Inside Toronto’s first Reserve Bar, Starbucks’ new 3,200-square-foot shrine to coffee

Inside Toronto’s first Reserve Bar, Starbucks’ new 3,200-square-foot shrine to coffee

Every day, tens of thousands of Torontonians visit a Starbucks for a quick caffeine fix, but the coffee giant has just brought a whole new experience to Toronto. Starbucks’ Reserve Bar, a 3,200-square-foot store located in the Shops at Don Mills, is only the second of its kind in the province. The massive addition serves the core coffee and espresso-based drinks found at every other Starbucks branch in the city, but also offers seven Reserve Bar–only beverages that use the brand’s small-lot coffees, and various coffee “experiences” led by company’s trained “coffee masters” (they’re the ones in the black aprons). Here’s a look at the city’s newest (and biggest) ’bucks.

Senior designer Erich Mele was inspired by the company’s flagship roastery in Seattle. The wrap-around bar is made of Canadian walnut:


 

At the Reserve Bar, coffee is prepared using Chemex or Modbar equipment for pour-overs, and the Clover for high-tech immersion brewed coffee:


 

Coffee tastings, demos and workshops are led by black apron–clad coffee masters, who have been trained via coursework and practical “exploration” (in other words, experience). Here are three of them now:


 

Coffee master Cailum Campbell prepares the Chemex, a slower, triple-filtered pour-over brew. The result is a more delicate, tea-like cup of coffee. A 24-ounce pot of Chemex brewed Reserve coffee starts at $7.50:


 

Coffee masters guide the Brew Comparison Flight which features one Reserve coffee brewed using a pour-over method and one made using the Clover. It’s $8 for two 12-ounce cups:


 

The laboratory-like Modbar is a slightly quicker, single-filter pour-over method that can make hot or iced coffee by the cup. This set-up is also a first for Starbucks in Canada:


 

The Modbar produces a cup of coffee that lets the notes of the brewed Reserve coffee shine. $2.90 for 12 ounces:


 

For consistent single-cup brews, the high-tech Clover uses vacuum-press technology. $2.40 for eight ounces:


 

Any shots used in espresso-based beverages from the Reserve Bar are pulled from a top-of-the-line Black Eagle espresso machine (the one used in the World Barista Championships):


 

All espresso-based beverages pulled from the Black Eagle are topped with latte art and use Reserve small-lot coffee:


 

Currently, Microblend No. 21 is on tap:


 

Nitro cold brew is available on tap. It’s $5 for 16 ounces:


 

There’s something called Nitro Chai, too:


 

It’s the brand’s nitro cold brew poured through chai cream foam. It’s $6 for 12 ounces:


 

The affogato features two shots of small-lot espresso poured over vanilla gelato. It’s $6 for the Classic or $6.50 for an added drizzle of demerara syrup and a cinnamon dusting:


 

Starbucks paraphernalia include Reserve Bar-only products like this branded glassware:


 

Serving trays:


 

To-go cups:


 

And coffee gear:


 

The Coffee Passport is designed to help connoisseurs organize their collection of small-lot coffee description cards (attached to each bag of Reserve small-lot coffee beans) and jot down any notes:


 

The selection of Starbucks Reserve coffees will change depending on harvest schedules, but currently features Guatemala Santa Isabel, sun-dried Ethiopia Kayon Mountain Farm and Panama Carmen Estate:


 

Even the to-go cups are branded differently here:


 

The Starbucks Reserve Bar is on the northwest side of The Shops at Don Mills at Pabst Lane:

1090 Don Mills Rd., 416-331-9861, starbucksreserve.com, @starbucksreserve