Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room

I had the recent pleasure of attending a food blogger meet up at the new Starbucks Roastery on capital hill. The roastery combines coffee roasting, a legit slow coffee bar, coffee sales, merchandise, light food, space to hang out, a Tom Douglas pizza restaurant, and a bar all in a sprawling high ceilinged mega-room decked out in reclaimed wood, burlap, copper, leather and cement.

We were fed delicious fancy pizzas,  wood fired carrots, salad, and coconut cream pie bites from the Tom Douglas side. The pizzas were as good as we've come to demand in this fire-roasted-pizza town, and included plenty of vegetarian options for modern toppings (truffle cheese with mushrooms, potato with rosemary, buffalo mozzarella with fresh basil, etc). I did a poor job of photographing this

The big bowl of salad was pretty much untouched by my fellow bloggers. I took a huge plate and quickly understood what the others seemed to have known: this was not a salad meant to be nibbled while standing and talking. Is it a trend these days to leave large lettuce leaves whole? I ended up sitting on the floor in order to tackle this tasty but unwieldly pile.

The most interesting thing about the whole evening was a strange nagging that I was in a Disneyland version of something cool. I kept flip flopping between: Is this hip? Is this avant guard? or Is this a corporately manufactured vision of something hip and avant guard?? The answer became more clear to me when I noticed this:

It is a hip looking roaster, with his leather brimmed cap, light denim shirt, dark jeans with a tidy cuff, boots with a perfectly burnished toe, and a food net over his little beard. And then this: 
Another one! I did a quick inventory and counted a half dozen or so identically clad gentleman. Some had dark glasses, many had hair with jaunty swoops. It was as if I had stumbled upon the character actors of our dear city's identity. In the manufacture of it's approachable hipster (these fine young-ish men were indeed super friendly and knowledgeable),  Starbucks has created a human experience accessory that allows even the most unhip to venture into a "cool" location without that pesky "cooler than thou" attitude that an indie hipster barrista (one who is allowed to wear his own clothes!) might embody. How convenient!

 All in all, the space did feel really pleasant, especially on a dark winter evening. There is no denying the fact that the space is loaded with beautiful design and materials, lots of visual intrigue (pneumatic pipes delivering coffee beans all over the building), and what appears to be a very complete line-up of boutique brewing options and fancy coffees offered in an interesting and accessible way. That said, I can't shake the vision of giddy a tourist coming in to experience "real" Seattle, and leaving out the gift shop.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great summary of the Starbucks Roastery experience! Thanks for joining us.