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THE store’s understated exterior is enough to make newcomers make a double take.

Gone is the bright and cheery look the brand is known for. Instead, its more fancy counterpart takes on a more elegant yet cosy form, while maintaining the brand’s iconic mermaid logo.

Starbucks Reserve, the first of its kind in Malaysia, occupies the 280 sq m space at The Gardens Mall that was previously occupied by Starbucks.

One week after the store’s opening on Oct 13, media members were given a taste of what to expect at Starbucks Reserve during a coffee tasting and aroma lab session.

Starbucks Reserve offers premium and rare coffee beans that are only available at the store, as well as a great coffee experience.

Coffee masters specialise in using the pour over handcrafted brewing method to make the drink.

Starbucks Reserve offers premium and rare coffee beans that are only available at the store, as well as a great coffee experience.

Starbucks Reserve offers premium and rare coffee beans that are only available at the store, as well as a great coffee experience.

Throughout the process of preparing and brewing the coffee at a dedicated bar, customers can interact with the coffee masters to learn about the history and method of making Starbucks Reserve coffees.

Popular drinks such as the frappuccino, latte and mocha, as well as sandwiches, pastries and cakes from Starbucks’ food menu are also available.

Starbucks Reserve is staffed by 18 coffee masters, and headed by store manager and coffee ambassador Ayesha Dahlan.

Starbucks Reserve’s heritage concept extends from the brand logo on the door handle, to the featured cube and customised menu board, to the interior design.

Starbucks Reserve’s heritage concept extends from the brand logo on the door handle, to the featured cube and customised menu board, to the interior design.

“Starbucks Reserve’s store design focuses on the heritage concept,” said Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company managing director Sydney Quays.

“This concept extends from the brand logo on the door handle, to the featured cube and customised menu board, to the interior design.”

He said Starbucks Reserve was only introduced to Malaysia this year, as the company wanted to ensure the local market was mature enough to appreciate what the concept entailed.

Starbucks Reserve customers can still get their favourite drinks such as frappuccino, latte and mocha, or sandwiches, pastries and cakes from Starbucks' food menu.

Starbucks Reserve customers can still get their favourite drinks such as frappuccino, latte and mocha, or sandwiches, pastries and cakes from Starbucks’ food menu.

“The store is fully run by coffee masters – the best of Starbucks’ baristas. These coffee masters have completed a six-month process that certifies their knowledge, skill and ability to share what they know about coffee.

“The coffee ambassador represents the cream of the crop of coffee masters. He or she would’ve emerged tops after a one-year process and upon competing in the Coffee Ambassador’s Cup,” said Quays, adding that the winner holds the title for two years.

The coffee ambassador is also the person who conducts workshops and speaks to corporate clients and partners about coffee.

On opening day, Quays said Starbucks Reserve in Malaysia hit the record of the highest number of pour over coffee across all Starbucks’ Asian stores, with 254 cups in one day.

“The pour over coffee offers customers the option of customising their coffee. They can even ask to sample the drink, without having to buy a full cup,” said Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company public affairs and digital strategy senior manager Salleharon Ahmad.

“The drink’s reserve beans are seasonal and only available in small batches as they are grown in small farms. New blends are introduced regularly – over every three months or so.”

Customers can interact with the coffee masters to learn about the history and method of making Starbucks Reserve coffees.

Customers can interact with the coffee masters to learn about the history and method of making Starbucks Reserve coffees.

Quays added that Starbucks Reserve has been well received by customers since its opening.

“We get a good mix of the young and old crowd. Many enjoy black coffee, and we’ve noticed that the younger customers like to be different when it comes to their drink.

“Having the store at The Gardens Mall was a logical choice – it’s a mall that is frequented by not only shoppers and the office crowd, but also those who live around the area,” he said.

Quays said the company plans to open another Starbucks Reserve store in the Klang Valley soon.

There are more than 1,500 Starbucks Reserve stores worldwide, with close to 200 stores in Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

A cup of pour over coffee is priced at RM14.80 for venti size and RM15.80 for grande size.

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