The Chain Gang

Here’s How Starbucks Plans to Appeal to Coffee Snobs

“The future of the company.” Photo: Starbucks

It’s easy to think that Starbucks has de-prioritized coffee (see: its growing number of sandwiches, beer and wine pairings, home delivery, #RaceTogether, etc.), but CEO Howard Schultz says otherwise. “The future of the company,” he tells the Times, is actually $8 coffee and more of the super-fancy Reserve Roastery and Tasting Rooms, like the one Starbucks built last year in Seattle.

He likes to think of these state-of-the-art spaces as a “magic carpet ride of coffee, theater and romance,” although the pictures, which show beans running overhead in pneumatic copper-lined tubes and a lot of wood fixtures, maybe look more like Jules Verne was given carte blanche to design a 15,000-square-foot Intelligentsia.

The company is in the process of adding 1,000 new cafés that sell the Reserve brand, the Roastery’s line of small-batch coffees, which is of course going to require more of these Roasteries:

It’s too soon to know if the rest of the world is ready for what several reviewers described as the Disneyland of coffee, where single cups brewed from rare beans can top $10 and baristas lead groups through “flights” of small-lot coffees, much like a wine tasting. But [Schultz] said results had exceeded expectations and the company plans to roll out Roasteries in a few major markets, with New York high on its list.

Looks like Williamsburg is about to get another Starbucks.


Starbucks’s Plan to Appeal to Coffee Snobs