Any Starbucks Coffee afficionado will have Seattle on their bucket list of cities to visit.
The iconic, international coffee chain got its start in 1971 at the Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operated farmers’ markets in the United States. That first store, now unofficially dubbed The Original Starbucks still maintains it’s vintage appearance thanks to design guidelines that governs all architecture at the marketplace.
The seventies retro looks makes it appealing to more than just coffee lovers, and the location at the downtown Elliot Bay waterfront area means that there’s (almost) always a long line of people waiting to get inside.
Few visitors to Seattle know that the Full Starbucks Experience in this city goes beyond just visiting this one iconic store.
Here are out insider tips on experiencing three of the most iconic Starbucks locations in the world as well as understanding the past, present and future of coffee culture in the United States.
Get to The Original Starbucks Store as early as possible!
Almost everyone visiting Seattle knows about this store and everyone feels to need to order a Venti Latte Macchiato like its 1989.
Getting here as soon as possible is the safest way to avoid a ridiculously long line on a narrow strip of curb.
Have a quick look at the Original Starbucks Store as well as the organized chaos that is the Pike Place Market and then move on.
Don’t buy any coffee just yet though, the 1st and Pike location is small and there’s not much seating. Snap a few pictures and then pick up a souvenir mug that features the famous Starbucks siren as she appeared on the original logo.
The siren is actually based on a 15th century engraving, and the name “Starbucks” came from the name of a character in Moby-Dick.
Head over to Starbucks on 2nd and Lenora
Just a short block away from the Original Starbucks on 1st and Pike; there’s another Starbucks outlet that’s also decorated in the traditional dark brown instead of the trademark green.
The iconic “Pikes Place Blend” coffee beans are also ground and served here along with the regular “House Blend”.
Unlike the Original Starbucks Store, you could actually buy a cup of coffee and sit down for a while since there’s adequate seating.
The solid wood tables are the perfect place to spread a map of Seattle and fine-tune your plans for the day.
Visit Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
If the original store at Pike Place represents the past, this special store represents the future of Starbucks Coffee.
This shrine to coffee is the first of many stores that have been opened across the globe.
Starbucks has introduced millions of people across the globe to a higher quality of coffee drinks and espresso creations.
Starbucks Reserve aims to keep the brand upscale and help the brand dominate the third wave coffee trend that it helped kick off.
Each Starbucks Reserve blend is sourced from small batch farms across the globe, the unique conditions of each growing area, from the soil to the weather affects the flavor of the beans.
Master roasters then unlock the inherent flavor and characteristics from these beans onsite. They experiment until the perfect roast is found.
The air is alive with coffee and the rich aroma of roasting and brewing.
Beans take center-stage in these bespoke beverages and many beans are only available for a limited amount of time.
There are multiple options for getting your coffee brewed including, Pour-over, Coffee-press, and Espresso.
Flavored syrup takes a backseat to the inherent flavor profile of each bean.
Blends include Brazil Santa Ines, an award winning coffee that introduces to the palette flavors of plantain, milk chocolate, and pralines.
Others include Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Chelelektu, an elegant and floral coffee with a light citric acidity and notes of bergamot spice.
Enjoying a cup of coffee here is quite an experience.
Although Seoul, New York City, Shanghai, and London may have much more Starbucks locations that Seattle, none of these other cities can boast of anything close to these three iconic Starbucks locations.
These three Starbucks outlets in Seattle don’t just serve up coffee, they offer the Ultimate Starbucks Experience in the world, they offer a glimpse into the history and future of one of the most well-known brands across the world.
There’s obviously more to Seattle than just these three unique and iconic Starbucks locations, check out my guide on How to spend Three days in Seattle for more ideas of things to do that includes some cool local landmarks and cuisine.