In September, I wrote an insight on Starbucks which included details on a new store concept called the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room that was set to open in December. Well, December is here, which means this coffee oasis is officially open, giving coffee lovers another reason to visit Seattle. The Guardian describes it as “a temple of coffee” and this description couldn’t be more accurate. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was so impressed that he announced December 5 (the store’s opening day) as the official “Starbucks Reserve Roastery Day” and noted that “Starbucks employs more than 8,000 partners in the Seattle area. The Roastery supports more than 250 local jobs and features craftsman merchandise from Seattle Artisans.”

This 15,000 sq.-ft. store located in Seattle, brings specialty coffee-roasting to a whole new level and was described by Liz Muller, the company’s VP of Creative and Global Design, as “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.” The building itself is over 100 years old and is located just nine blocks from the original Starbucks location, which opened in 1971.  It is two stories and includes: a coffee library, retail store, coffee roaster, two coffee bars, a scooping bar, and a cafe. Around 95% of the materials used in the construction of the Roastery were made in America and the store is expected to roast 1.4 million pounds of Reserve and 28-30 different types of coffee in the first year.

If the goal of the customer is education, then they can attend coffee information sessions and classes on tasting, pairing coffees, and brewing. If the goal is to have a unique experience, then customers can try a variety of high-end coffees made from beans all roasted in-house in front of their eyes. It also has two venue rooms that customers can rent out: the Coffee Library, which fits 12 people sitting or 20 people standing, or the Coffee Experience Bar, which fits 45 people sitting or 100 standing. Customers can also enjoy freshly baked pastries, salads, sandwiches, snacks, and sweets all created by Chef Tom Douglas.

The day before the Reserve opened, CEO Howard Schultz discussed an extensive and competitive five year plan for his company. Some of the initiatives in this plan include integrating its new formats (including opening 100 Reserves within the next year), widening its mobile and global presence, investing and expanding Teavana (its line of teas), and expanding its food and alcohol options. While making money is an obvious goal for any company, Schultz states that, “Investing in our coffee, our people and the communities we serve, will remain at our core as we continue to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company in today’s disruptive global consumer, economic and retail environments.”