Did you know the first Starbucks store in Canada opened at the Waterfront Skytrain Station in 1987? Starbucks is celebrating 30 years in Vancouver by opening the doors to its renovated Mount Pleasant location – its first Western Canada store to feature an experiential Reserve coffee bar. We were given a sneak peek before the official opening.
This elevated coffee experience encourages customers to immerse themselves in various brewing methods, and witness the expert craftsmanship that goes into each cup of coffee.
With seating surrounding the experience bar, customers have a front row view to the theatrics of these up-level brewing methods, including Siphon and Clover brewing techniques, and the smooth pour of Starbucks new Nitro Draft. Seriously, so much fun watching them.
This location was designed to be a favourite destination for this vibrant neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant. Brick walls and concrete floors contrasted with golden blonde oak and walnut, warm the space creating a comfortable and conversational atmosphere.
The space showcases sketches and photography of the flagship Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, as well as artwork by local artist – Diane Nelson of Brandon Johnson Art & Design. The woodwork was all hand crafted by a local millworker and the loose furniture was primarily produced by a local furniture shop, celebrating local Vancouver talent and connecting with the community.
Siphon brewing method brings out the intense flavours of the coffee. This uses halogen lights or butane flames to produce heat for boiling water and the movement of coffee through chambers. Vapor pressure pushes water upward to brew coffee in the top glass globe, then filtered coffee cascades back down into a glass carafe. This process makes a rewarding cup for those who enjoy well-defined flavours dominating the coffee.
We tried the Rwanda Abakundakawa and the Malawi Sable Farms with the Siphon brewing and it really brought out the flavour of both coffees.
Pour over coffee with Chemex
For a rich-bodied and flavourful cup of brewed coffee, you can use the Chemex method. This combines elegance and function using a pour over method with a glass decanter. Ground coffee is immersed in hot water for all or most of the brew, and then filtered at the end. The Chemex amplifies the coffee’s body but produces the cleanest cup with complex flavors, meaning, no single characteristic will dominate and will eventually wash away clean.
Starbucks Reserve Beverages
You can find some unique items here outside of the regular menu and the reserve coffee. They can make Iced Hazelnut Bianco Latte, Iced Dark Chocolate Mocha and a House Affogato. This location really has it all if you really want to be immersed in the Starbucks experience.
Nitro Cold Brew
Nitro Cold Brew is Starbucks’ take on its signature Cold Brew, infused with nitrogen for a smooth, creamy texture. It is cold right out of the tap so it is served without ice and is unsweetened to highlight the flavour the cold brewing process brings out in the coffee.
I’ve had this before and it’s really good but a grande really gives me the jitters afterwards.
One large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a shot of espresso is freaking delicious.
If you’re ever looking for something to cool you down in the Summer, this is it.
The reserve bar area is only half the experience, the other half has all their regular items too. Lattes, black coffee, cappuccinos, frappuccinos…it’s all still here.
Adding to the elevated experience, all partners are Coffee Masters or currently working on their designation. This designation is the highest level of coffee education for Starbucks where baristas have perfected their craft through coursework and exploration of all Starbucks coffees and are awarded the honour of wearing the black apron. I loved the experience here because it’s like coffee lovers meeting other coffee lovers.
It’s more than just a cup of coffee as you really get immersed in the Starbucks experience. I left learning a lot more about coffee. Seriously, there are so many ways of brewing coffee. If you’re looking for a unique Starbucks to hang out at and you have some time, definitely come here.
2980 Main Street, Vancouver