Inside Starbucks Mount Pleasant Reserve Bar

When Starbucks opened their flagship roastery and tasting room in Seattle as a massive 15,000 square feet Disneyland for coffee it was easy to see people drawn in just to see the new tourist attraction. But how does that translate on a local level opening up a Reserve Bar in the corner of an albeit nicely renovated Starbucks while still trying to keep the existing "Classics" menu customers happy.

Externally you can try to parse what this experiment means to specialty coffee, but the Reserve Bars might be targeted as much inwards to all the people who still go to Starbucks.  If you like a (insert stereotypical verbose Starbucks drink order) and want to learn more about "specialty coffee" then you don't have to leave the Starbucks tent to find out.

Will the concept work? Starbucks already went through some more understated exercises getting their partners to brew by the cup pour overs along with serving Reserve Coffee on the Clover brewing systems which never gained much traction.

It may be easy for Starbucks to overstate the importance of small-lot coffees and manual brew methods in promoting the Reserve Bar. However, it might also be a mistake to follow along with the assumption that everyone graduates from Starbucks once they learn about "good coffee". Also, if you want to play a little mind game if you ever visit pretend that instead of Starbucks on the neon sign outside it read Blue Bottle or Stumptown.

It’s easy to let an idea take root in your thinking. It feels, for a moment, insightful and perhaps even useful. What happens then is most likely a case of confirmation bias – you begin to see things that confirm your idea, that support and strength your particular insight.

In my case, it is the idea that good coffee isn’t cool. I’m pretty sure that, for at least a little while, really good coffee was cool. It was hard to find, it was worth travelling for. It was experimental, it was passionate, it was anti-establishment.
— James Hoffmann, "Coffee isn't cool"