Friday, February 19, 2016

Constantly in Starbucks's Shadow

Love it or hate it, Starbucks has become an international force dominating the coffee and now tea scene. Mike and I aim to try out different cafes here as Seattle is known for great coffee that isn't tied to Starbucks, but we'll make an exception when Starbucks-addicted friends and family visit. Our first visitor was my sister-in-law who happens to be the biggest Starbucks fan I know. The first thing we did when she landed was head to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery for lunch. This isn't the original Starbucks, which is located at 1912 Pike St, but it is where they roast rare beans in small batches, test out new beverages that have not yet been rolled out to regular Starbucks stores, and chat with customers about the different ways to brew coffee and the different flavor notes of each Starbucks Reserve bean.

This place is beautiful.

The grand entrance

Serious Pie inside of the Starbucks Reserve

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Pear, Hazelnuts, and Black Trumpet Aioli

Soft Eggs, Prosciutto, and Arugula Pizza

Starbucks Reserve Beans 

Siphon flight in progress ($22 for 2)

Beans that get refilled through the pipes

The downstairs tasting room

Bags that don't meet the weight standards are pushed into the barrel

After a delicious lunch at Serious Pie, we walked around, took in the rich smell around us, and tucked into our comfy chairs with our smoked butterscotch latte with milk produced by Serious Pie. Yes, it's over-the-top. I felt so special drinking this test-run latte, but it debuted this week at all locations! However, I doubt that your latte contains milk that is specially made by Serious Pie, ha! It's actually the least sweet latte I've had at Starbucks. The smokiness is very pronounced. 

Smoked Butterscotch Lattes

Being a wide-eye tourist, I talked myself into buying some of these much hyped about "rare" beans. We got into a detailed conversation with a barista about the beans that have the least acidity and still taste awesome. The Guatemala from Monte David is the least acidic of the reserve roasts that will be rolled out en masse soon, but the Tanzania Mt. Meru has some acidity and is the most exclusive roast that will never be mass produced. I had to take home a small bag of each, and they're indeed delicious and true to the flavors described by the barista.

Low acidity roasts

As unique as this particular Starbucks is, Seattleites can't feel special for long. Apparently, they plan to open more Reserve locations throughout the U.S. soon - Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. :-/

Weeks after our first visit to the Reserve, I got a job in the SoDo area (south of downtown), and my office just happens to be right behind the Starbucks corporate headquarters. 

View of Starbucks Corporate HQ from my office

What to do but to celebrate at the Reserve again with a mole mocha!

Mole Mocha - espresso with milk, smoked chocolate sauce, sesame, and chiles

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