I spoke to a Starbucks Roastery coffee master, aka a barista's dream job, and he gave me all the insider details I wanted to know about The Roastery and Tasting Room. What's it take to work there? How can you make the most of your experience? Behold, his tell-all responses:
The siren out front is unlike any other.
The copper siren logo on the facade of the building is hand-carved, and there's no other siren like her. In fact, according to a press release, "95 percent of all The Roastery's materials and finished pieces such as tables, chairs and lamps were made in America."
Every barista at The Roastery is a coffee master
You won't find regular green-apron baristas at The Roastery. No, no. Only coffee masters are brewing your coffee and espresso beverages. To become a Starbucks coffee master involves a rigorous eight-week course. But as the coffee master I spoke to informed me, "The training never ends."
The wait list to work at The Roastery is insane.
Talk about a highly coveted job! Starbucks employees from all over the states apply to work at The Roastery in Seattle, and there's actually a 300-person wait list to get in.
Regular Starbucks stores have a nickname.
You have The Roastery (currently there's only one), and then there are "green dot" stores, aka regular Starbucks stores. Around 10 percent of those green-dot stores serve Reserve coffees, or the coffees that are roasted at The Roastery. You can use the store locator to find those specific locations.
There's only one Roastery-exclusive coffee.
There's always one Roastery-exclusive coffee, and currently (as of March 2016) it's Gravitas No. II, a blend of three African coffees (including my favorite, Ethiopian). The result is a really chocolaty, full-bodied coffee. It was insanely good. I bought four bags!
All of the Roastery Creations are exclusive to The Roastery.
If you're wanting to try a drink you can't get anywhere else, opt for the Roastery Creations. But, let it be known: these are not like the sugary sweet drinks you are used to at green-dot stores. They are espresso-forward.
The coffee masters will feel like your best friends.
OK, this last point is just something I noticed about the coffee masters at The Roastery. They are really, really nice, helpful, and patient, even when there is a massive crowd and they are slammed. I interacted with three different coffee masters, and each spent a lot of time with me talking about tasting notes, the different brewing methods, how different drinks are made, and even the store design. Is it weird that I'm now following one on Instagram? I think not.