What is Starbucks Reserve?

“Brookland is getting a new Starbucks!” Everyone was so excited. I work in the neighborhood and thought, “What’s the big deal? There’s already a Starbucks across the street at the Catholic University bookstore.” But this wasn’t going to be just any Starbucks. This was going to be Starbucks Reserve.

Starbucks Reserve is a response to the growing third wave coffee movement. The coffees offered in these locations are limited quantity, high quality. Only 1% of the coffees Starbucks tastes every year earn the title of “reserve,” and each receives its own special roast. They use the Clover brewing system to brew each individual cup, carefully controlling the water temperature and brew time to accentuate all the nuances of the bean. Starbucks Reserve offers coffee subscriptions starting at $19/mo, and they also hold workshops. For instance, the Brookland location is holding a brew method workshop today from 4-6pm.


I sauntered into the Starbucks Reserve in Brookland earlier this week and was wowed at how beautiful it is. Hands down the most gorgeous Starbucks I’ve ever been inside. And it’s spacious with ample lounging seating. I already regretted not giving myself enough time to sit down and enjoy my coffee in the store before heading into work. When I went to order I said I’d like the Ethiopian, to which the lady pointed out they currently offer two varieties, so I went with her recommendation of the sun-dried and made my way over to the Experience Bar. This is where they brew the reserve coffee. You can simply grab a seat and wait on your coffee, or your can immerse yourself in the reserve experience, chatting with the barista who is crafting your beverage and asking him all of your coffee questions. As soon as I stepped over to the Experience Bar, my barista exclaimed, “Lauren, did they tell you this is my favorite coffee?” We chatted about our love of Ethiopian coffees as I watched the Clover at work. When my drink was ready, he poured it into a sleek black cup (which to be honest made me feel fancy) and handed me two colorful information cards – one for the coffee I was drinking, and the other for the coffee he recommends I try next time I stop by (which will be soon).


This experience made me look at the corporate coffee chain in a whole new light. And if you find yourself at a Starbucks Reserve but still want your regular grande caramel macchiato non-fat two pumps, don’t worry. You can still order all of your regular Starbucks drinks at a Reserve location. Now you just have more high-quality options!

Have you tried Starbucks Reserve? What do you think?

Keep caffeinated,




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