Skip to main content
Coffee Types

What Is the Difference between Starbucks and Reserves?

If you love the richness of freshly roasted Arabica coffee, then you likely appreciate Starbucks coffee. Howard Schultz, a former Starbucks CEO, redefined the American coffee drinking culture after studying the Italian coffee culture. Today, Starbucks is a brand recognized throughout the world. But have you ever heard about Starbucks Reserve? What is the difference between Starbucks and Reserves? Keep reading to find out.

Starbucks vs Reserve

An Overview of Starbucks

The first-ever Starbucks store was opened in Seattle in 1971. It started by offering freshly roasted coffee beans, spices, and tea. Today, Starbucks has grown to at least 32,000 stores across the world. The company’s success is mainly attributed to its unique coffee offerings and how customers are involved in their coffee making process.

Starbucks prepares its numerous coffee drinks using a secret menu. Despite its coffee being highly-priced, the coffee chain continues to retain loyal customers. Customers are always charmed by its services, especially with how the coffee chain keeps adjusting its coffee menu to meet the needs of customers.


An Overview of Starbucks Reserve

Starbucks launched Starbucks reserve in 2010 with the aim of competing in the premium coffee market. Initially, the Starbucks reserve program was conducted via online sales. Later on, retail stores opened up in select locations.

There are six Starbucks reserve roasteries in operation. The main Starbucks reserve store is situated in Seattle. Others are based in New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Milan, and Shanghai. The reserve stores stand out for their unique coffee beans.

Although the Starbucks reserve roasteries are not as renowned as regular Starbucks stores, they attract a fair number of the company’s loyal customers. Most of the customers are ruled into the reserve stores by their unique ambiance and cocktails.


What is the Difference between Starbucks and Reserves?

Starbucks offers regular Starbucks coffee. The beans used in making Starbucks coffee are primarily Arabica beans. The beans are sourced from all over the world. However, only Arabica beans grown at elevations between 3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level are considered. Within these elevations, the beans get sufficient time to mature, thereby gaining complex and refined flavors.

On the other hand, Starbucks reserve uses single-origin and rare coffee beans. The beans are bought from relatively unknown sources like ancient estate plantations or family-run coffee farms. Consequently, Starbucks reserve coffee beans are only available in limited amounts. Also, the beans are available for a short period. Thus, Starbucks reserve coffee is more expensive than regular Starbucks coffee.

The Starbucks reserve program works closely with coffee cooperatives and farmers to improve their growing methods and create coffee beans that are unique to each coffee farm. The reserve beans undergo rigorous harvesting, processing, and roasting.

While you may not witness how Starbucks coffee is brewed, Starbucks Reserve Roasteries take you through the entire coffee brewing process. When you visit a Starbucks reserve store, you will witness on-site coffee roasting and breweries. Thus, you will feel like you are part of the entire process.

Overall, although regular Starbucks coffee is unique, Starbucks reserve coffee gives you a more personalized and specialized coffee drinking experience. That is why Starbucks reserve coffee comes at a premium price.