Starbucks goes after Echo Park coffee connoisseurs with its new Reserve coffee bar

Crews working on the new Echo Park Starbucks Reserve

By JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ

ECHO PARK — Starbucks is returning to Echo Park next month. But former patrons will discover that the new Starbucks, like the neighborhood, has gone upscale.

The old Starbucks, which closed nearly two years ago, operated inside a Lucy’s laundromat, where the aroma of Italian roast was overpowered by the odor of detergent and fabric softener. The fancy new Starbucks — called Starbucks Reserve — will be located in the same Sunset Boulevard building, which has been gutted, renovated, painted jet black and leased to a batch of new tenants that don’t include a coin laundry.

The Echo Park Starbucks Reserve will feature high ceilings, walls of glass and a corner spot next to a patio. It will be the third Starbucks Reserve to open in L.A. area, where a store opened in Los Feliz last year.

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So what will be so special about this new Starbucks Reserve?

In addition to the chain’s core menu – such as a cup of Pike Place Roast, the Echo Park store will also cater to coffee connoisseurs with a separate “immersive” coffee bar featuring a variety of brewing methods and equipment, including a siphon coffee maker, Clover coffee machines, Black Eagle manual espresso maker, and Nitro Cold Brew taps.

In other Reserve stores, which tend to be larger and more lounge-like than a typical Starbucks, customers can order a $10 coffee flight to sample small-batch brews or a $9 Nitro cold brew with cream.

“Inspired by our Seattle Reserve Roastery, Starbucks has begun opening new locations that include an immersive Reserve experience bar (roughly 35 exist today in the U.S.), “ said a Starbucks spokesperson in an email. “ (It’s) designed to take the company’s special Reserve coffee and make it into an interactive aspect of these stores where barista craft is the cornerstone.”

In addition, these stores will offer specialty beverages from the company’s Seattle roastery, such as the affogato menu, which features artisan ice cream paired with our small-lot Reserve coffees.

Since the old Echo Park Starbucks closed, the neighborhood’s coffee scene has grown even more crowded with shops serving up high-end brews.

Will the new shops siphon off customers from other shops? Stay tuned.

Starbucks Reserve will be at 2134 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park

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