Here’s how Starbucks described its “fancy” new Capitol Hill Reserve (TM) Roastery to national press this morning:
In December, Starbucks plans to open its first-ever Starbucks Reserve™ Roastery and Tasting Room designed to be an integrated coffee roasting, education and retail space allowing the company to expand its small-lot sourcing program and to serve as homage to the rich history of specialty coffee. A first-of-its-kind union for Starbucks of coffee theatre and manufacturing, this iconic Seattle destination will allow Starbucks to double its small-batch roasting capacity and grow its Starbucks Reserve® coffee presence from 800 to 1,500 stores worldwide, by the end of FY15. More than two years in development, this unprecedented experience will allow customers to engage with Starbucks passion for coffee in a 15,000 square-foot interactive retail environment devoted to beverage innovation and excellence.
CHS broke the news about Starbucks’s plans for the auto row-era showroom at Pike and Melrose earlier this year. The project will include the Starbucks roasting facility — complete with EPA sign off — and a Tom Douglas Serious Pie pizza project.
“Everything we have created and learned about coffee has led us to this moment. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting room is a multi-sensory experience that will transform the future of specialty coffee,” Howard Schultz is quoted as saying in the statement.
“We plan to take this super premium experience to cities around the world, elevating the Starbucks experience not only through these stores but across our entire business.”
The selection of the base of Capitol Hill for the massive investment of Starbucks in what it says will be a higher quality coffee experience follows years of experimentation in the neighborhood.
The neighborhood was home to one of the company’s most ambitious recent projects — and, some would say, failures — in creating “indie styled” cafes that strayed, briefly, outside the Starbucks brand. One of the “Fauxbucks” lives on as Roy Street Cafe while the E Olive Way Starbucks and many more in the company’s global empire benefitted from facelifts inspired by the short-lived experiment. Its most recent project transformed a former Tully’s and long ago bank at Pike and Broadway into its sixth Capitol Hill store.
We don’t know yet whether Starbucks plans Capitol Hill editions of any of the 100 “specialized store experience devoted to highlighting these rare, limited availability coffees” that were also part of the announcement. Same goes for the new express concept being touted by the coffee giant with plans for “smaller, alternative store footprints that address the increase in urbanization and decentralization of retail.”
Starbucks employs more than 120 people at six company-owned stores on Capitol Hill.