Going and Touring Local (Part 3/3) Starbucks Reserve Pt. 1/2

So before we get started, this is the last part of my “Going and Touring Local”. I should have finished this part of the blog days ago but I was too lazy to actually open up my WordPress. I also had to get ready for the end of my winter holidays to transition back to school. This is also my part 1/2 review for Starbucks Reserve because I haven’t fully gotten into what the place is known for (siphon coffee). Expect a part 2/2 somewhere around February!

Starbucks NYC Roastery

Note: This is a review of Starbucks Reserve. This is not a review of Starbucks in general nor is it a review of Starbucks Reserve Roastery which only has locations in Seattle, Washington and NYC, New York.

A Starbucks Reserve coffee bar in New York

What is Starbucks Reserve and what is the difference between Starbucks and Reserve?

A regular Starbucks chain
One of the 1,000 Starbucks Reserve coffeehouses.
Picture provided by Business Insider

Let’s start up with some history! The new wave of coffee right now is the third wave. Third wave coffee essential means from producer to buyer. In layman terms, it’s basically a movement to treat coffee as a special commodity. Third wave coffee includes moving from a much darker to more lighter roasts, a greater emphasis on sustainability and trading, more innovative brewing methods (for example the Aeropress came during third wave coffee), and more sweeter tones and notes.

Starbucks on the other hand represents the second wave of coffee when coffee became more popularized as a social gathering type of drink. There’s more of a social commentary of second wave coffee as it is not for the coffee that people come to, it is the atmosphere that the coffeehouses pair with the cup of coffee that makes “second wave coffee”. Second wave coffee also adheres to the customization of coffee such as adding in sugars, creams, and syrups to customize it to the flavor palate.

Starbucks is usually seen as the contender and the start of second wave coffee.

Starbucks is second wave coffee because it homogenized coffee houses everywhere by introducing “frappaucinos” and customized coffee that is different for every unique individual’s taste. In recent years, with the high rise of third wave coffee, Starbucks now have to compete with different third wave roasters such as Intelligentsia, Verve Coffee, Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Groundworks, and many more. Because of the sudden increase in competition, Starbucks announced with “Starbucks Reserve” that comes out with different taste profiles of different beans across the globe as well as different brewing methods.

My thoughts and ratings of Starbucks Reserve

Different specialty beans of Starbucks

My overall rating for Starbucks Reserve is 3/5 stars. It is not a fair judgement for me to give the coffeehouse 3/5 stars because I haven’t tried other coffee beans that they had to offer nor have I tried out their siphon experience (a big plus to Starbucks Reserve). This is the reason why I gave Starbucks Reserve 3/5.

At first glance, I love it. Starbucks Reserve is totally different for regular Starbucks. There is a moodier and more darker lighting mixed with lighter and woodier ambiance. When you look around the coffeehouse, it’s actually more open aired, more relaxed, more upscale, and definitely more “simplistic” in choices of coffee but it still has a diverse range of different beans.

Not the menu that I saw. This is the menu of a New York Starbucks Reserve but it’s still essentially the same.

I ordered a cold brew coffee with the Brazilian beans. Coffee beans from Brazil tend to have a more sweeter but firmer note in my opinion, and it was one of the most best selling beans that this particular Starbucks Reserve had.

I got my order, I tasted it, I drank some of it, and I didn’t like it. It was really a disappointment for me that the beans tasted as if it more over roasted than the French Roast (idk how Starbucks in general always manages to come out with burnt coffee beans). Now cold brews in general do tend to stay more on the bitter end but this was way too much. The taste of the coffee wasn’t really that great. I couldn’t really taste any of the notes. I couldn’t get the usual sweet tasting notes that I usually get from Brazil, so that instantly just soured my score for Starbucks Reserve.

Siphon experience

However, there will be a silver lining in the future. I did mention that it wasn’t fair of me to review Starbucks Reserve based off of my one experience of going there and drinking one drink from different varieties of beans. I will go back to Starbucks Reserve to get a siphon coffee (because that’s what they’re known for) and I will try varieties of cold brews as well as different methods of brewing as well as an array of coffee beans. I’m just happy that Starbucks Reserve doesn’t sell the overtly colorized and sugary versions of what people think as “coffee”. Sue me if you want but that’s not coffee. It’s just an sugary milkshake with drops of burnt coffee.

This is just my opinion of Starbucks Reserve. I will come back later somewhere around February to get more tastes of different coffee. I’ll add in a link to Starbucks Reserve as well as different links to the differences between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd waves of coffee.

So what do you guys think about coffee or Starbucks Reserve in general? What do you guys think about Starbucks, the different waves of coffee, the influence/ cultural significance of Starbucks or any coffee house in general? Reply in the comments below and tell me what you think!

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Thanks once again!

If you want to check out Starbucks Reserve then click here.




2 thoughts on “Going and Touring Local (Part 3/3) Starbucks Reserve Pt. 1/2

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