A rendering of the Chicago Roastery, which will be located on the Magnificent Mile, across the street from Crate and Barrel’s flagship location. Starbucks
Starbucks is opening an enormous, super-upscale location in Chicago.
On Wednesday, the coffee giant announced that it planned to open a four-story, 43,000 square-foot Roastery in Chicago in 2019. The location, which will be the third Roastery to open in the US, will roast small-bath coffees, serve specialty cocktail-inspired beverages, and bake artisan food in-house.
Currently, Starbucks’ only Roastery is located in Seattle, Washington. The success of the Seattle Roastery, which opened in late 2014, demonstrated to Starbucks the potential for more upscale locations and provided a blueprint for the other Roasteries in the works around the world.
Here’s what it’s like to visit the Seattle Roastery — the inspiration for Chicago’s biggest and most over-the-top Starbucks ever.
The Seattle Roastery, just nine blocks from the first Starbucks shop, is immediately eye-catching. Notably, the location uses the first iteration of the chain’s mermaid logo — the ubiquitous green mermaid is nowhere to be found at the upscale location.
Walking inside, it becomes clear this isn’t the average Starbucks. Freshly roasted beans sit in gleaming containers, ready to be ground and brewed.
The beans were roasted just a few feet away, in a small-batch roaster.
Pneumatic transfer tubes move the beans from the roaster to the containers, coffee silos, or bags of Starbucks Reserve coffee beans to be sold across the world.
The Roastery offers a chance to see the entire process of creating coffee, from the silos holding green, unroasted beans to the finished cup of coffee.
All Starbucks Reserve coffee, which is more rare and roasted in small batches, is made at the Roastery before being sent to Reserve locations around the world.
In addition to being shipped to Reserve Starbucks shops, the Reserve coffees are also all served at the Roastery and Tasting Room.
The Roastery has a menu unlike any other, with drinks like the Shakerato (espresso shaken with ice and a hint of demerara syrup).
Customers can order coffee flights, such as the cold-brew flight, a pick that allows customers to test cold brew next to nitro cold brew.
Starbucks’ nitro cold brew, which is rolling out at 500 locations this summer, was first tested at the Roastery and quickly became one of the top-selling drinks at the location.
Cold beverages are a focus at the Roastery. In addition to a line of cold-brew drinks, the location also has an entire affogato menu, for espresso poured over locally made ice cream.
The test of the affogato at the Reserve helped Starbucks decide to roll out an affogato-style Frappuccino, or espresso poured over a Frappuccino.
Another ice-cream-coffee pairing is one of the most expensive on the menu: The Nitro Cold Brew Float, which costs $10.
Beyond new recipes, the Roastery also showcases different coffee-preparation methods, like siphoning.
Siphoning uses vacuum filtration to create a cup of coffee with a slightly cleaner taste than other brewing methods produce.
The Roastery’s offerings change daily and seasonally, depending on what beans are finished roasting, as well as on what baristas and other Starbucks workers want to test.
In addition to selling coffee, the Roastery sells a good deal of merchandise.
While some is Starbucks and coffee-related, a much simply showcases local products and businesses.
The Roastery houses a pizza restaurant called Serious Pie, run by Seattle chef Tom Douglas.
It also has a library, which has become a go-to meeting place for businesses based in the area, like Microsoft and Amazon.
A trip to the Roastery is a peek into the future of Starbucks — or at least into what Starbucks believes its future will hold. Counting the Chicago Roastery, the chain has now announced plans to open six Roasteries around the world.