Further caffeinating the city that never sleeps

We New Yawkers now have another outlet to keep us up at night as Starbucks opened its newest Reserve Roastery in New York City on 14 December. The fourth Reserve Roastery, located on the west side of Manhattan (61 9th Avenue) bordering the Chelsea and Meatpacking neighbourhoods in a nine-story office building near Chelsea Market, is 23,000 square feet of retail space. (Read the full story here.)

When I first learned that Starbucks planned to open a Reserve Roastery in Manhattan, I was intrigued as it was my understanding that zoning didn’t allow for roasting in New York City’s smallest, yet most densely populated borough. While chatting with two of the roasters, they admitted it was no easy task acquiring the permits as there were a multitude of city and state environmental requirements that had to be met. However, they happily claimed that what is being released into the atmosphere is 99.9% clean air (after travelling through the afterburner, which is on full display).

Like the other Roasteries, the NYC location is a working roasting facility with two roasters, a 25 kilo Probat for the store and a 125 kilo Probat that will roast coffee for NYC and East Coast locations — and consumers are able to easily view the roasting process. “The goal is to be theater for customers, so we will always be roasting,” said Alex Katz, program manager, engineering, Starbucks. On opening day, Pike’s Place coffee was being roasted, which was then going to be sent to the York, Pennsylvania facility for packaging and distribution. The NYC Reserve Roastery will roast an estimated 1.5 million-plus pounds of coffee per year.

Each Reserve Roastery features a custom cask, the large container used to hold freshly roasted beans as they rest before being used in beverages. New York’s cask is a 30-foot sleek, hammered copper cask that runs from the lower level (where the restrooms and “a piece of Hacienda Alsacia” – Starbucks’ coffee farm in Costa Rica – are located) to the mezzanine.

Starbucks does work to design each Reserve Roastery to represent the city hosting it. For example, the Milan location, which opened in September in Palazzo della Poste on the Piazza Cordusio, near the Duomo di Milano and Teatro alla Scala, features historic architecture and colours reflective of Italian fashion. The ceiling of the NYC Roastery is a sea of undulating squares and rectangles inspired by the building’s exterior and by the grid of NYC blocks outside. The ceiling also features a network of  “symphony pipes that twist like the NYC subways” through which the roasted beans travel to silos at the main bar or the take-home scoop bar (both beautiful but I admit that I would not have inferred the reference to the city’s blocks and subway system had they not been pointed out to me).

Each Reserve Roastery also houses a unique art piece from a local artist. In New York, it is a 10-foot, 2,000-pound copper and bronze Siren that was designed to appear as if she is emerging from water, created by Brooklyn artist Max Steiner (the eye-catching piece is one of my favourite elements of the store).

As with the other Roasteries, coffee is offered via seven methods: Clover, Chemex, coffee press, pour-over, siphon, cold brew and nitro cold brew, but exclusive to the NYC outlet is the Arriviamo Bar – a 60-foot mixology bar on the mezzanine (New Yorkers do love cocktails!). The Arriviamo Bar is the longest mixology bar in any Roastery and can be viewed from every corner of the Roastery. Inspired by the Arriviamo Bar in the Milan Roastery and the tradition of the Italian aperitivo (early evening social cocktails paired with small bites), NYC’s Arriviamo Bar offers traditional and unique cocktails like an Aperol Spritz along with coffee and tea concoctions such as the “Nocino Notte,” a twist on a Negroni with Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, Pine Barrens Barrel Reserve Botanical Gin, Gran Classico Bitter, Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino and black truffle salt, or the “Brandy Correto,” Starbucks Reserve Espresso, Black Dirt Apple Brandy, Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira, barrel-aged vanilla, cream and cinnamon. Also unlike the other Roasteries, an array of standard drinks is also available.

It is crunch time for holiday shopping and I need a jolt of caffeine to help me through my final purchases, but shall I have a limited edition microlot coffee, a Pantheon Blend coffee or a coffee cocktail like a Black & White Manhattan? So many choices…

Happy Holidays!

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