Nestled in the meatpacking district between Chelsea Market and Google's New York offices is Starbucks' latest Roastery.
Set to open on Friday, the nearly 23,000-square-foot space is far from the typical Starbucks store. Bathed in warm light and teeming with copper features, the Roastery is a cozy haven for coffee fanatics looking to not only get their caffeine fix, but get an up close and personal experience with Starbucks' roasters, baristas and craft mixologists.
"It was five years ago, in a Starbucks board meeting that Howard Schultz, our chairman emeritus, and Liz Muller, our chief design officer, shared a vision they had for a new concept," Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, told reporters Tuesday. "A new concept of a Starbucks, a new concept of a customer experience that is the ultimate in all things coffee."
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It is Starbucks' hope that the Roastery locations will become destinations for coffee drinkers rather than just another cafe to stop at while you're at the mall.
"We wanted to do something unique, never been seen, never to be repeated, immersive, inspirational," Muller told reporters.
A look inside Starbucks New York Roastery
Starbucks' flagship Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opened in its home market of Seattle in 2014. The company has said it could open as many as 20 to 30 Roastery stores around the world.
The New York location is just one of six Roasteries expected to be open before 2020. So far, Starbucks has locations in Seattle, Shanghai and Milan. Roasteries in Chicago and Tokyo are slated to open in 2019.
Each Roastery features unique art made just for the location. At the New York location, Brooklyn artist Max Steiner created a 10-foot, 2,000-pound copper two-tailed siren that appears to be emerging from water, echoing Starbucks' logo.
"Every Roastery has to have her, and this siren is very unique, and very New York," Muller said. "She's the overarching beacon of our brand."
The centerpiece of the New York Roastery is a 30-foot copper cask.
This roasting plant is the largest of its kind in Manhattan and will roast more than 1.5 million pounds of coffee each year. These beans will be used in-store and will be shipped to other Starbucks locations to be used in beverages.
The influence of the meatpacking district
Starbucks tailors the design of each Roastery to the city that it is built within. As a nod to the historic meatpacking district, bags of green coffee beans will make their way from the cellar below via hooks on a conveyor belt on the ceiling, mimicking how a butchery would have operated in the area.
"The meatpacking district has become this incredible place of food and taste," Muller said. "We wanted an experience that meets and adds inspiration to this fantastic neighborhood. Something for people to do as they're coming out of the subway or off the High Line or out of the Chelsea Market. Something to make people say, 'wow.'"
Coffee experience bars
There are several different bars throughout the Roastery that feature different types of brewing techniques including pour-over coffee in a Chemex coffee maker, siphon and cold brew.
At the experience bar located on the lower level, customers can watch as their barista craft items not found in other Starbucks cafes, like a Cardamon Latte or Nitro Apricot Cold Brew. This bar also allows customers to try out fights of espresso and compare how different brewing methods affect the taste of the coffee.
There are even several different ice cream beverages that diners can enjoy.
On the top level is the Arriviamo Bar, a 60-foot bar that seats around 80 people and features an assortment of traditional and unique cocktails.
Items on the menu mix Starbucks coffee and espresso as well as Teavana tea with spirits and flavors. For example, the Dear Lucania pairs Teavana's Sencha Jade Green Tea with whiskey, amaro, acacia honey, lemon-orange cordial and lime.
"Opening a bar with beautiful wine and drinks is one thing, but we're taking what we know best, coffee and tea, and using that to elevate everything," Muller said. "The unique drinks, the glassware – it will be an experience to open your palette and your mind to new tastes and combinations."
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