Starbucks has opened the first in a line of upscale stores pushing some of the rarest types of coffee from around the world, starting with a Willy Wonka-esque roastery and retail behemoth in the Capitol Hill neighborhood — not of the District — but of Seattle.
Soon, though, there may be one near our own Capitol Hill.
The company opened the doors Friday to its first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, the flagship location for what executives envision as a chain of at least 100 high-end stores selling only the company’s limited reserve coffee.
Complete with two coffee bars, a restaurant, a bustling coffee factory, a two-story library and a theater, the new supermarket-sized location in Seattle is equal parts swanky eatery, tourist attraction and history museum for coffee and the Starbucks company. It’s also where the company will roast, bag and ship more than 1 million pounds of its Reserve line of coffee products to outlets around the world.
“We have designed a space that will heighten all the senses,” Liz Muller, vice president of creative and global design for Starbucks, said in a statement. “Each visit will bring new discoveries while setting the standard for what customers can expect for the future of retail.”
You won’t find any sign of the green-and-white mermaid logo at the stores, and Starbucks says not all future locations will include a roastery. They will feature upscale furnishings and sell only rare and relatively expensive coffee varieties. Aside from the planned D.C. location, stores are slated for Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
The news comes on the heels of the firm’s biennial investor conference, where a day earlier Starbucks announced that it will soon start allowing customers across the country to order on their smartphones before stepping into a Starbucks location. In some areas beginning late next year, the company also has plans to start offering delivery service.
And the changes won’t end there. As the company continues to peddle more food offerings, it plans to make beer and wine available in up to one-quarter of its U.S. stores over the next five years.
“This is the moment of the next generation of Starbucks,” Howard Schultz, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said in announcing the chain of Reserve stores.