A Look Inside Starbucks’ New Dallas Reserve
Starbucks is notorious for being on every corner, making it the perfect example of the fast-paced, commercial lifestyle of the 21st century. Most people visit Starbucks for its convenience, reducing coffee consumption to a less personal, grab-and-go experience.
When I heard Starbucks was opening a new reserve in Dallas to expand the coffee drinking experience, I was eager to see if it would shift my opinion of Starbucks.
Part of the reason local coffee shops are so important to me is that they foster community and leisurely coffee drinking in support of the craft behind roasting and brewing coffee. So when I heard the new Reserve would include a tasting bar featuring a rotating menu of their roasts, brewed using methods such as Chemex, nitro cold brew, and Siphon, I was intrigued.
I was first extremely impressed at the space. Upon entering, it only vaguely resembles the hustle and bustle of your average Starbucks. They market the same product quite differently than you may be used to. It really is a beautiful space – well decorated, clean, and inviting. Sleek, black to-go cups replace the typical white and green, and if you’re ordering to stay, they bring your beautifully-plated order out to your table on a tray.
They do offer their same menu that is known and loved, so you can still order your regular Starbucks drink if you like. But I’d encourage those who visit to sit at the tasting bar to take a look at their special roast and brew menu.
The menu includes each brew method they serve as well as a description of the cup it creates, and a dynamic roast menu with a description of the flavor notes and origin of the bean. If you know what roast you like, you can choose the brew comparison flight for $8, and compare the Clover to the pour over method for the same origin of your choice.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in trying different roasts, you can order a flight of 3 roasts for $10. They will be brewed using the Clover method, so you can contrast the different flavor profiles of the roasts you are tasting.
I recommend asking the barista for recommendations to hear more about their process. (Tip: Bring cash to tip the baristas as there is no tip option if you pay with card at the bar). Our barista, Sarah, was extremely helpful in choosing three very different beans for us to try, and explaining why she recommends them. The coffee is served with a information card, outlining details about the process behind the roast as well as the different flavor notes in the coffee.
My personal favorite roast from the three was from East Timor for its citrus, floral notes. Contrasting the flavor profiles of the three coffees is a fun and challenging experience, and you learn a lot about your own preference in the process.
According to Sarah, only 15 people in the world have palettes refined enough to recognize every flavor notes in each of Starbucks’ roasts. She says she is still learning to pinpoint the notes and refine her own palette.
Having a conversation with the barista and taking the time to appreciate the craft behind a cup is my favorite way to enjoy coffee, so I’m glad an influential company such as Starbucks is expanding its role in the coffee industry to provide these type of experiences.