Can you name three Starbucks stores that have a manual machine in use today? This is a test! ;-) Just to be clear, I'm referring to three stores within the United States. I realize that there are a few in the international markets too. The three stores that I am thinking of are all in Seattle. It could be that there are other stores that have a manual espresso machine, however I don't know of them. Please let me know if you are aware of any Starbucks in the United States (other than the three mentioned here) that use a manual espresso machine!
Store #1 - 1912 Pike Place.
The Pike Place Market store is an easy one to guess. That store uses a La Marzocco espresso machine. That was the machine in use in every single Starbucks when the company was very small during the 1990s. Sometime in the early 2000s, Starbucks pulled all those La Marzoocco machines out, and replaced them automatic espresso machines. I highly recommend a trip to visit this store. The partners are friendly. The store manager is great. And they have lots of unique merchandise.
Store #2 - 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea Starbucks
This store opened up as just "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea" in July 2009, and later was rebranded as just a "Starbucks" in January 2011. When it opened as "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea," it was considered an experimental store, and so got a manual espresso machine. It briefly had a La Marzocco, and then Starbucks pulled that machine out and replaced it with a Nuova Simonelli espresso machine. Both are manual espresso machines. To be honest, I don't know a lot about the Nuova Simonelli, but I've repeatedly heard that it is a little easier to use than a La Marzocco - a little easier to control the quality of the shots.
This store is also a must-visit location. It's totally unique. The store design does not look anything like a Starbucks, and still to this day, offers some food items not available at other Starbucks-branded stores. I highly recommend a visit to 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea.
Store #3 - The Wedgwood neighborhood Starbucks.
I nearly forgot that this store had a manual machine. I knew they had one, and then Starbucks pulled it out, and then I had heard they got it back again. This store is up in north Seattle, and definitely out of my neck of the woods. I walked in yesterday, having not been there in a full year, and wanted to check out the manual machine. This store uses a Nuova Simonelli espresso machine.
I ordered a double tall non-fat latte in a for-here cup. It was delicious. I've started ordering non-fat drinks lately (for health reasons) though I really like the taste of fatty milk! I hate to admit that. But in any case, my latte was delicious. I took just a few photos yesterday with my phone. The partners were friendly, and I didn't have to wait very long for my drink. It seemed like it took no more than just a couple minutes, but I wasn't keeping track at all. I wasn't in a rush. It's a lazy Seattle weekend for me. Here's the espresso machine at the Wedgwood store (7303 - 35th Avenue NE, Seattle):
So how did you do? Were you able to name all three Starbucks?
You can ignore this side banter if you like:
Before I had a blog about Starbucks, I thought I knew a lot about them. The longer I have a blog, and the more I learn about them, I sometimes feel like the expression, "the more you know, the less you know," is fitting. I don't really know the "why" behind why three stores have a manual machine - especially the Wedgwood store. (I can make some educated guesses though.)
But here's what I do know: Starbucks please do NOT ever change this. These three stores are great, and the Nuova Simonelli is a beautiful espresso machine. I know that the partners who use it cherish it.
Hope you enjoyed this quick little blog post!