Starbucks certainly doesn’t need any introduction. If you’ve ever been in a mall or even just gone outside, you’ll know that Malaysians love their coffee shops, and Starbucks is one of everyone’s favourites.
Starbucks has recently set up their first Starbucks Reserve store in Penang, specifically at the bustling Gurney Plaza shopping centre, making it the 12th Starbucks Reserve store in Malaysia.
“The opening of Penang’s first Starbucks Reserve further reinforces our coffee leadership here in Malaysia, while also committing to fostering coffee education and moments of connections between our Starbucks partners (employees) and our customers,” said Sydney Quays, Group CEO of Berjaya Food Berhad and managing director of Starbucks Malaysia & Brunei, in a press statement.
A Starbucks Reserve is an entirely different experience to a normal Starbucks chain. It features an interactive coffee bar decked out with a full range of equipment to make even the most superior of coffee connoisseurs weep tears of joy.
At the store, Penangites will now be able to try out some of the world’s rarest and most high-quality coffee beans from ethical farms all around the world.
The opening day was packed with eager customers (Photo source: Gurney Plaza’s Facebook).
The store is designed with a modern aesthetic, meant to look more elevated than your usual Starbucks location. The walls all feature unique artwork or photography, but the main display is the intricate wire art of their iconic mermaid rising from the waves.
This Starbucks Reserve features two bars, one serving the usual Starbucks fare that you know and love, while another offers rare and exotic, handpicked coffee blends.
Customers can enjoy the usual Starbucks menu, as well as several specialty brews inspired by the six Starbucks Reserve Roasteries stationed around the globe.
The baristas are all certified “Coffee Masters”, trained by Starbucks’ own team. They’re able to employ multiple techniques like Siphon, Black Eagle manual espresso machines, Nitro taps and more to brew you the perfect cup of joe. Customers will be able to learn more about the coffee they’re drinking and its story – from harvest all the way to their cup – by asking the baristas.
Customers will get to watch the process of coffee-making up close (Photo source: Gurney Plaza’s Facebook).
For those with a passion for their morning brew, check out the five brewing techniques available at the store. You can witness the coffee masters using these techniques to craft the perfect cup of coffee.
The Black Eagle espresso machine gives Starbucks coffee its smoothness and unique taste profile that complements any additions to the beverage well.
Pour-over is an oft-overlooked technique that should be quite self-explanatory. The ceramic cone that the baristas use retains heat and allows them to control the depth of flavour, resulting in a clean, consistent flavour.
The siphon is a beautiful piece of machinery that employs vacuum filtration to push steaming hot water through a layer of fresh beans. The cup of coffee produced will be as fragrant as it is delicious.
The Chemex method is also another elegant and minimalist piece of equipment, immersing the coffee in hot water to extract all of its complexity and deliver it in a single sip. Nitrogen coffee has been gaining popularity recently, with the gas adding a sweetness and textured finish that few can resist.
And of course, the classic coffee press that you simply can’t go wrong with. The mesh filter allows for a full body of aromas and flavours to seep through to the final product.
The takeaway cups are a brilliant black, with the Reserve logo stamped on it in gold (Photo source: Gurney Plaza’s Facebook).
As Starbucks wants to ensure quality with their exclusive Reserve beans, new flavours are introduced every quarter. At the Gurney Plaza Reserve, you can expect the new blends of “Papua New Guinea Kigabah Estate” (with notes of spicy green herbs and caramel) and “Nicaragua Dipilto” (lemon and floral hints, with an aftertaste of nuts and dark chocolate). “Rwanda Abakundakawa” is a returning favourite, with a gentle floral aroma and accents of spices and burnt cane sugar.
Be sure to check them out now if you’re in Penang! They’re offering a complimentary key chain when you spend over RM150 in one receipt, and you can get any grande sized Nitro Cold Brew at only RM11 while stocks last.