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Indulge In A Fascinating Coffee Experience At A Starbucks Roastery

Do you love a fresh brewed coffee first thing in the morning? Do you crave the heavenly scent of roasting coffee beans to breathe life into your day? If your mouth waters at the prospect of a proper brew, then you absolutely must make the effort to visit the Starbucks Roastery in Seattle. This is no ordinary coffee shop!

Seattle roastery area.
Roastery area

Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Only nine blocks from the original Pike Place Starbucks location, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is one of the largest Starbucks in the world. Gleaming bronze towers sit side by side with Experience and Mixology bars and:

If Willy Wonka had built the ultimate coffee shop instead of a chocolate factory, the result may have looked a lot like the 15,000-square-foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery.’

Starbucks Roastery photographed on March 10, 2016. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

The Seattle Roastery was opened in the Capitol Hill district in December 2014. It offers a theatrical stage on which to share the Starbuck’s passion for coffee.

Starbucks have since launched a further four Starbucks Reserve locations, with another coming soon in Chicago. Sadly, a Roastery has yet to open in the UK. In fact, the nearest is in Milan and as you may recall, I am not a fan of the city.

Starbucks Reserve menu

The Seattle Roastery aims to introduce guests to a variety of different coffee blends and brewing methods. As well as the usual selection of coffees at the café bar, you can opt for a coffee experience or indulge in caffeinated cocktails at the Mixology bar.

Starbucks Roastery flight experience
Starbucks Roastery photographed on March 10, 2016. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

We select a coffee flight from the menu, giving us the chance to try a few different coffees. The Seattle Starbucks Roastery pulls out all the stops, to bring you the rarest and freshest coffees and it takes time for us to choose our three samples.

Starbucks Reserve Experience Bar

The Experience Bar offers a chance to witness up close diverse brewing techniques. We eventually opt for the 19th Century Siphon brewing technique. Being honest, I selected this option because it looks like a mad professor’s coffee brewing technique. It’s a stunning visual display, which uses vacuum filtration to force extremely hot water through a bed of fresh ground coffee.

Starbucks Roastery Experience bar
Starbucks Roastery photographed on March 10, 2016. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

We look on intrigued, as the cylinders of hot water bubble violently and our barista regales us with the history of this technique. Then its time for our tasting session.

Siphon brewing of coffee in seattle
Brewing coffee the siphon way

Seattle Reserve coffee

I am not a fan of drinking black coffee so none of the three blends we try blow me away, however the drama of the brewing, presentation and pouring is worth the visit alone. There is ample coffee in each pot for four (Jason, myself and Jon and Ben from No Mas Coach) people to comfortably test each blend.

We opt for the Vietnam Da Lat, Kenya Barichu and Haciena Alsacia from Costa Rica. Each blend is presented in a metal urn, accompanied by a card which provides information about the blend and its source.

Seattle Roastery Experience Bar - coffee flight
Seattle Roastery Experience Bar – coffee flight

The Vietnam Da Lat coffee hails from the ‘mist shrouded pine forests of Vietnam’s Central Highlands’ and turns out to be my favourite.

The Kenya Barichu comes from the Central Region of Kenya, and the Barichu Cooperative in Costa Rica uses coffee to improve livelihoods and support over 6,000 farmers. I can’t distinguish much of a difference in taste between the Kenyan and Vietnamese blends, however the last coffee from Costa Rica is simply not to my liking. From the Alajuela province, Starbuck’s very own Costa Rican coffee farm produces a coffee described as ‘sparkling acidity balanced by citrus and milk chocolate flavours.’ I cannot say I detect any of those flavours but regardless, love the whole ambience and drama of this experience.

Seattle Starbucks Roastery area

Once you have had a chance to sample the Roastery wares, head to the centre of the Roastery to observe the roasting staff at work. They will happily answer questions about the roasting process, and impress you with their knowledge and passion. Astonishingly, we discover that every bean that makes its way into your cup of Starbucks comes from one of these Roastery locations!

Starbucks Roastery in action
Starbucks Roastery photographed on March 10, 2016. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

Bakery and store

The Seattle Starbucks Roastery also houses a large store and bakery selling pastries and breads. Its simply a stunning space with teak woods, gleaming copper vats and tourists and locals chatting over coffee. The Seattle Reserve Roastery is not the place to visit when you are short on time!

Have your say

Have you had a chance to visit one of the other Starbucks Roastery locations? If so, I would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share them in the comments below.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips


  1. Yet another good reason to visit Seattle – but it would have to be a solo trip!

    I’ve been a fan since I tried my first Valencia back in the late 80s, but only managed to get my wife into the joys of the Starbucks card after they introduced the Chai Tea Latte, as she hates coffee. Then again, I strongly dislike tea, especially the perfumed or watered down fruity versions of the Devil’s Urine (we also disagree about the inappropriately named Turkish ‘Delight’).

    Since they stopped the Valencia, my favourite is a tall, triple shot hazelnut mocha with damned good helpings of all the sprinkles. Unless it’s the 16th cup – then it’s a Valenti, of course, with four shots 😁

    One experience we have enjoyed together, however, is the Hotel Chocolat Bean to Bar Experience – learning all about the beans, the production and tasting as you go, we can both highly recommend this!!

    • Ha ha I also hate tea (unless it’s green). You simply can’t beat a latte as a morning treat!

      • Or a mocha, which – to my mind – is the healthy option:

        Coffee beans and cocoa beans count as two out of your daily five. In my book.

        I often argue that, as milk is neither animal nor mineral and thus must be vegetable, it also counts.

        Please note, however, I am not a doctor, nor a dietician. Nor am I what one could say ‘svelte’. LMAO

        • I have a similar attitude to wine. It contains grapes therefore it must be one of myn five a day surely!

          That said I’m about to go for a run so I don’t feel so guilty about indulging later, especially as I’ve been waiting pictures of Chernobyl and writing blog posts all day (and thus cannot be remotely bothered with studying for my ethics tax exam!)

          Oh the trauma!!!

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