Siren Calls Coffee Fans to New Starbucks Roastery in Manhattan

Miguel Moreno
By Miguel Moreno
December 15, 2018New York

NEW YORK—A massive Starbucks Roastery opened on Dec. 14 in the meatpacking district of Manhattan—a hip neighborhood that was once one of the nation’s largest meat producers. The Roastery even comes with a few historically inspired quirks, such as transferring bean sacks with hooks onto conveyor belts, resembling a meat factory.

This is the second Starbucks Reserve to open in the United States, following Seattle’s Reserve which opened in 2014, nine blocks away from the original Starbucks coffee shop.

Coffee drinkers are bathed in a warm light during their visit and above them, a twisty copper pipe—symbolizing New York’s subway system—transfers freshly roasted beans to a uniquely designed copper cask, which they watch as they drink their freshly brewed coffee. And above those pipes, hundreds of squares and rectangles span the ceiling, giving the Roastery an artistic geometric feel.

Coffee Wonka

On his way out, we asked Mat Chavez about his experience in the new Roastery.

“Oh, it’s amazing. It’s literally the Willy Wonka of coffee. You can literally go in and have some coffee—have a martini if you want. Go downstairs and have more coffee,” he said.

But what Chavez enjoyed more than the coffee and the mixology bar was the Italian bakery, Princi, which serves fresh bread, desserts, and—of course—pizza. The bakery’s timely service and fresh ingredients left Chavez, who is an Italian food lover, satisfied.

The Roastery, which is the largest on the island of Manhattan, also gives customers the chance to speak with master baristas as they use one of seven methods to brew coffee, including: coffee press, Chemex, and the elaborate nineteenth century method of siphon brewing.

Starbucks has integrated its roastery with various coffee related activities; even the mixology bar is coffee and tea influenced. But for customers like Christina Gemerek, the coffee itself is the best part.

“There’s so much going on. It’s a visual experience … I got an espresso drink,” she said.

Mathew Pustizzi from Queens didn’t have any coffee; but like others we interviewed, he experienced the Willy Wonka quality of the Roastery: instead of giant gummy bears and chocolate rivers, people were getting buzzed on Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

Artistic Finish

As an artistic detail, a 2,000 pound copper siren—Starbucks’s signature logo—was installed in the Roastery. Made by Brooklyn artist Max Steiner in collaboration with Polich Tallix, the siren is ready to lure New York’s coffee fanatics into caffeine paradise.

When customers reach the cellar level, they may even bump into a little piece of Costa Rica. The terrarium includes coffee plants and other vegetation—all cultivated for six-months prior to the installation.

More than 1.5 million pounds of coffee will be produced from the Manhattan Roastery each year. With so much coffee, the Chelsea Market’s new neighbor is bringing a new type of buzz to the neighborhood.

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