As the newest and largest member of the Starbucks Roastery family, the Chicago Roastery is in a league of its own. This five-story coffee wonderland could give Willy Wonka a run for his money.
If you’re traveling to the Windy City, give yourself a couple of hours to fully experience all 35,000+ square feet. Here’s all you can do in the Starbucks Chicago Roastery.
Buy Starbucks Merch
If you’re anything like me, you can’t go into Starbucks without wanting another coffee mug or tumbler. This roastery has plenty. Check out exclusive mugs, brewing equipment, glasses, reserve beans, and even apparel.
Learn About the Roasting Process
Front and center as you walk in is a custom coffee roaster. Master Roasters are usually on hand demonstrating their craft and most are more than willing to answer questions. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with coffee production, this is the place.
Ride a spiral escalator
I know, riding an escalator isn’t exactly an ~event~, but this one is pretty cool. The Chicago Roastery has the first and only (as of right now) spiral escalator in the Midwest.
The escalator connects the first and second floors while winding around the 56-foot cask in the center of the building.
Grab an Italian Pastry
Up the escalator, on the second floor is an authentic Italian bakery created by and dedicated to baker Rocco Princi. The smell alone is enough of a treat, but you’ll also find tarts, cinnamon rolls, breads, breakfast sandwiches, and more.
This is also a great place to try some non-coffee drinks like teas and lemonades. This floor hosts a featured menu that pairs perfectly with pastries.
Along with a selection of pastries and breakfast goodies, the bakery on the second floor also serves lunch fare. Find classic sandwiches and salads, along with traditional Italian pizzas and even pasta.
There’s plenty of tables to take a working lunch, meet friends, or just sit and people watch.
Have a Brewing Experience
A core tenet of Bean There is that coffee is not just coffee. Coffee is a destination. Coffee is an experience. The third floor of the Starbucks Chicago Roastery specializes in coffee experiences.
Compare the same coffee brewed two different ways with a brew comparison flight. Try a little of everything with a cold brew or espresso flight. Get your own Chemex or siphon brew for two. A barista leads you through each experience to help you fully understand and appreciate what’s in your cup.
Learn About Coffee Flavors
Sure, it may be just beans and water, but those two ingredients make a complex drink. Everything from where beans are grown to how they are roasted to brewing method has an effect on the flavor of coffee. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about what you’re tasting in your morning brew, start with this flavor wall at the Chicago Roastery.
The wheel highlights the components of coffee flavor, like aroma, acidity, etc. Learn which coffees fall into which categories and how to describe what you like and don’t like.
Satisfy your Sweet Tooth
Name a better duo than coffee and dessert, I’ll wait. The Italian bakery supplies the whole Roastery with delicious desserts like tiramisu and chocolate chip cookies.
Head to the experiential coffee bar on the third floor for some ice cream treats. An affogato is a classic for a hot day or try a cold brew float.
Enjoy Happy Hour
When the day transitions from coffee to wine time, head to the Roastery to get either or both! The fourth floor is home to a full cocktail bar stocked with all your favorites…with a twist. Try a coffee cocktail like an espresso martini, a roastery old fashioned, or cold brew spiced rum.
Embrace the Windy City with some Chicago exclusives like a Roastery Boilermaker or a Lake Shore. Of course, there are non-alcoholic cocktails available too.
Take in the Views
One of my favorite things about the Chicago Roastery is how it embraces and showcases the city. Case in point, the rooftop patio on the fifth floor.
Sip your drink while overlooking the iconic Michigan Avenue. It’s also a must-see photo op. Just note that it’s only open during warmer months.
Host an Event
Want to do something special for your next soiree? Host it at the Chicago Roastery! This could be great for office parties, birthdays, conferences, showers, you name it.
Host at the fourth floor cocktail bar or the fifth floor rooftop terrace (weather permitting). Add in mixology, food, and Reserve Roastery drinks for the full experience.
Book a Roastery Tour
If you want to really dive into the details of the Chicago Roastery, opt for a tour. Join a guided tour or schedule your own private one with a barista.
They’ll explain what makes this location unique, share more about the coffee roasting and brewing process, and maybe even lead you through a tasting. Keep an eye out for other pre-scheduled events too. They’ve been known to host National Coffee Day celebrations, Meet the Artist events, and more!
There is no shortage of things to do at the largest Starbucks in the world. The Chicago Roastery is a wonderland for us coffee fanatics and anyone who just likes cool places. Learn more about this Roastery share what you love about it!
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