Published September 01, 2020
In Chicago, you’ll discover the world's largest Starbucks, but it's far from your standard neighborhood spot for a Grande Frappuccino. It's an espresso emporium – a 35,000-square-foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery where you can discover how coffee is made, dine on a rooftop terrace, cheers espresso martinis, and so much more. The Chicago influences go beyond this Starbuck’s 5-digit zip code – its city tributes include locally inspired craft cocktails and collaborations with local artists. For local freshness and flair, all coffee is roasted onsite and transported through The Roastery's five floors via custom coffee bean pipes.
The Roastery has reopened with new safety guidelines that include spaced out tables, extra cleaning, face mask requirements, and more. Whether you’re in need of a morning jolt or some afternoon R&R, Starbucks Reserve Roasters is full of hidden gems you could spend your whole day discovering.
A hidden oasis sitting four floors atop the Roastery, is a seasonal open rooftop terrace offering one of the best views of the Mag Mile. The best part – many people don't even know about this. Though you can enjoy the entire Roastery menu from your perched position, we find that nothing quite beats one of their signature or Aperitivo cocktails. Our personal summertime favorite happens to be the Aperol Spritz, which we recommend for transporting you instantly from Chicago to the rooftops of Florence. The rooftop is currently available via reservation.
Starbucks Reserve’s secret key to cold brew? Whiskey barrels. The barrel-aged coffee bar showcases a variety of spirit-free coffee beverages whose beans have been carefully aged in barrels. Poured over a large block of ice, the Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cold Brew is one of the Roastery's most popular drinks, as well as one of the most unique coffees you'll ever taste. The centuries-old craft of barrel-aging has historically been used for wine and spirits. However, at the Roastery, baristas combine this process with their mastery of roasting to age green coffee beans. *Chef’s Kiss*
For anyone searching for the full Roastery adventure, experiential tours are available every weekday for booking. Go on a cup-of-joe journey from farm to cup that showcases the roasting process and learn about brewing and beverage craft from one of the onsite coffee connoisseurs. One of the stars of the show? The Roastery itself, where you’ll receive an in-depth look at the unique and magnificent architectural design of the four-floor coffeehouse.
An extension to the tour – and personally one of our favorite experiences – is the coffee tasting. We did the Coffee Master Tasting + Duo Cioccolato Truffle Pairing, where we discovered how coffee flavors are delectably enhanced when paired with chocolate. Try to find a better combination than coffee and chocolate – we’ll wait.
The only thing cooler than tasting Nitrogen Gelato is seeing it made right in front of your eyes. Sweet cream transforms into silky-smooth gelato through an infusion of liquid nitrogen, generating clouds of puffy, white vapor with each hand-crafted batch. Each flavor is created to pair perfectly with Starbucks Reserve coffees. Pro-Tip: Order it as an Affogato, an Italian dessert of vanilla ice cream over which espresso has been poured. Think of it as a root beer float, nix the root beer and sub with delicate smooth espresso. Miracles do exist.
Step up to the Arriviamo Bar with coffee and tea cocktail creations designed in partnership with Chicago-based mixologists. Our obvious favorite: The Espresso Martini. What better spot to order an EM than a place known for producing world class coffee? Made with Starbucks Reserve® Espresso, Kalak Single Malt Vodka, Barrel-Aged Vanilla Syrup, and Dark Chocolate, deep dive into a martini glass of perfection with every sip. They also have an espresso martini flight tasting option, including Orange Cacao, Mole Spice, Cherry Limone. The only thing better than one espresso martini? Three.
Fully immerse yourself in the art, science and theatre of coffee at the Experiential Coffee Bar, situated on the third floor. It features elevated brew methods and pairings, as well as specialty Roastery creations and brew comparison flights. It’s an engaging moment for those looking to deepen their coffee knowledge. We recommend grabbing some espresso energy before the learning sesh!
While our corner Starbucks shop might be perfect for grab-and-go grub, the Roastery is an ideal spot for breakfast, lunch, dinner – and everything in between. Princi Bakery & Café is located on the 2nd floor and is very different than your standard Starbucks cafe. This authentic Italian bakery features fresh food made daily such as salads, pastries, paninis, pizza, pastas and more.
With custom coffee made on-site, customers can pick up a bag of hand-scooped Starbucks Reserve coffee to take home. Coffee Masters will help guide as you choose a specially packaged Starbucks Reserve™ coffee to bring to your favorite mug at home each morning.
Where: 646 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
When: 7AM - 9PM
Pro-Tip: Discounted Parking Available at InterPark: 50 East Ohio St (4 hours for $13 with validated ticket
For More Information And To Book Tours