Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) opened its first Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle last week. In the Capitol Hill neighborhood, just nine blocks from its original store in Pike Place Market, the location is dedicated to roasting, coffee education and the selling of the company's Reserve blends.
Every Reserve coffee bean sold to customers will be roasted at this facility. The company plans to expand its Reserve line to 1,500 locations globally, as well as open 100 stores designed to highlight these coffees starting in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. In 2016, Starbucks plans to expand the roaster concept to Asia.
"This Roastery is the fulfillment of a decade-long dream—an homage to our relentless pursuit of coffee innovation that will create for our customers the most immersive, sensory demonstration of how we source, roast and craft the finest coffee from around the world," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks. "Everything we've ever done has led us to this point. This is the moment of the next generation of Starbucks."
The Roastery is 15,000 sq. ft. with a 6,654 sq. ft. tasting room. The facility will roast about 1.4 million pounds of small lot coffee in the first year for locations around the world.
The building itself is from the 1920s, originally a part of Seattle's Auto Row. Restored back to its original look, wood is used in the decorative ceiling and original Terrazzo and concrete in the flooring.
Along with original roasts, Starbucks teamed up with Seattle chef Tom Douglas to create unique food offerings to complement the coffees.
The Roastery also incorporates technology, including a "Clacker" board with mechanical flaps displaying what's roasting and by whom. A projection wall made of smart glass will display images of coffee on the company's farm in Costa Rica. And this year the company will debut iBeacon technology so that customers can access information about coffee.
"We have designed a space that will heighten all the senses. This is a real-life Willy Wonka experience with coffee as the heart and soul, where customers will see coffee being moved through the roasting process right before their eyes," said Liz Muller, VP of concept design for Starbucks. "We have opened up the world of sourcing, roasting and brewing so that our customers at any one point are only feet away from the theater and artistry in a sophisticated yet relaxed environment. Each visit will bring new discoveries while setting the standard for what customers can expect for the future of retail."
This year has been a big one for the retailer, who recently launched its mobile ordering app in the Portland market, and spoke of plans to extend the program to all customers across the United States over the next year. The company also announced it would push more food offerings and introduce delivery by late 2015.
-See this Starbucks press release
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