserve Bars.” There are only a few Reserve Bars right now, but many more are coming. Here in Seattle, you’ll find a Reserve Bar Starbucks near the Seattle Art Museum, at First and University downtown.

The next categories are the many frequently visited Starbucks locations across the world: “Core Starbucks” stores that may or may not offer Reserve coffee. These stores have all your favorite beverages, like the the Pink Drink, the Frappuccino, iced Caramel Macchiato and drip coffee all day. One thing to keep in mind is that not every Starbucks which offers Reserve coffees may offer all the Reserve coffees. In other words, there are some Starbucks stores which may have fewer Reserve coffee offerings than other Starbucks locations.

Now you know!

(There is a slightly more mobile-device friendly version of this article here.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 Comments

  • Diele Kyhn

    I desperately want to manage a Reserve Bar! It was my dream to work at the Roastery but my roots are here in Arizona. Hoping one day I can manage a Reserve store in the Arizona market. Currently, I am the proud store manager of the location at Cooper and Warner in Gilbert that is a core store offering Reserve. It’s truly remarkable the innovation Starbucks has in the coffee community. Here’s to dreaming! ☕️☕️

  • Kevin Claussen

    Great article. I wonder if a 6th bottom layer will be created as more mobile pay only “micro core stores” start popping up.

    Yes, some Starbucks partners in the stores seem to be confused about what a “Reserve store” is and isn’t. I was at the Seattle U Village store just last month and I asked a woman who was restocking the Reserve coffee packages ‘”Is this a ‘Reserve’ Store?” to which she said “Yes, it is.” And I said “I see. Thanks. Do you mind telling me what exactly makes this a Reserve Store?” And she said “Because we sell these coffees here,” gesturing at the wall of Reserve coffee bean packages. Her conclusion makes total logical sense, though it was officially inaccurate ( or at least outdated).

    I think the “Reserve” moniker confusion continues because Starbucks gave both a product line and a store type the same exact name. I cannot buy Banana Republic clothes at the Gap for a reason, to make my point another way.
    It may have been less confusing to call the 2nd layer stores below the Roaster something else, like “Siren Bar” or something. And these should have their own distinctive logo variation, as I am afraid the big reserve “R” has little differentiation impact as it is also in the core stores like U Village.

    Starbucks should include ways on their website or on mobile app for folks to quickly identify Reserve Bar or Reserve Presence stores. Some of us may drive a little further to get a premium coffee if we know where to get them. I learned that the 1st and Roosevelt store was a Reserve Bar only because I was already researching what stores had what products and found an article on that location. Mobile applications have a lot of potential make this an easy task that doesn’t involve extensive research.
    BTW- Yelp has some Starbucks Reserve Bar stores designated as such in NYC and California, which is helpful.

  • Tex

    Melody,
    Since there are only 40 of them worldwide, could you post a list of all the Reserve Bars? There doesn’t seem to be a way to filter for “reserve bar” using the store finder, seems the only way to know where they are is when some blogger (like you or “Eater”) posts about one (that’s how I heard that in Canada the only ones we have are in Vancouver and Ottawa). I even tried contacting Customer Service and they totally avoided the question, see below for the totally useless reply I received after waiting 5 days!
    ***
    Let me start off by thanking you for your patience while waiting for a response.
    I’d be more than happy to assist you with this matter!
    Our coffee is also widely available at many of locations in North America, including Starbucks retail stores and at grocery stores. For assistance in finding a Starbucks retail location, please visit our store locator at: http://www.starbucks.com/retail/locator/
    If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at CustomerService.Starbucks.com.

  • Tex

    And after replying to the above, I got more avoidance/deflection, telling me about the Vancouver reserve bar being the first but forgetting the Ottawa one (which is way closer to me… 4 hour drive vs 5 hour FLIGHT) and then directing me to the useless store locator yet again. I don’t know why they’re so secretive about this. I wonder if they’re worried about cannibalization of the core stores (the Dairy Queens) so they don’t want to make too big a deal about the Bars….
    ***
    I certainly understand your concerns and I would like to help. Upon review we do not have a list of stores that have Reserve Bars in Canada.
    Although, I can confirm that the Starbucks store in Mount Pleasant in Vancouver’ is first to feature an immersive Starbucks Reserve® coffee bar In Canada. Feel free to look at our store locator http://www.starbucks.com/retail/find/default.aspx for store information to find the closest store near you. Again, I am truly sorry for any inconvenience that this has caused.

  • Melody

    Tex, I have had some new thoughts about Reserve Bars, core stores with Reserve coffee and more. First off, I noticed that on Instagram, a number of stores have added the word “reserve ” to their profile name. It creates some uniformity that I could use to research where are Reserve Bars. But interestingly, some stores haven’t changed their name. I wonder if the plan is to remove Reserve coffee from most core stores offering Reserve coffee, and convert a few of the larger, more high profile stores, like University Village, to Reserve Bars. This would finally create the needed separation, distinguishing core stores from Reserve Bars. I have a couple of reasons that I came to this idea. Like I heard, a few small separate pieces of evidence and put this story together. The jury is still out.

  • Tex

    Melody, thank you for your input on this. I wish core stores with Reserve would make it more obvious with outside signage (I’d say make the siren logo gold on black instead white on green – that would stand out for those “in the know” but those that don’t, won’t be confused and still know it’s a Starbucks). As for converting existing stores to Reserve Bars, a big problem there would be square footage. It’s one thing to cram the Clover into the bar area, but another to extend the bar long enough to have room for the siphon and all the other high school chemistry lab toys the Reserve Bars have that a core-with-Reserves store wouldn’t.
    I wish the core-with-Reserves store closest to me would be upgraded to Reserve Bar, it might be large enough (but having to sacrifice seating/lineup area to do it). The next closest one to me, TBH does not deserve its Clover machine, and I wonder whose market research said “put Reserve here”. In my few visits there I have been the only customer that orders its use, and out-of-date Reserve flavorlock bags sit for months on that shelf. Its customer base leans strongly towards high school and college kids — yes, this is a Dairy Queen store, not a “third wave” coffee shop. That store might as well remove the two Mastrenas and replace them with 10 Vitamix blenders.

  • Tex

    Quick question, do you know if there’s a Reserve Bar in the San Diego, CA area? I will be in the area on business later this year and if they have one, I’ll have to make the time to go to it.

  • Rob Aries

    I’m pretty sure this is a Sbux company-owned blog so I’m hoping someone there might read this. I’ve been a Clover drinker for years and will often go miles out of my way to get one. Today I went into my one of my usual stores (Nyack NY) and the Clover was shut down. Then I drove to the Chappaqua NY store. It was completely redesigned and the Clover machine was gone. An employee there told me that most (maybe all? – I forget) Sbux stores with Clover machines will have them removed. Only the new Reserve stores will have them. Some stores will get Reserve bars inside the regular store and they could keep the Clovers too. My buddy (who I turned on to Clovers and is quite the addict) went to another local Sbux we get Clovers at, Ridgefield CT, and they told him the Clover will be gone Sept. 16. He is very p-o’d – I can’t print what his text to me said here!

    Two days ago I actually found a real Reserve store in Closter NJ, so I decided to give it a try. Sorry to say it was a disappointment. The new design has very hard surfaces – as a result, when more than a few people are talking, it gets extremely loud in there. The background music was also very loud, maybe to compensate for the volume of everybody talking. The AC was on and blasting cold air which I couldn’t seem to escape no matter where I tried to sit. The lighting is poor for anyone using a laptop – they had these small and very bright halogen spots that made reading the laptop screen difficult. If Starbucks is deliberately trying to get customers to NOT stay in their stores, they are doing a great job. What a letdown!

    In short, if this is what my future holds for me should I want better-than-average coffee at Starbucks, I’m out. I just did a rough calculation and I figure I spend around $1700/year for my Clover addiction, maybe more. I’m going to get cracking on my french press technique and start making more of my coffee at home. I know it won’t taste as good as a Clover but c’est la vie. I’m sure I’ll occasionally find one in my travels (I play on the road with a band – I always visit the Roastery in Seattle when we play every year at Jazz Alley!). Living where I do (near New York City), maybe I was just lucky to have so many locations near me with these machines. Not anymore I guess. Yes, I know, first-world problems! Sorry to vent like this. My bandmate just lost his house in Tortola to the hurricane. It sounds stupid but I really enjoyed those coffees a lot. OK I’ll calm down in a while! Thanks for hearing me out (if anyone has gotten this far, lol!).

  • Tex

    Rob:
    First world problems indeed. You’re in NYC with *FOUR* Reserve Bars (and you have a Roastery in the wings too). You can get your Clover fix very easily. Not so for me, and most people on the continent.
    I hope you’re wrong about the Clover program being phased out of Core stores but so often when I order a Clover brewed Reserve I’m the only customer who used it for the hour or so I was there. Starbucks around these parts (greater Toronto area) I now refer to as “Dairy Siren” — where all the screaming high school girls rush in to fork over $6 for about $1 worth of milk, ice, syrup, and cold coffee that sat in a pitcher all day.
    If Starbucks takes away all the Clovers from Toronto and doesn’t give us a Reserve Bar (surely a city with close to 3 million is deserving), I am done with them. I will be buying superior coffee beans (read: not burnt to hell) from other roasters that, unlike Starbucks, actually WANT MY BUSINESS rather than expect me to fly out to Seattle to buy them. None of the places on CoffeeReview.com will tell you “Sorry, if you want this coffee, come on over to Seattle, it’s an exclusive”. But that’s what Starbucks does. That part of the business just seems so wrong.

  • Rob Aries

    Tex, I said I was NEAR New York City. Relative to you, I am! But, I live an hour and a half from there, and hardly ever drive into Manhattan proper. So as bad as my Clover addiction might be, the only way I will see a Reserve Bar there is if I have business or another reason to already be in NYC – and as I said, I rarely do. So it doesn’t matter to me if there’s four Reserve Bars or a hundred! “You can get your Clover fix very easily”? I’ll have to disagree with you on that point!

    I *was* lucky to have many regular Starbucks stores in my area (Westchester county and Rockland county NY, and Fairfield county in Connecticut) with Clovers – but they are all going away (unless some of these stores get Reserve Bars). The only Reserve Store anywhere near me right now is the one in Closter NJ (it’s about 30 minutes from where I drop my daughter off for school) but as I said in my previous post it was a huge disappointment.

  • Tex

    Rob,
    If you can get to a Reserve Bar using commuter rail rather than drive/fly a significant distance, that’s close enough. I don’t live in Toronto proper, downtown is an hour away by train (and can be an hour by car given the traffic) but if a Reserve Bar is placed there I will be (grudgingly…) content. My point was you have 4 in your general area and I have 0.

    But going back to your original point, this Reddit thread might be worth a look:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/53cexq/has_anyone_heard_anything_about_discontinuing/
    I’m sure a lot of it is wrong but the part that stood out for me was the 35 Reserve orders per day quota (I assume that’s what they need to turn a profit). Given I never see the Clover used except when I’m buying, and when I go I might average a 1 hour visit (slowly enjoy the reserve brew, then get 2 or 3 refills of cold brew), that means the stores I go to are “averaging” 1 Clover drink per hour. The stores are open roughly 7am-10pm so that’s 15 hours, or 15 drinks per shift. If this is common across the chain, Starbucks must be losing money on them. No wonder they’re being removed.

  • Rob Aries

    Tex, really, a 1.5 hour train ride (one way) for a cup of coffee? Like I said, **if** I had business or errands that took me into New York City on a regular basis, then yea, I’m a lucky ducky with my four Reserve stores. That’s not the case. They might as well not exist as far as I’m concerned. Are you saying that you’d take a one hour journey into Toronto *just* for a cup? That’s dedication and I salute you!

    Thanks for the link to that Reddit thread. Looking at its age I see this move might have been in the works for a while. I posted about the disappearing Clovers on Sbux’s FB page and got a reply that corroborated what you and the Reddit thread were saying, i.e., it’s lack of sales that are making them pull the plug. So maybe some machines will remain in high-traffic regular stores, like, for example… those in New York City (sigh)! I had the idea that the two near me would keep them since they are in very affluent areas (Chappaqua NY and Ridgefield CT), but I guess rich people appreciate good coffee as much as the hoi polloi.

    Well, I’ve tried Aeropress and Hario drip pot with the cloth filter, now I’m using a french press and getting acceptable coffee but nothing like the Clover. Gonna miss that thing.

  • starbuxgal

    @ Tex & Rob Aires: May I challenge you two to replicate the Clover @ home (that is w/out having to shell out well over 11k of course)? I think you two may be just the coffee masters capable of coming up with an affordable, closely perfected and fairly simple way to do just that! You may want to check this out 1st: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-replicate-a-Clover-machine-at-home-for-ch/
    An added DIY benefit… by getting to use your beans of preference you may even brew a better cup! Please please PLUHLEEZE do share when you’ve got it down, I for one can hardly wait :)

  • Rob Aries

    starbuxgal, I am far from a coffee master but thanks for the vote of confidence! I saw that post about using a french press in reverse – maybe I’ll try it some day when I have time to kill but I very much doubt it’s going to get a Clover-level brew. There’s more going on in that 11K machine than an upside-down french press. Here’s *my* challenge: a company that can make a Clover-like *home* machine for less than $200-$300. Probably impossible as I’m sure Sbux now owns the patents on Clover tech, but one can dream.

  • Tex

    Might be difficult to totally clone the Clover but the other gadget you see in the Reserve Bars is within reach. This looks like the exact same model of siphon brewing system as I’ve seen in photos of the Reserve Bars, just over $100 on Amazon! That’s a lot cheaper than $11K!
    https://www.amazon.com/Hario-Bonmac-Siphon-Coffee-Brewer/dp/B004F0HODM

    This looks like a somewhat ambitious attempt to clone the Clover at a lower price point (yeah, $6K!)
    http://www.blossomcoffee.com/

  • starbuxgal

    @ Rob Aries: So where are all those Clover machines going that are being removed from all those stores anyway? Perhaps someone over @ Sbux will read this and send each of us one… say what? You really don’t think so eh?!!
    Well… perhaps someone @ Sbux will develop that affordable Clover; there has to be a way. Mass-production would bring the price down but @ current price of 12k that would take quite a few orders LOL.
    Thought this was helpful in understanding how the clever Clover works: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/kitchen/clover-coffee-maker2.htm

  • Tex

    Sbuxgal: They did try an “affordable Clover” for the regular brews but that experiment seems to have ended and we have no idea what happened with those machines. It was pitched as “Brew Revolution” but the menus listed them as “Clover-Brewed”:
    http://www.starbucksmelody.com/2017/01/22/brew-revolution-started-starbucks/
    Sadly, by April all the Clover X machines were gone, replaced by the traditional Bunn drip brewers.

  • starbuxgal

    @ TEX: Well machines that cost 11-12k a piece are going “somewhere” other than the trash… Do you have a guess on how many Sbux had out there in stores?
    Bunn drip brewers… not much different, if at all, than what has been in every restaurant for the last 50 years.

  • Tex

    Sbuxgal: Nobody said what happened to all those CloverX/Brew Revolution machines. When they disappeared from my local store the partners there said the machine had problems so they all went back for repairs. That was in April, it’s been 5 months so I suspect Sbux scrapped the project. As for the regular (reserve-brewing) Clovers, I would assume they would be removed from stores that aren’t giving them enough use (like one store in Toronto I’ve been to which is a Dairy Siren full of Frapp-sucking high school girls…how it got a Clover I’ll never know) and put them in stores where the 1 machine isn’t enough (stores where every customer wants a Reserve brew). That or keep them in the warehouse for spare parts as surely some may fail and need repaired/replaced.

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