Last week, CHS showed you inside the massive new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in a transformed auto-row era showroom at Pike and Melrose. The rest of the world had some things to say, too. Below is a selection of news, notes, and observations about the project from reporters around the country and the world. We’ve highlighted some of the more interesting bits. Let us know if there are any other reports worth noting that we missed.
Shows what construction permit budget totals will get you. The Starbucks permit was filed with a $2.3 million construction budget: The new Starbucks Roastery is rumored to have cost more than $20 million. Part retail store, part manufacturing facility and part theater, the store intentionally evokes the chocolate room where Augustus Gloop met his fate in Willy Wonka’s candy factory. — New York Times
Apparently, it fits right in: Early Friday, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room mega-store opens its specially carved teak doors in Seattle’s chi-chi Capitol Hill. Part store, part theater and part made-for-social-media buzz, it’s also a savvy tourist attraction. The store is big not just in size, but aspirations. — KING 5
So, what’s it all about? The most noticeable aspect of the place is how customers can see exactly how their cup of joe is made, from the minute it comes off the truck as green coffee beans to the moment a barista pours the liquid into a mug. There’s even a window in the bathrooms — which feature individual stalls with doors and a dedicated attendant — that lets you peer into the roasting facility. — Geekwire
And… The roasting half of the operation feels like a museum exhibit, with a low glass barrier behind which the staff operates the heavy machinery and explains their methods to curious customers. — Thrillist
And… On any vineyard tour, you can see where the grapes are mashed and bottles are corked, and then finish with a drink. Now coffee fiends can sample the same joy built around their favourite beverage. — The Guardian
Well, that sounds nice. But??? The Roastery will serve as the launchpad for a planned chain of 100 stores specializing in high-end coffees from around the globe, with initial locations opening in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — Chain Store Age
But??? While the cheapest cup of coffee is $3, the most expensive cup — which features none of Starbucks’ typical accoutrements like whipped cream and syrup drizzles — will set customers back $8. For three 12-ounce coffee samples at the “Coffee Experience Bar,” expect to shell out $15. — Eater
So, what’s it really about?
The 15,000-square-foot space will allow Starbucks to double its capacity for roasting the small-batch coffees. — Puget Sound Business Journal
Starbucks politely declined to share a final price tag for the Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, but with at least a million dollars sunk into equipment alone by our calculation, clearly no expense was spared. It might be the most ambitious and exciting cafe concept to open in North America in 2014. — Sprudge
“I think the roastery is a metaphor for the whole company,” Schultz told the 150 or so investors who gathered in Seattle for a biennial meeting with top management. — Seattle Times
Which means what, exactly? Think of the Starbucks Roastery as a gathering spot for the well-to-do, where industrial age aesthetic meets information age reality. — USA Today
OK. Now we get it. Anything we missed? Let us know in comments.