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Starbucks latest lineup of Instagram-inspired beverages has turned heads — from its infamous Unicorn Frappuccino to the Ombre Pink Drink and even its darkly decadent Midnight Mint Mocha.
While the coffee giant's traditional locations have been serving up these cups of whimsy, its Roastery and Reserve Bars are catering to a very different audience.
These "megastores," at 4,000 square feet are twice the size of a typical Starbucks and are designed to offer small-batch roastings of "rare and exotic" Reserve coffees. The company's flagship Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opened in its home market of Seattle in 2014.
Starbucks uses its Roastery as test kitchens for drinks that are often later rolled out nationwide. Think, Nitro Cold Brew, the Smoked Butterscotch Latte and the Cascara Latte.
The Reserve Coffee Bars, of which there are about 30 in the U.S., are a combination of a traditional Starbucks store and the Seattle Roastery. They offer customers the full Starbucks menu with a few additional and unique items from the Roastery.
These locations are under the careful watch of former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who stepped down from his post in April to focus on Starbucks' Reserve Roastery-branded coffee bars. He remains the chain's executive chairman.
The hope is that these locations will become destinations in their own right, rather than a place to stop while you're at the mall. This is key to future growth as more consumers shop online and visit brick-and-mortar stores less often.
The company could open as many as 20 to 30 Roastery stores around the world. Currently, Starbucks is slated to open locations in New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and another in Europe in the next three years.
The company declined to comment on how these stores compare in terms of sales to its traditional Starbucks locations.
Here are just a few of the beverages that coffee connoisseurs willing to spend a bit more on their cup of Joe will get to taste at Starbucks Roastery and Reserve Bar locations.
One of Starbucks' newest editions to the Reserve Bar menu is the Nitro Cascara Cloud. The coffee giant has been utilizing the dried fruit of the coffee cherry in several of its new drinks this year, including the Cascara Latte.
This drink is made with nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee, vanilla bean syrup and a cold foam that is made with milk and cascara syrup. It's topped with cascara sugar.
"We love the Cascara Latte, and wanted to embrace that with Nitro," Sara Bennett, a product developer at Starbucks, said in a statement. "We love the idea of using cascara – part of the coffee plant — to add flavor to coffee. Cascara elevates the flavor of every coffee it meets."
For coffee fans, this drink is supposed to have a dark chocolate body with hints of berry and a rich, port-like flavor, according to the company. A 16-ounce cup of the Nitro Cascara costs about $6.
Earlier this year, Starbucks introduced the Melrose, the coffee chain's play on a Manhattan, to its Roastery locations. The drink is made with cold brew and cherry bitters and topped with a maraschino cherry.
The company said that this beverage has gained a loyal following among customers. It is available in select Reserve Bar locations.
Depending on the size, the Melrose will cost you between $4.50 and $5.50.
While most "dirty chai" drinks are made with a chai tea latte and a shot of espresso, Starbucks' take on the beverage is made with a blend of chai and milk and topped with the chain's Nitro Cold Brew.
"Coffee and tea combine beautifully in this beverage," Bennett said. "The warm spice flavors of the chai play well with the port-like notes of the Nitro Cold Brew."
Like the Nitro Cascara Cloud, this is a new addition to the Reserve Bars' menu. It costs $6 for a 16-ounce cup.
Starbucks tested affogato, an Italian-style dessert in which a scoop of ice cream is "drowned" in a shot of hot espresso, in 10 Reserve coffee bars and several Starbucks stores in February.
As part of that test, the chain also offered the Cold Brew Float. This beverage is made with Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew and a scoop of ice cream from the Mora Iced Creamery, a creamery in Bainbridge, Washington.
The price of the Cold Brew Float ranges from $7.50 to $8.
At the company's Seattle Roastery, baristas are also bartenders. Although these drinks are alcohol-free they are based on traditional bar favorites.
Along with the Melrose, Starbucks' play on a Manhattan, the Seattle location also serves up and Emerald City Mule and a Cascara Lemon Sour, both of which are made with the chain's cold brew and are $8 each.
The Emerald City Mule contains ginger beer, burnt cinnamon syrup, fresh lemon and cold brew, and is topped with an apple slice.
The Cascara Lemon Sour is cold brew shaken with Woodinville Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup and fresh lemon. It is garnished with a Luxardo cherry and Cascara sugar.