Starbucks Unveils a New Playground for Coffee Lovers

By Noah Kaufman |

© Starbucks Coffee Company

"The Willy Wonka Factory of Coffee” opened in Seattle last week as the latest innovation from Starbucks. The 15,000-square-foot roastery features all its coffee roasted on-site, flights of some of the rarest single-origin coffee in the world and a series of pneumatic tubes transporting beans all over the facility causing it to sound like it is literally raining coffee—very Wonka-esque. All these elements will make for pricier coffee at the Capitol Hill space—one cup can cost $6. That said, Starbucks spokesperson Haley Drage said there is something at the roastery for everyone. At a downstairs "educational" bar they will give drinkers the chance to try the same coffee brewed with several different methods and really dig into the story behind the beans. But Drage said it will be just as easy for someone to dash in and get a cup of coffee to go.

In addition to the flagship roastery in Seattle, Starbucks will launch 100 “reserve” stores around the country starting in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. that will serve single-origin and exclusive reserve roasts.

With the coffee connoisseurs taken care of, Starbucks will make a play for the other end of the consumer spectrum: those who want caffeine without frills. Drage also told us Starbucks will launch a series of express stores with a limited menu to cut back on wait times. They haven't settled on precisely what will and will not be offered, but you certainly won't have to wait in line behind a half-caf-double-mocha with 4 pumps. The first express stores will be in New York City.

But for now, the new roastery is the crown jewel in the Starbucks empire. Check it out at 1124 Pike St. in Seattle every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

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