Friday, April 24, 2015

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Coffee Nirvana

35 years ago I moved to Seattle. 

I was 24, fresh out of college and intended to live in Seattle for the rest of my life.

It was an exciting and transitional era. The punk scene was in full swing with performances at the Showbox. The Sonics were winning and the Pike Place Market was all newly renovated. The "U" district was still safe and the first batch of intrepid yuppies starting to move downtown. Seattle's first  Thai restaurants were opening up and Microsoft was unheard of.

Back then Seattle's architectural firms still had real names and still drew with ink on mylar. Most were still owned and directed by their original founders. It was well before most they all just became another branch office for some alphabet soup mega national corporation.

As for me I lived on the south slope of Queen Anne in the renovated attic of a 1920's era house with a truly epic view of downtown. My bedroom window framed the space needle perfectly. And, it was the original space needle (before that odd growth appeared midway up it's formerly sinuous legs).

Like all intern level architects I was hopelessly broke. So I spent many evenings walking around the city and browsing the racks in places like the Tower Books and Records that both resided in Lower Queen Anne.

Ivar Haglund (Seattle's favorite fish restaurant mogul and children's television celebrity) was still alive and made sure to remind us we should all "Keep Clam".

The West Seattle Bridge was broken in the up position (after being hit by a ship), and for much of my tenure the ferries were on strike. So the normally laid back island dwellers were all torqued.

My life in Seattle developed a certain rhythm. And on most Saturday mornings my routine began with a walk to the Pike Place Market (carefully timed allow me to depart before Bellevue's Wives of Stepford all rolled in).

I'd buy fresh fruit and veggies, a massive cinnamon roll and walk past the original (and kinda grungy) Starbucks. It was staffed by baristas all wearing natural fibers. Espresso's at Starbucks in those days were all pulled from a true espresso machine, there was nothing programmable or automated in there. Perfect coffee was a passion.

Back then I was not a coffee drinker but I always went in for a free nose hit of fresh roasted coffee.

After only two years my "lifetime" in Seattle was cut short with a great job offer from about a thousand miles away. I left with memories and the black and white tabby the neighbor below  abandoned when she got evicted.

In the decades since, work, friends and family have led me back to Seattle over and over. It has allowing me to watch the city morph into what it is today.

Its The Reserve Dahling

This trip I stumbled across Starbuck's new "Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room". Curious I stopped in to see what it was all about. This place is something else entirely. A world away from that old "kinda grungy" storefront shop in the Market. 

Every part of this place is custom designed and meticulously crafted. Their website informs me that there will soon be 200 Reserve Roastery's around the world proffering a line of super premium roasts. 

Silly me, I thought Starbucks was already overpriced.

The more I thought about it, however, I realized the Roastery embodies what Seattle (and Starbucks) have become; all sleek and polished. A city that used to export timber and fish, now delivers software, Dreamliner's and designer coffee. 

And in the Roastery coffee is presented in a setting that clearly costs more per square foot than a modern hospital cardiac care unit.

The Bar 
(Overhead Pipes Deliver Any Bean a Barista Needs)

Coffee Meets Willy Wonka 

Custom Umbrella Stands in the Entry 
(I Love the "Ikea Meets Apollo 11" Fireplace Beyond)
The Roastery is pure Seattle fusion. A hip place where skinny, yoga fit 30 somethings enjoy expensive coffee while their designer dogs wait for them tethered out front.

Stop in and have a look around.

The nose hits are still free.

Roadboy's Travels © 2015