Starbucks opens its largest Reserve Roastery in Chicago

Starbucks has come almost full circle with its new Reserve Roastery opening in Chicago, US.

The windy city was the first expansion area for the company outside of Seattle, in October 1987. Since then, Starbucks has opened Reserve Roasteries in Seattle, Shanghai, Milan, New York, Tokyo, and now, in the Magnificent Mile area of Chicago.

Each Starbucks Reserve Roastery celebrates coffee and craft, and offers an immersive experience inspired by some of the world’s most iconic cities. They are both a workshop and stage, a three-dimensional window into the journey of coffee. The Chicago Roastery is the company’s sixth roastery, and at 35,000 square feet, is its biggest showcase yet. It is a five-story tribute to the city’s art, architecture and culture – and the indelible mark the city has made on Starbucks.

“This roastery is a representation of the relationship that Starbucks has had with the city of Chicago,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “Chicago has been a market where we innovate and try new things.”

“For us, this is really a dream. The building history here is very unique.”

Wall art on the fourth floor reads: “Chicago, you inspire us. Your people, your city, your architecture, your music, your art. Your neighborhoods and communities.Thank you.”

The Chicago Roastery will roast small batch lots of Starbucks Reserve coffees from around the world. Unique to this Roastery, all coffee roasted in Chicago will only be served at this location. Customers can pick up a bag of hand-scooped Starbucks Reserve coffee at the Scooping Bar located on the first floor.

Standing as the centerpiece of the roastery is a 56-foot steel cask (the company’s tallest), a sculptural blend of form and function, where coffee beans go to rest and de-gas after being roasted. The bronze-coloured cask has a perforated shell that reveals roasted beans moving through tubes in all directions, and then accumulating throughout the day.

Roasteries are intended to be tourist attractions. They feature specialty coffees and teas, on-premise roasters and massive coffee casks where freshly roasted beans are held. They also have bars with craft cocktails and serve fancier food than a normal Starbucks location. On the second floor is Princi, Starbucks’ bakery and cafe concept.

There are three coffee bars throughout the roastery which a variety of brewing methods, including an Experiential coffee bar that “provides customers the opportunity to immerse in the art, science, and theatre of coffee”.

A mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are served at its Arriviamo Bar, along with Chicago-specific cocktails. This roastery is the only location in the US to sell liquid nitrogen gelato, a sweet dessert designed to be eaten with coffee.


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