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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  • 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

    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:
    If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at

  • 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 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.

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