Several years go, I had the idea for a “better” version of Starbucks. Think of a kind of Lexus version of an everyday Starbucks – still good and steady like a Toyota – but more luxurious and better designed. At the time, I was pretty happy with the coffee Starbucks Toyota was serving, and so my idea was that these Starbucks Lexus stores would be exactly like a Starbucks Toyota…just with better pastries. 🙂 I know, very innovative. I thought Starbucks could call these stores Starbucks Gold. I even emailed them at one point to share this great idea so they would have the best chance of becoming a strong international brand.
I am very sorry to report this, but a few weeks ago, I came to find out Starbucks had stolen my idea, had cleverly repackaged it as Starbucks Reserve (so as not to get sued by me), and was now serving up third wave coffee in a fancy space on La Brea in Los Angeles.
That is why I believe Starbucks should pay me a royalty fee for every cup of coffee purchased at any Starbucks Reserve location – in perpetuity. Unfortunately, since they are still not serving better pastries at these Starbucks Gold stores, and that was a key part of my proposal, I basically have no case. Pfffff. Whatever.
Obviously I am joking, but either way I had to see for myself if these Reserve stores were really all that. Last week I checked out the Los Angeles Reserve store on La Brea, and it was actually pretty damn nice. It’s sleek and contemporary and has Mid-century modern chairs and stools and wood counters; it looks good – real good. I would describe it like if a Design Within Reach store and a Starbucks Toyota store had a baby together.
These are the things that makes these Starbucks Reserve stores good:
Most importantly, and this is really hard for me to admit, the Starbucks special reserve coffee is actually very good… I had the Black Honey Costa Rica Las Lajas brewed with Chemex, and it was definitely several big (very big) steps up from what you would get at Starbucks Toyota. I guess Starbucks finally figured out that, if they want to be taken seriously by serious coffee people, they need to up their game.
Now if only they could get the pastries right…
359 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
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City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.