What is Starbucks Reserve Roastery?
Starbucks Reserve Roastery concept was firstly introduced in Seattle, December 5th, 2014. Designed to bring customers closer to how they (coffee) drinks have been made, each aspect of the Roastery was chosen with an intention and handcrafted to reflect the journey of coffee. Through the Roasteries and bars, they allow customers to explore their environment, enjoying every moment of discovery that encourages curiosity.
What makes Starbucks Reserve Roastery different than regular Starbucks store?
Compared with the regular store or even Starbucks Reserve Bar, Starbucks Roastery is more on a bigger scale. It meant to give you a theatrical performance, so that’s why it needs it’s own “stage”. Master Roasters, mixologists, and baristas ply their craft to create flavorful and artful expressions from the single-origin coffees.
The Architectural Concept of Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo is the company’s fifth roastery in the world. It follows the openings in Seattle, Shanghai, Milan, and New York. This is the first-ever Starbucks Reserve Roastery that built from-the-ground-up. Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has teamed up with Starbucks to create a coffee house that is conceived as ‘theatrical, experiential shrines’. Meanwhile Liz Muller, chief design officer at Starbucks, was responsible for the interior fit-out.
A huge copper coffee-bean cask anchors the entrance of the venue as Starbucks Reserve Roastery vocal point, extending upwards through the buildings. Measured 17 meters tall, the cylindrical gigantic glimmering monolith has a mottled surface created by a hand-hammered process called tsuchime.
For the exterior, the key element is angular tiered terraces that draw the eye upward, creating the illusion that this building has blossomed from the ground. The building itself use sugi wood (Japanese cedar) as the key material. For centuries, sugi wood has been used for the construction of fine palaces, shrines, and temples in Japan. This durable, fragrant, light-colored wood make an atmosphere of “Japanese-like building” that would connect the neighborhood with coffee.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo is able to roast 1,800 kilograms of coffee a day. The coffee that roasted here will be packaged and shipped to Starbucks stores across Japan. The roastery will also make the Tokyo Roast, a Starbucks Japan-exclusive blend coffee that will change with the season.
01 — FIRST FLOOR / MAIN COFFEE BAR
When you enter the building, you will quickly see that there are so many things happen even in your first glance. The first floor hosts the roastery’s main coffee bar, which offers a range of unique coffees and coffee-based beverages. It is also where’s the big N-500 copper-clad roasters machine placed and do the job. Back there on the left side, you will find Princi counter that magically always filled non-stop with fresh mouthwatering pizza and artisan bread. You can also see your pizza being made by peeking on the glass-wall kitchen. Look up and you will find symphony pipes carrying freshly roasted coffee beans from the copper cask to the coffee silos. On the right side, there are merchandise area and coffee scoop bar. Interesting enough for me, they are not only selling Starbucks regular merchandise like tumbler and mug, but also collaboration merchandise with Japanese local brand like a notebook from TRAVELERS FACTORY. I’m impressed to see a huge international brand like Starbucks engage with the local brands!
You might be wondering where is the best place to start. If you decided to start from the first floor, you can either order something from the main coffee bar and bring it upstairs (or wherever you want to sit), or you can also sit on the coffee bar area and enjoy the full main coffee bar experience. Unless this is not your first time and you know what to buy, you can go to the scoop bar and merchandise later. But if you are first timer, I suggest you to going around first.
I have no idea what to do on my initial visit, so I just sit on the main coffee bar area when I see an empty seat. Thirty seconds later the English-speaking barista already handed me the menu. I order Butterscotch Latte and pay with a card (The payment is made when you order the drink). The barista then working their magic to crafts my drink. It took some time for my drinks to arrive (twice waiting time if I compared with the regular Starbucks), but I sit in front of siphon brewer, which is pretty interesting to me to watch and killing the time.
Drinks they offer at the main coffee bar:
Americano Con Crema (¥800) — A premium take on a classic americano with orange-piloncillo syrup, topped with a coffee spiced crema. Finished with a strike of Demerara sugar.
Iced Sparkling Espresso with Mint (¥750) — Starbucks Reserve™ espresso is shaken with mint and Demerara syrup, served over ice and finished with sparkling water.
Undertow (¥780) — A flavor experience tying hot espresso with vanilla bean cream to intensify your senses.
Shakerato (¥680) — Espresso shaken with a hint of Demerara syrup.
Shakerato-Bianco (¥730) — Shaken espresso and Demerara syrup, served with a side of Fior di Latte (sweet cream).
Butterscotch Latte (¥780) — Starbucks Reserve™ espresso and whole milk perfectly infused with smoked butterscotch sauce.
Cortado (¥680) — Starbucks Reserve espresso with steamed milk, served in a small gibraltar glass.
Dark Chocolate Mocha (¥730) — Starbucks Reserve™ espresso, rich dark chocolate and steamed milk.
Pepper Nitro with Jerky Twist (¥1,000) — Nitro cold brew is poured into a malted fennel pepper syrup, topped with a honey crema, freshly ground red peppercorns and a beef jerky skewer.
Emerald City Mule (¥1,200) — Inspired by a traditional Moscow Mule. Cold brew, ginger ale, burnt cinnamon syrup with fresh lemon juice and an apple slice.
Cold Brew Coffee (¥600 — ¥640) — Slow-steeped Starbucks Reserve cold brew served over ice.
Cold Brew with Fior di Latte (¥650 — ¥690) — Slow-steeped Starbucks Reserve™cold brew served over ice, with sweet cream.
Nitro Cold Brew (¥760 — ¥800) — Starbucks Reserve™ cold brew infused with nitrogen to bring out coffee’s creamy, natural sweetness.
Roastery Flight (From ¥2,000) — Three distinct Starbucks Reserve™coffees prepared on Clover® brewed, Modbar Pour-over, Chemex®, Coffee press, and Siphon.
COFFEE & ICE CREAM
Cold Brew Freddo (¥1,100) — Starbucks Reserve™ cold brew concentrate spindle-blended with chocolate bitters syrup, malt syrup and two scoops of ice cream.
Classic Affogato (¥800) — Starbucks Reserve™ espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
House Affogato (¥850) — Starbucks Reserve™ espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, finished with a splash of Demerara syrup and a dusting of cinnamon.
Shakerato Affogato (¥900) — Shaken Starbucks Reserve™espresso with mint poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Cold Brew Float (¥800 — ¥840) — Cold brew with a generous scoop of exclusively made ice cream.
Nitro Cold Brew Float (¥960 — ¥1,000) — Nitro cold brew with a generous scoop of exclusively made ice cream.
Hot Chocolate (¥500) — Dark chocolate, steamed whole milk and Demerara whipped cream.
Vanilla Crème (¥500) — Vanilla bean syrup and steamed milk topped with Demerara whipped cream.
BY BREW METHODS
Coffee Press (¥580~) — A classic method that retains the flavorful oils of the coffee for a rich, full-bodied cup.
Clover® Brewed (¥580~) — Full-immersion and vacuum filtration yield exquisite balance and body.
Chemex (¥580~) — A specialized variation of pour-over that produces a rich, clean and flavorful cup.
Siphon — A stunning visual display creates a smooth, clean-tasting cup.
Modbar pour-over(¥580~) — This precisely controlled pour-over system delivers a cleanly bright cup.
My Butterscotch Latte tasted pretty impressive! The foam is fluffy and soft at the same taste, the butterscotch sauce tasted so good. This drink has a good balance when you can find a fun creation on the butterscotch side, but it’s not overpowering and you still can taste the latte in it. So far, I think it’s worth the price. They also give you a cup of complimentary sparkling water together with your drink.
When you order food from Pristi, instead of getting the one from the food display, you will get the new one from the kitchen. Same problem with the main coffee bar, for now, there is no staff telling you where to start so you need to figure it out by yourself. When I’m about to see what they have on the display, I want to start scanning from the right side of the food display. Some people standing there already and I ask them first if they are queueing or not (Please do this if you see some kind of queue or you will be considered cutting the line and that’s rude). They told me that they just waiting for they food so I start scanning the food display. After choosing what to get and doing the payment, the staff will give you a small mobile device that will vibrate to tell you that your order is ready (If you have visited Shake Shack in Tokyo before, this is the similar system). I grab Focaccia Pizzeria Verdura Gira which is a thin-crust pizza with cheese, olive oil, and 3 kinds of vegetable topping (I think it’s pepper, eggplant, and zucchini) as my snack. It’s a light bite but-somehow-make-you-full kind of Pizza. Taste pretty good but better to eat it before it gets cold!
02 — SECOND FLOOR / TEAVANA BAR
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo didn’t limit their self to coffee alone. The second floor of this building is home of the Teavana Tea Bar, which dedicated to the long-standing importance of tea in Japan. Offers an equally innovative experience with 18 loose-leaf teas and even more tea-based beverages, this tea bar actually my most favorite attraction in here! After seeing all the hustle and bustle on the first floor, you will feel more calm and zen on the Teavana Bar. I believe the calming color choice of the Teavana Bar interior and woody and washi paper wall ambiance have a major contribution to building up the zen atmosphere. On this floor, the wooden ceiling design was inspired by origami shaped.
You can enjoy the tea by itself or pair it with the dessert they offer on the bar. The staff is also able to tell you which tea matches best with each dessert.
Drinks offered on TEAVANA bar:
Strawberry Chia Oolong (¥900) — Shaked tea blend of various fruits, herbs, and mint oolong tea with chia seed and strawberry on top.
Sakura Allure Cascade (¥950) — Fruity ice tea that is perfect for spring, accented with crisp crisp texture of diced apples and refreshing smell of mint.
Teavana™ Cream Soda Matcha (¥900) — Inspired by Kissa-ten’s nostalgic cream soda, we artfully combine Matcha with sparkling water and exclusively-made ice cream and topped with cherry.
Teavana™ Cream Soda Honeybush Vanilla (¥900) — Teavana™ Honeybush Vanilla tea with sparkling water and exclusively-made ice cream and topped with cherry.
Pop’n Tea Pineapple Passion (¥950) — Tropical flavors come together in a fun and unexpected way with a Pineapple Kona Pop Popsicle and Passion Tea.
Pop’n Tea Strawberry Jasmine (¥950) — Tropical flavors come together in a fun and unexpected way with a Pineapple Kona Pop Popsicle and Passion Tea.
Golden Sky Black Tea Latte (¥950) — Lightly sweetened Black Tea with honey, turmeric & milk, topped with a golden turmeric cotton candy for fun!
Matcha Tea Fondue with Yatsuashi (¥1,200) — Decadent melted white chocolate balanced by a dose of Matcha tea in a retro fondue set up — makes for a fun edible tea experience.
Matcha Tea Fondue with Three Cheeses (¥1,200) — Decadent melted white chocolate balanced by a dose of Matcha tea in a retro fondue set up — makes for a fun edible tea experience.
Nitro Tea Citrus Lavender Sage (¥750) — Refreshing and new iced tea experience made with special Teavana™ tea.
Nitro Tea Lapsang Souchong (¥850) — A scotch whiskey-like experience derived from the smokey notes of Lapsang Souchong tea.
Nitro Milk Tea (¥900) — The best milk tea experience with fluffy texture, sweetness of acasia honey and rich taste from condensed milk.
Nitro Tea Flight (¥1,200) — Three distinct tea leaves of Teavana™as Nitro tea.
Citrus lavender sage (¥700)
Strawberry Mint Oolong (¥700)
Mandarin Mimosa (¥800)
Pineapple Kona Pop (¥750)
Sakura Allure (¥850)
Smomo Berry Purple (¥850)
Manhattan Lapsan (¥850)
Kascala Cherry Chiy (¥850)
White Peony Chai (¥850)
Silver needle (¥900)
Jasmine Silver Needle (¥900)
Uji Gyokuro (¥1400)
Umegashima Sencha (¥800)
Cover Brown rice tea (¥700)
Anxi Ran Soryu (¥900)
Darjeeling de Turionhu (¥900)
Golden Monkey (¥800)
03 — THIRD FLOOR
Like the New York and Milan locations, the Tokyo Reserve Roastery’s third floor holds an Arriviamo cocktail bar. This particular bar is actually the first bar to open in Starbucks in Japan. Arriviamo bar has both coffee and tea-infused cocktails, Japanese twists on standard classics and non-alcoholic options.
I didn’t do alcohol so kindly check this menu here for the drinks :)
On this floor, if you look closer, you can see that besides the coffee-bean cask, copper was also used as a material to create hundreds of upside-down cherry blossom ceiling flowers. Mimicking the one that appears on along the Meguro riverbanks every spring. These decorative elements are hanged in front of the gigantic coffee-bean cask, on fine pieces of string, so it’s like they are floating in the air.
You can also enjoy your cup of coffee on the terrace.
04 — FOURTH FLOOR
The top floor of the Tokyo Roastery is our AMU Inspiration Lounge, a space to enjoy a discussion, hold impromptu meetings and reflect on the wonder of coffee and its journey from bean to cup. “Amu” or 編む means “to knit together” in Japanese.
This area was built under the concept of bringing people together, as well as encouraging discussions and sparking new ideas towards positive changes in society and the future. It’s a thinking space that can be used for a lot of activities, such as casual discussions, jam sessions, and coffee tastings. If you want to enjoy your drinks in a more chill environment, you might enjoy this area.
When I post my personal experience on Instagram Stories, most of my friends asked: Was it worth the time and money?
What I could answer right now: yes, it’s worth the money spend, but I hope Starbucks could do something to decrease the waiting time. Even though the crowd is understandable due to the weekend, four hours waiting is still no joke.
Were the drinks worth the price?
The price of the drinks is starting from ¥500 to ¥3,000 which makes it on a higher price point than your regular Starbucks drinks. So, be ready to spend a little bit more than usual. For reference, I order Butterscotch Latte (¥760), Strawberry Chia Oolong tea (¥900), and Verdura Gira (¥720 if I’m not mistaken). With 8% tax, that means I spend around ¥2,500 on one visit. For me personally, the drinks are so tasty and this is something that I can’t find in other places, so it’s worth the price. But of course, taste is a personal thing, what tastes good for me might be not suited for you.
Was the place good for Instagram?
Yes! it’s very Instagram-able! This place also located on the most famous cherry blossom sightseeing spot in Tokyo, make it double worth to visit in Spring!
You are a Muslim and have a special dietary, where did you check the food ingredients before decided to order?
In general, Starbucks Japan always have allergen information page that you can check in here. And for Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo allergen information you can check it in here:
- 1F Main Coffee Bar Allergen information
- 2F TEAVANA Bar Allergen information
- 3F Arriviamo Bar Allergen information
- Princi Allergen information
It’s in Japanese, but hey, what google translate are for hehe.
How to get there
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo located in Aobadai, Nakameguro, one of the famous cherry blossom sight-seeing spot in Tokyo. The closest station is Nakameguro Station on the Toyoko Line and Hibiya Line.
A note on visiting
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo could be extremely busy especially on the weekend. To enter the building, you need to get a waiting ticket from the white building next to it. The ticket machine instruction available in a few languages including English, so there’s nothing to worry in that department. The rush starts around late morning, and it’s usually busy until closing time. On my initial visit (weekend), I come at 2pm and I have to wait 4 hours because there is 800 group before my turn. While waiting, I go to Don Quijote Nakameguro that located next to it. But then I get bored and cold so I go to Streamer Coffee that only 5 minutes walking from there (In my opinion, you could even make a quick trip to Shibuya if you want).
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo is open from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM (L.O 10:30 PM). The ticket building open from 6:30 AM and close as soon as possible when the ticket of the day is sold out.
You can pay with cash, credit card, and (Japanese) Starbucks card. For the Japan-issued Starbucks card users, you can do payment and earning stars on the Roastery, but you can’t redeem your Starbucks Rewards in here.
Original article: https://airinkarima.com/2019/03/20/starbucks-reserve-roastery-tokyo/