I LOVE Starbucks Reserve Bars, so I was super excited for there to be one in Vancouver. My first visit to one was in San Jose. I took a friend there because he had never had nitro cold brew before, and we also treated ourselves to the siphon bar experience. We were vibrating after all that coffee, but a Starbucks Reserve Bar is a super fun experience for anyone who is a coffee fan and enjoys an immersive interaction and experience.
(This post is going to be part of a “What to do with 3 days in Vancouver” blog post, which I’m currently writing, so I’ll update this with a link when it’s live)
The Starbucks Reserve Bar is located on Granville and West Pender in downtown Vancouver. It’s essentially connected to Pacific Center, the huge shopping complex in downtown. The Reserve Bar is huge and it’s an awesome place to visit if you’ve never been before, or a great place to meet for coffee to change up the scenery.
There’s a beautiful entrance area with a feature menu, and you head towards the back to make your drink order. Of course you can order your regular beverage, but I would recommend ordering something like a pour over, a siphon coffee, or nitro brew – because you can’t get these types of drinks at any regular Starbucks. The Reserve Bar still functions like a regular Starbucks, they take your name and call it out when your drink is ready. My friend and I only had a very short time to catch up, so we decided on nitro cold brews with sweet cream.
The best experience is actually ordering a siphon coffee, because you get to sit down at the bar with a barista to watch your coffee being made in the siphon! It’s looks like this scientific experiment, and the coffee is insanely delicious. I am pretty caffeine resistant, but I found that drinking siphon coffee had a rocket fuel effect on me. Definitely have it earlier in the day, if you have trouble falling asleep at night due to caffeine.
With siphon coffee, they fill the bottom bulb with water, and a heater is turned on below it. The water boils and heads up into the upper chamber, the cup looking piece of glass. Then they pull it off the heater, and the coffee gets pulled back down into the bulb. I’m going to look to see if I can find old pictures and videos so you can tell what I’m talking about.
For pour overs, (which are commonly ceramic or metal devices), it’s kind of like the cup that holds the grinds in a traditional coffee maker. You put a filter into the holder, and then the beans into the filter, and then you pour hot water over it. The coffee comes out of a little hole at the bottom of the pour over, and drips into your cup!
Nitro cold brews is cold brew coffee that is dispensed like a beer from a tap that infuses nitrogen. Hence “nitro” cold brew. Why on earth would you want to drink nitrogen infused coffee?! It makes the cold brew super creamy and delicious. It has amazing mouth feel and super velvety on the tongue. Since it’s just cold brew coffee, it’s also super low in calories, like it’s 5 calories… unless you get it with sweet cream. But even then with sweet cream, it’s not many more calories as a tall is only 70 calories. It’s phenomenal.
If you are having cold brew for the first time, I highly recommend getting it black… even if you don’t drink black coffee. Because that way you get to experience the true taste of the cold brew, then you can add additional fixings like cream and sugar if you wish. I always love having my coffees with soy or “oat mylk”, but I do love a black cold brew. It’s not super acidic or bitter, as sometimes you might associate with plain black coffee. Also, it’s not JUST plain black coffee, it’s a nitro cold brew!
Considering how big it is and how many people were around, it wasn’t terribly noisy. So if you wanted to come enjoy a beautiful coffee and do some work, it’s a good place to do so. There’s tons of seating for 1-2 people, and then a few more tables towards the back for larger parties. The bathrooms are also really cool. It’s all individual rooms and then shared sinks. The sinks have the integrated heads that offer soap, water, and the dryer. Overall, it’s a super nice Reserve Bar and I love that it’s in Vancouver. It’s in a super great location, and I love the vibe. I highly recommend a visit if you haven’t already, Reserve Bars are my favourite!
What do you think of this bar concept? Are you a coffee drinker? Have you been to a Starbucks Reserve Bar? Let me know your thoughts about this post in the comments below!
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