Malaysia’s pioneer Starbucks Reserve outlet in the Gardens Mall celebrated its first anniversary by inviting journalists to one of its “coffee chat” sessions with outlet manager and coffee ambassador Ayesha Dahlan.
The cosy, intimate tasting session had Ayesha walking the guests through two Starbucks Reserve beans, the Colombian La Union 16, and the yet-to-be-released Rwandan “Abakundakawa” bean, which will only be available next month.
To top it off, the two coffees were paired with complementary desserts which played off the coffee’s tasting notes.
The anniversary also saw new merchandise being introduced, such as a limited edition Starbucks Reserve Card as well as items such as mugs, thermal containers and coffee presses.
Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company managing director Sydney Quays said response had been encouraging and that the company was looking at opening 10 more Reserve stores in the next five years.
This was in line with the brand’s exclusivity, he explained, and to target the correct customer base.
“Starbucks Reserve offers a more intimate, cosy atmosphere where you can sit down to enjoy the coffee made from our Reserve beans, or even arrange for a coffee tasting session with our coffee masters,” said Quays.
One thing to note is that these are not ordinary baristas serving your rare Colombian or Guatemalan coffees, but Starbucks employees who have been with the company for around a year, and have undergone further certification for three to six months.
“I have over 4,500 people in employment, but only 300-plus are certified coffee masters,” Quays added.
Additionally, there was the matter of keeping all their Starbucks Reserve outlets stocked with the brand’s own premium coffee beans.
These are usually grown in limited quantities by smallholders. The next Reserve outlet is planned for Genting Highlands before the end of 2016.
“We are also planning to open a larger 929sqm store in Penang next year at Northam Road (Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah),” said Quays.
Future Starbucks Reserve stores will feature more innovative brewing methods.
“Right now, the Gardens outlet is using only the pour-on method, but we would like to give our customers more interesting methods which will bring out different flavours from the beans,” said Quays.