From its signature espresso to the seasonal obsession that is a Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks certainly knows the way to a coffee lover's heart. With 24,000 locations worldwide, the chances of finding a Starbucks just in time to satisfy your need for a morning brew is, well, pretty good, no matter where you are.
But as we’ve seen in other industries like craft beer, hipsters are foregoing their daily run-of-the-mill for stuff that’s custom roasted, single sourced, and overall high in quality.
“You don’t just ask the server if the roast is dark or medium. You ask, ‘What farm did it come from?’” says Sumner Ohye, owner of the Curb, a tiny coffee shop in Kaimuki, Hawaii.
They’re calling it the “third wave” of coffee and it’s the trend that’s responsible for the ever-growing number of local, independent coffee shops popping over all over the country and putting Starbucks into the category of, dare we say, basic. Couple that with chains like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts stepping up their own coffee game, and Starbucks is suddenly searching for a different way to make themselves stand out.
Starbucks Reserve is the coffee giant’s newest initiative, which represents its new higher-end specialty outlets, which are “meant to compete with third-wave coffee shops with small lot beans and baristas trained in hand-poured preparation methods,” according to Mashable. The Reserve stores are also helping spur major economic growth for many coffee communities around the world.
One of the newest Reserve stores, located in Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh, for instance, is making a big statement in the emerging market. “We take a thoughtful, disciplined approach to growth in Cambodia that is locally relevant and in line with our company’s values,” Starbucks said, according to Mashable. “Our growth story is not just about expanding our store count in the market." Read more.