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Top 10 things to know about Starbucks Roastery in Chicago

See some of the highlights of the world’s largest Starbucks, a five-story ode to coffee, craft, and the city of Chicago.

Each Starbucks Reserve Roastery honours coffee and craftsmanship while also providing an immersive experience inspired by some of the world’s most famous locations.

They are both a workshop and a stage, providing a three-dimensional view of the coffee journey.

The company’s sixth roastery, the Chicago Roastery, is its largest ever, at 35,000 square feet. It’s a five-story ode to the city’s art, architecture, and culture, as well as the city’s indelible stamp on Starbucks.

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For Chicago, coffee is roasted in Chicago

Starbucks Chicago Roastery 1
Google Maps/Ken Beckett

As soon as you walk through the front doors on Michigan Ave., you’re overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and scents of coffee.

Burlap sacks of green (unroasted) Starbucks Reserve beans are roasted here before being piped to coffee outlets on each level, where they are made into drinks. Starbucks Reserve coffees from around the world will be roasted in limited batch batches at the Chicago Roastery.

All coffee roasted in Chicago will only be served (and scooped) at this location, which is unique to this Roastery. On the first floor, customers can purchase a bag of hand-scooped Starbucks Reserve coffee at the Scooping Bar.

Towering Steel Cask

Starbucks Chicago Roastery 2
Alejandro Ortega/Google Maps

A 56-foot steel cask (the company’s tallest) stands as the roastery’s focal point, a sculptural blend of form and function where coffee beans rest and de-gas after roasting.

The pierced shell of the bronze-colored cask displays roasted beans travelling through tubes in all directions and then accumulating like grains of sand in an hourglass throughout the day.

A dazzling view towards the sky

Starbucks Chicago Roastery 3
Kevin Liang/Google Maps

The visitors’ gaze is drawn higher by the light, circulation, artwork, and experience. Look up to the domed ceiling high above as each climbing story swirls and unfolds like a seashell from the foot of the cask.

The ceiling’s design is inspired by misty green hills of coffee trees with sun rays radiating outward, and it praises coffee as an agricultural product.

The first curved escalator in the Midwest

Daniel Visinaiz/Google Maps

A curved escalator encircles the barrel and takes guests from the first to the second story, giving them a 360-degree view of the roasting, brewing, and scooping below.

Views of the Magnificent Mile can be had through the curved glass windows.

Italian bakery

Steve P/Google Maps

This high-tech custom conveyer was specifically intended to transfer freshly cooked focaccia, cornetti, and breads in style from the Princi bakery on the second story.

Coffee Clouds

The third-floor Experiential Coffee Bar uses liquid nitrogen to turn sweet cream into silky-smooth gelato, resulting in clouds of fluffy, white vapour with each hand-crafted batch. Designed to complement Starbucks Reserve coffees.

Roastery inspired gifts

Gifts inspired by the Roastery are available to commemorate your visit.

A Michigan Avenue series of drinkware inspired by the city’s architecture, a Chicago Starbucks Reserve local collection honouring the namesake city, and a selection of goods with bright graphics developed by Chicago-based visual artist Mac Blackout are among the highlights of the merchandise.

Murals from local artists

Local artists have created stunning murals around the Roastery, including a revolutionary piece by Chicago artist Eulojio Ortega that spans all five stories.

His art provides a fascinating look into the world of coffee, honouring the hardworking farmers and coffee-growing regions that make it all possible.

Traditional craft of barrel ageing

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It’s only natural that the building that housed Crate & Barrel’s main location for nearly two decades had room for actual barrels.

On the fourth floor of the Roastery, there’s a coffee bar dedicated to the centuries-old art of barrel-aging, complete with a Starbucks menu of spirit-free coffee drinks such Whiskey Barrel Aged Cold Brew and Mulled Spiced Coffee.

Sip a Smoked Cold-Fashioned, which has been smoked to order and has a scent that evokes the flavours absorbed into the coffee from the barrel.

Cocktails by local mixologists

Smitha Mahesh/Google Maps

On the fourth floor, the Arriviamo Bar (arriviamo means “we have arrived” in Italian) serves up creative (and attractive) coffee and tea cocktails.

From a menu created in partnership with Chicago-based mixologists Julia Momose, Annie Beebe-Tron, and Rachel Miller, enjoy locally inspired drinks like the Pour-Over Bijou and the Roastery Boilermaker.