Since the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery was opened in Seattle back in 2014, Starbucks has been hard at work deepening people's connection to its coffee. Those who think that getting coffee from Starbucks can only ever be a quick, grab-and-go experience on their way to work have clearly never been to a Starbucks Reserve Roastery. The Starbucks Reserve Roasteries are now located in six cities, some of which now have multiple locations within them. The Roasteries give coffee lovers an inside look into Starbucks' process of creating fresh and innovative coffee drinks and into the processes behind taking coffee from raw bean to beverage. The Reserve Roasteries also show off new, experimental, rare, and sometimes even boozy coffee creations that are not available in regular Starbucks stores. They also offer special experiences like tastings, tours, drink-mixing lessons, and more.
Yes, the Starbucks Reserve Roasteries are prime spots for the company to get creative with buzzy offerings that draw people in, like pumpkin spice espresso martinis or the Oleato coffee and olive oil drinks. However, there are also many special offerings that are unique to each Starbucks Reserve Roastery location and often capture the local flare of the city that they are in. On your next Starbucks Reserve Roastery trip, be sure to try out the unique drinks on this list if you're looking for an experience that you can't get at just any Starbucks, or even just any Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
Union Stock (Chicago)
The Chicago Starbucks Reserve Roastery location was opened in 2019 and remains the world's largest Starbucks to this day spanning a staggering 35,000 square feet. With five floors filled with coffee, tea, cocktails food, merchandise, and more, the Chicago Roastery is truly the ultimate Starbucks experience. At the Chicago Roastery, there is an entire section of the menu for coffee- and tea-based cocktails that are unique to that location. Many of these cocktails contain one or more ingredients that are locally sourced from Chicago-based companies to amplify the local feel and highlight the city's brewery and distillery scenes. The Roastery even managed to make use of one of the world's most divisive spirits, Chicago's very own Malört, in one of its specialty drinks.
One of these signature cocktails is called the Union Stock, which is made of Starbucks Reserve Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cold Brew, Cappelletti Rabarbaro Sfumato, Luxardo Amaro Abano, Rhine Hall Grappa, and lemon peel. The local Chicago ingredient found in this drink is Rhine Hall Grappa, which is made at the local Rhine Hall distillery in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. The smooth, rich flavor of the cold brew combines with the herbaceous bitterness of the Italian amaros and the light sweetness of the grappa to create a complex, yet balanced, drink. So, be sure to check this one out the next time you're in the Windy City and in need of a drink.
Lake Shore (Chicago)
Who says only Starbucks coffee should get all the love? The Lake Shore cocktail is the only tea-based cocktail that is available exclusively at the Chicago Roastery location. Ingredients in the drink include Teavana Zen Clouds Oolong, El Tesoro Añejo Tequila, mango yogurt syrup, a mango popsicle, lime zest, and sea salt tincture. The Lake Shore brings a tropical flare to the usually windy, and sometimes cold, Great Lakes region.
If you're a Teavana lover who misses when the brand had its own individual stores and you're looking for a grown-up drink to reminisce about, then this drink was made for you. The mango, tequila, and lime flavors make for a light, fruity cocktail with a fun frozen component, perfect for picturing yourself relaxing on the lake's shore on a warm summer day. The añejo tequila and the oolong tea both possess floral and sweet notes that make for a wonderful complement to the tropical notes of mango and lime. This is all tied together by a hint of salinity from the tincture that helps the background flavors pop. If you're looking to switch things up and try a coffee-free cocktail at the Chicago Starbucks Reserve Roastery, be sure to give the Lake Shore cocktail a try.
Roastery Boilermaker (Chicago)
The Roastery Boilermaker is a Chicago-exclusive cocktail that consists of Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, Koval Four Grain Whiskey, Malört, Combier Pamplemousse, honey syrup, Fever Tree Club Soda, Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, pink grapefruit juice, lemon juice, grapefruit wheel, salt tincture, and Rhine Hall Bierschnaps. This drink riffs off of a traditional beer and whisky cocktail, the boilermaker, which is prepared by adding a shot of whiskey to a pint of beer, but the baristas and bartenders of the Chicago Roastery have bucked tradition in favor of adding some zesty citrus into the mix. The Combier Pamplemousse, Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, pink grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and grapefruit wheel make sure that the citrus elements of the drink can stand up to the strong flavors of the whiskey, cold brew, and Malört without getting lost.
The Roastery Boilermaker has multiple ingredients from local companies in it, including Koval Four Grain Whiskey from the Koval distillery in Ravenswood, Rhine Hall Bierschnaps made from surplus beer from Chicago breweries, and Malört, a classic bitter Chicago liqueur. The drink brings the bold flavors of cold brew coffee and the acidic elements of grapefruit together into a refreshing mix. The drink's unique flavor combination results in a cocktail that is complex, bubbly, fruity, and rich at the same time. For a cocktail that truly highlights all of what Chicago's breweries and distilleries have to offer, be sure to try the Roaster Boilermaker.
Pour-Over Bijou (Chicago)
The Pour-Over Bijou is the final Chicago-exclusive Starbucks Reserve cocktail. Ingredients include Starbucks Reserve Coffee, Nikka Coffey Gin, Carpano Bianco Vermouth, Green Chartreuse, and Liqueur Strega. As the name implies, this drink is a coffee-based twist on a traditional Bijou, which usually consists of equal parts gin, Vermouth, and Chartreuse. The word "bijou" means "jewel" in French, and the cocktail's ingredients are actually meant to be a representation of different jewels. The clear gin is meant to represent diamonds, the Vermouth is meant to represent rubies, and the Chartreuse is meant to represent emeralds.
In the true spirit of the "pour-over" in its name, the drink actually is created through quite a visual spectacle. The liquors that make up the bijou are poured into a pour-over apparatus just like water would be if you were making a normal pour-over. The liquors then filter through the coffee grounds and the coffee filter and into a glass, resulting in a fascinating combination of coffee and cocktail. The infusion of coffee into this otherwise traditional cocktail creates an interesting flavor contrast to the many herbal notes that the original cocktail provides. Gin, Chartreuse, and Liqueur Strega all bring a strong mixture of herbal flavors, while the coffee brings a smooth, rich nuttiness to the mix. If you're looking for an uncommon cocktail experience that involves a bit of a show, be sure to order the Pour-over Bijou when visiting the Chicago Roastery.
Empire Affogato Flight (Empire State Building)
The newest Starbucks Reserve location nestled inside the Empire State Building in New York City offers an impressive remodel of the 23,000-square-foot former brewery space that once belonged to Heartland Brewery. Of course, the new location also offers a number of creative cutting-edge coffee options to enjoy in the city's most famous art deco building. With the new location comes a new menu item that is exclusive to the Empire State Building: the Empire Affogato Flight. The flight includes three different types of affogatos, which are an Italian combination of a dessert and a drink made by pouring espresso over gelato.
The affogato flavors include Banana Crisp Oatmilk, Whiskey Barrel-Aged, and Caramel Mocha Drizzle. The three flavors give guests the perfect showcase of what you'll find at the Starbucks Reserve Roasteries. The Banana Crisp Oatmilk flavor speaks to the innovative aspect of the space, while the Whiskey Barrel-Aged flavor showcases its boldness and complexity. Then, the Caramel Mocha Drizzle speaks to the classic, beloved coffee shop flavors we are all familiar with. A rich and creamy way to indulge your coffee consumption, the affogato flight is a delightful and delicious way to move through your comfort zones. If you're looking to sample something sweet with flavor combinations you won't find elsewhere, then be sure to order the Empire Affogato Flight during your next trip to New York City.
The Tokyo Starbucks Reserve Roastery was opened in 2019 in the Nakameguro neighborhood, which is popular with tourists and locals alike for its art and food scenes. This provided the perfect destination for the Starbucks Reserve experience, attracting foodies and coffee lovers from all over the world. At the Tokyo location, as with all Starbucks Reserves, there are many creative drink options on the menu, including some that cannot be found anywhere else and highlight elements of the local culture.
One such drink is called the Melrose-Tokyo. The Melrose-Tokyo is made by combining Demerara syrup, cherry bitters, and cold brew, and is garnished with a skewered maraschino cherry. This sweet cherry cold brew drink is a fitting exclusive item for the Tokyo location, seeing as Tokyo is known around the world for its festivals and celebrations honoring the gorgeous bloom season of its cherry blossoms each spring. The Demerara syrup is made using Demerara sugar, also called raw or turbinado sugar, a type of sugar with a richer taste that comes from deposits of molasses that are normally removed during the process of making white sugar. Even if you find yourself in Tokyo at a time when the cherry blossom festivals are not taking place, there's no better way to incorporate a little bit of Japanese cherry blossom love into your experience than by tasting a Melrose-Tokyo at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
Pepper Nitro With A Jerky Twist (Tokyo)
If you keep up with the news about all things Starbucks, you may remember when the Pepper Nitro with a Jerky Twist drink was first introduced back in the summer of 2017. This headline-grabbing drink does exactly what it advertises, and gives you a piece of beef jerky with your nitro cold brew. The drink's seemingly odd combination of flavors was actually for a good cause. The fascinating drink was created in order to highlight the unique flavor notes of Congo coffee to celebrate Starbucks' commitment to helping rebuild the Democratic Republic of Congo's coffee industry. The out-there flavor combination certainly successfully garnered a great deal of media attention at the time. When the drink was originally released, it was only available as a limited-time promotion at the original Starbucks Reserve location in Seattle. However, it has since become a part of the special offerings at the Tokyo Roastery.
The drink combines nitro cold brew with malted fennel pepper syrup after which it is topped with honey crema and freshly ground red peppercorns, and of course, garnished with a beef jerky skewer to finish. The smokiness and saltiness of the beef jerky are actually said to be a surprisingly perfect finish after consuming the smooth, sweet, and creamy cold brew drink. If you're curious enough, you'll just have to head to the Tokyo Roastery to find out for yourself.
Orange Coffee Tonic (Seattle & Chicago)
While it may not get as much love as other coffee drinks, the idea of making sparkling coffee is nothing new. Combining coffee and bubbly water is a phenomenon that has been spreading across the world for over 100 years. In fact, a brand called Manhattan Special launched bottled sparkling coffee in Brooklyn all the way back in 1895. However, the specific combination of espresso and tonic water is said to have been invented as recently as 2007 in Sweden. Regardless of its origins, it has now gained popularity in many different countries and has found its place on the Starbucks Reserve menu.
The Orange Coffee Tonic is a drink that is made up of Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, Teavana Ayurvedic Chai, Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic, and lemon-orange cordial. This drink provides a fun twist on a basic espresso and tonic water with new flavor combinations for an overall more complex beverage experience. The warm spices of the chai mix wonderfully with the citrus flavors present in the lemon-orange cordial, adding a new layer of dimension to the drink. At the same time, the citrus notes work to complement the deep flavors of the cold brew. The end result is a drink that combines all of the best elements of an espresso and tonic, a dirty chai, and an orange coffee into one. The Orange Coffee Tonic is available exclusively at both the Seattle and Chicago Starbucks Reserve Roasteries.
Caffe Gelato Shake (Milano)
The Milano Starbucks Reserve Roastery location was opened in 2018 and features a unique menu that blends together classic Starbucks items and flavors with the rich food culture of Italy. It's no surprise that out of the many tasty food and drink options that Italy has to offer, the creators of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery menu found gelato to be a particularly worthy addition. Starbucks chose to incorporate gelato on the Milano Roastery menu in many ways, but a standout example of this is the Caffe Gelato Shake, which beautifully marries the flavors of Starbucks cold brew and Italian gelato. This delicious milkshake is made by blending Starbucks Reserve coffee cream gelato with cold brew and whole milk to create a malted coffee milkshake which is then topped with cocoa powder.
The gelato shakes are also available in two other flavors, highlighting the different gelatos available. The first is "choco," which uses the same Starbucks Reserve coffee cream gelato as the base, blends it with rich chocolate sauce and whole milk, and tops it with chocolate curls. The second flavor is called "stracciatella," which uses a different Starbucks Reserve gelato flavor called fior di latte and blends it with whole milk and flakes of dark chocolate before topping it with chocolate curls. While the use of gelato has become quite popular at all of the Starbucks Reserve locations, all three of these gelato shake flavors are available exclusively at the Milano Roastery.
Cold Brew Arancia Rossa (Milano)
Another fun and creative drink on the Milano Starbucks Reserve Roastery menu is the Cold Brew Arancia Rossa. "Arancia rossa" is Italian for blood orange, which is a major component of the drink. The ingredients consist of lightly sweetened cold brew layered on top of blood orange juice and fresh orange juice. The drink is then garnished with an artistically folded orange peel. When it is first served, the drink is visually stunning, perfect for snapping photos to post on social media. The complexity of its flavors will likely surprise you, with a perfect balance of coffee and tropical fruit.
You may be used to drinking your coffee and orange juice separately at the breakfast table, but combining them results in a totally different experience. As you drink the beverage and its beautiful layers begin to mix, the slight bitterness of the cold brew and the sweet yet zesty citrus of the orange juice come together to create a lighter, brighter coffee drink that evolves with every sip. One thing is for certain, this coffee and orange juice drink will certainly give you a delicious start to your day. The Cold Brew Arancia Rossa is available exclusively at the Milano Roastery, so be sure to give it a try if you find yourself in Milan, so long as you have not recently brushed your teeth.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.