An immersive coffee experience at Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Seattle, WA is the birthplace of Starbucks. My love affair with this coffee brand is well-known among my nears-and-dears (and well-documented on this blog, too!)

Well, on my second visit to the Evergreen State, this time with my family in tow, I made sure to drop by the mecca for coffee lovers right here in Seattle: the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

Located just nine blocks from Starbucks’ original store near the Pike Place Market, it is one of the largest Starbucks outlets in the world, occupying 15,000 square feet of space, all dedicated to the company’s pursuit of coffee innovations.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Here, visitors can look forward to a unique and immersive combination of coffee experiences, such as witnessing the on-site brewing of rare Starbucks Reserve coffees, tasting an ever-evolving beverage menu, watching, tasting and learning eight distinct coffee preparation methods, perusing an expansive library of coffee-related tomes, and chatting with a staff of Certified Starbucks Coffee Masters who simply love talking about their craft.

The experience starts in the Main Bar where you can order your cup of choice or allow the Coffee Masters to recommend a perfect handcrafted drink for you, made with the store’s freshly roasted, rare coffee beans.

Here, the kids and I enjoyed 12oz glasses of Cold Brew Malt, a treat from my bro. This drink is a thick malted milkshake made with Starbucks’ cold brew coffee spindle-blended with Mora’s vanilla ice cream and chocolate bitters.

Bro-in-law, on the other hand, a Matcha Teavana Tea Latte, one of the store’s non-coffee drinks.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Next, at the Scooping Bar, a Coffee Master can advise you on which Starbucks Reserve coffee best suits your taste and you can take home a freshly scooped bag.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

At the Handpicked at the Roastery, your inner Starbucks fan can truly come out and play. With a plethora of carefully curated merchandise from Starbucks’ artisan partners, from coffee-brewing equipment from all over the world, coffeeware ranging from quaint-kitschy to posh and wearables that proudly announce your love for coffee, you can take a piece of Starbucks home with you.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

At the Mixology Bar, get a shot or two of signature cocktails and spirit-free drinks inspired by Starbucks Reserve coffee and Teavana teas. I’ll probably return here – sans the little one – for a more spirited coffee experience.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks partnered with Rocco Princi to bring a taste of the Spirito di Milano to its customers. At Princi, you can treat yourself to artisan breads, freshly baked pastries and pizzas, as well as delectable desserts which are best enjoyed with your cup of Starbucks Reserve coffee.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Want to get lost in your own coffee story? Head on to the Experience Bar where you can go on themed coffee tasting flights, guided tours by Starbucks’ Coffee Masters where exploratory brew methods and immersive storytelling will only deepen your love for your favorite brews.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

For a bookworm like me, the Coffee Library is a destination in itself. Climb up the steps so you can pore over 200-plus books dedicated to coffee. It also offers a great view of the entire roasting operation.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle

A trip to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery is always a worthwhile activity for coffee lovers who find themselves in Seattle. I plan to return before my trip ends to have a more leisurely journey across the bars and stations.

This Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located at 1124 Pike Street, Seattle, WA, 98101, open daily from 7am to 11pm. For more details, call (206)624-0173 or visit www.starbucksreserve.com.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my previous posts on Starbucks:

Check out the other restos I’ve tried in the Washington state area:

A calesa tour of San Fernando, Pampanga’s historical attractions

San Fernando, Pampanga was founded in 1754, carved out of neighboring towns Mexico and Bacolor during the reign of King Fernando III of Castile and Leon. Since then, the city has been both a witness and setting for many of the region’s significant historical events.

In a recent trip to the city sponsored by its tourism office, I was able to get a peek into San Fernando’s past together with fellow bloggers through – of all things – a calesa ride!

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

There’s something about the feeling the balmy morning hangin amihan on my skin and hearing the clip-clop of hooves against the pavement as we circled around San Fernando’s Heritage District in an old-timey horse-drawn carriage. The calesa drivers are friendly and have been trained by the city’s tourism office to serve as tour guides.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

Our tour started at the Heroes Hall, which showcases the statues of eight local and national heroes, including those of Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Jose Rizal, Don Tiburcio Hilario, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos and of Nicolasa Dayrit-Panlilio who, in March 1899, led a group of Kapampangan women to prevent a violent altercation between Generals Antonio Luna and Tomas Mascardo. (Yey for girl power!)

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

The hall, which used to be the municipal office, now functions as a government office and conference hall.

The park in front of the hall is decorated with life-size lanterns depicting people celebrating a Kapampangan holiday. The pieces were provided by the award-winning RolRen’s Lanterns which also supplies the parols used during the Metro Manila Filmfest and in the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

In the Heritage District, we passed by the houses of some of Pampanga’s notable historical denizens such as the Lazatin Residence, the Tabacalera House, the Hizon-Singian House and more. I would have loved to spend more time gossiping about the descendants of the historical figures who lived there but, alas, our time was limited.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

We also passed by the San Fernando Metropolitan Cathedral, a stone church founded by the Augustinians in the late 18th century. It was burned, along with its convent, by the Philippine Revolutionary Army on the order of General Antonio Luna in 1899 buy was restored by Kapampangan architect Fernando Hizon Ocampo in 1948.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

Other historically notable structures we passed by include the City Hall Building built in 1917, the Pampanga Capitol Building which is currently the seat of the provincial government and the Presidio or the Pampanga Provincial Jail which was originally designed in 1907 as the Court of First Instance.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampnga Calesa Tour

The final stop of our calesa tour is the ruins of the San Fernando Train Station. Opened in 1892 as part of the Bagbag-Mabalacat stretch of the Manila-Dagupan Railway System, it marked the start of the region’s economic growth due to massive growth in the Pampanga’s sugar industry.

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

In mid-1892, national hero Dr. Jose Rizal made a stopover in San Fernando to recruit members for the La Liga Filipina. Ironically, the train station was designed by Engineer Charles Henry Kipping who ended up marrying Jose Rizal’s childhood love, Leonor Rivera. His visit is commemorated by a statue of the national hero seated on a bench seemingly awaiting his friends or the Kapampangan woman he was rumored to be courting at the time, Rosario Joven.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

In 1941, the Japanese Army bombed an ammunition train said to be parked in front of the station, causing significant fire damage to some portions of the building, which are still evident from the black stains on the structure’s walls.

San Fernando Calesa Tour

In 1942, train station served as the last stop of the Bataan Death March, wherein thousands of tired, hungry and ill Filipino and American POWs, after walking 102 kilometers from Bataan, were stuffed like sardines into box carts and transported to Capas, Tarlac. The horrendous event is commemorated by a diorama of life-size statues depicting soldiers consoling fellow prisoners and gearing up for more hardships that they are to face.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

The calesa tour is a memorable way to take a step into the past, revisit some of the events and areas of interest in the city’s history and appreciate how far we’ve come since then.

For inquiries on the calesa tour, call the San Fernando City Tourism Office at +63 045 9615684 or email ctipo.csfp@gmail.com.

  • Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I participated in a tour and food crawl sponsored by the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga. The experiences provided and food served were not paid for by the attendees including myself.
  • San Fernando, Pampanga keeps the tradition of handcrafting Christmas lanterns alive

    San Fernando, the provincial capitol of Pampanga, is a bustling city that houses the provincial presence of some of the country’s largest retail outlets, financial firms, restaurant chains, manufacturing companies and more. The city also plans to further expand the modernization of its infrastructure and services.

    Despite its drive towards modernization, the city also stays true to its roots as the home of Christmas Lanterns, as manifested by its support to its handcrafted parol industry. San Fernando Pampanga’s parol makers are known for their grandiose creations: colorful and ornately patterned lanterns which light up and blink in cheery rhythms. Largely because of this, San Fernando, Pampanga has been hailed by CNN as “Asia’s Christmas capital.”

    The Kapampangan tradition of handcrafting lanterns can be dated back to the 16th century when the Augustinian friars started the practice of holding processions honoring the town’s patron saints leading to the cathedral. This practice coincides with the Misa de Gallo, or dawn masses held for nine days leading to Christmas. The processions would later evolve and become locally known as Lubenas.

    During these processions, the candles held by the devout would sometimes get blown out by the hanging amihan (cool northeast wind). The enterprising Kapampangans took to covering their candles to protect the flames from the breeze, thus making them lanterns. And since Kapampangans are also characterized by their appreciation for beauty, joy, grandiosity and pomp, the lanterns grew in size and complexity of design as the years went by. They evolved from being made of simple bamboo and other indigenous materials to incorporating dancing lights as well as the use of colored plastics and fiberglass in the design.

    This interesting origin story of the parol was retold by Rolando Quiambao, the lantern maker/designer behind RolRen’s Lanterns and General Merchandise. The parols of this home-grown business have enjoyed not only national, but also worldwide acclaim. If you chanced upon the bombastic parols used during the Metro Manila Filmfest or those gracing the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), chances are, these were supplied by RolRen’s.

    RonRel’s also produces lanterns for Saipan, Korea, Guam, Taiwan, Palau and more. While its products geared towards the international market retain the Kapampangan parol at their core, the execution of these lanterns reflect the culture of the country they are going to. Palau-bound lanterns, for instance, depict the nipa huts and boats used in local culture.

    Recently, RolRen’s supplied San Fernando’s Heroes Hall with colorful life-size depictions of the Paskong Kapampangan (Christmas in Pampanga).

    RonRel’s has also incorporated innovations in parol into its parol design. Its designers worked with computer programmers to facilitate choreographed blinking of the parol’s various lights via rotors, for example. Previously, these lights were manipulated using on/off switches.

    Mr. Quiambao shares other interesting snippets of trivia as well. Did you know that what sets the Kapampangan parol apart from other Christmas lanterns are its component parts which are steeped in tradition? These are:

    • The middle portion called the tambol (base drum) so named because its round shape resembles that of the drum
    • The star-shaped portion after the tambol is the pito-siko, named after the way the star’s corners resemble bent elbows
    • Surrounding the star is the palimbon from the Kapampangan word for procession that circles the town on the way to the cathedral
    • The outer layer is called the ponteta, from the Kapampangan word punta, which refers to it being the final component of the parol.

    The artisans of RolRen’s don’t have a monopoly of Kapampangan parol-enthusiasm either.

    With the approach of the holiday season, amateur lantern makers from various barangays in the city are gearing up for this year’s Giant Lantern Festival. Already on its 110th year, the festival displays the artistry and passion the Kapampangans have for their parols as representatives from participating barangays contruct lanterns up to 20 feet tall to compete with those from other barangays.

    Barangay San Jose, in particular, is represented by the Ambrosio family, the only team that has a female lantern-maker, Mary Anne Torres. (The lantern makers of the other contest entries this year are all male.)

    This year’s entry from San Jose will reach up to 19.8 feet and will requires 10,000 lightbulbs.

    Barangay San Jose’s last win in the Giant Lantern Festival was in 1991. Their winning piece was later displayed during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

    The Giant Lantern Festival Competition will be held at the Robinsons Starmills on December 15, 6pm at the Robinsons Starmills. Participating barangays include Calulut, Del Carmen, Del Pilar, San Jose, San Juan, San Nicolas, San Pedro, Sindalan, Sta. Lucia, Sto. Nino and Telabastagan.

    Want to take part in this fun and light-filled event as well as check out the local delights that San Fernando, Pampanga has to offer? Check out these packages centered around the competition night from tour operators accredited by the city government:

    M.A.G. Travel & Tours

    • Tour Highlights: Giant Lantern Grand Competition Night, visit and learn how to make giant lanterns, Kapampangan cookery and food crawl, learning indigenous ways of preparing and cooking meals, a visit to the Sunken Church of San Guillermo Parish, a visit to the San Fernando Train Station
    • Rate (with overnight stay ay Imerex Hotel): Php5,650 (single)/Php4,280 (twin)
    • Contact Details: +63 2 3598699; +63 045 4995139; +63 917 6311459; +63 920 1172333; and +63 923 4258888

    Don’t Skip Manila

    • Tour Highlights: Early Buffet Dinner of heirloom Kapampangan recipes; lantern-making workshop and factory tour; Giant Lantern Festival Show
    • Rate: Php2,000 pax
    • Contact Details: dontskipmanila@gmail.com

    CultureShockPH

    • Tour Highlights: Early Buffet Dinner of heirloom Kapampangan recipes; lantern-making workshop and factory tour; Giant Lantern Festival Show
    • Rates: Php3,000 (discounts will apply for multi-person booking, students and children age 12 and below)
    • Contact Details: +63 917 7146737 (Osep Reyes)
  • LQM Travel
    • Package Inclusions: round trip transportation (pick up from Clark or Angeles); entrance to Clark Museum and VIP Seat at the Giant Lantern Exhibition; Lunch and Dinner; Souvenir T-Shirt and Licensed Tour Guide
      Rate: Php3,000 (discounts will apply for multi-person booking)
      Contact Details: +63 045 3311036; +63 045 3311356; +63 906 0660521; or +63 919 8744984
  • Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I participated in a tout and food crawl sponsored by the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga. The experiences and food served were not paid for by the attendees including myself.