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Inside Northern Malaysia’s Only Starbucks Reserve

Acknowledging Penang’s passion for excellent coffee, Yukeshwaran Devadas saw this coming from a mile away.


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Inside Northern Malaysia’s Only Starbucks Reserve
Starbucks is a household name to coffee lovers far and wide. The coffee standard has been kept consistently good all these years and just when I thought they can’t up the game any better, Starbucks Reserve commenced at Gurney Plaza.

Being the first of its kind in the Northern Region, the coffee chain has set the bar high for a genuine caffeine fix.

A Warm and Welcoming Atmosphere

The establishment is an extension of the preceding Starbucks with a lustrous bronze wall with the Reserve logo, right above the coffee bar.




The seating space and interior are rich on wooden elements with warm lightings setting a convivial mood.

A feeling which is only added to by the welcoming coffee masters. 

Impressive Coffee Masters and Coffee Machines

Unlike the classic Starbucks, the baristas at Reserve are known as coffee masters.

To achieve the position, which is contrasted with a black apron, they must complete a set of courses to not only enhance their hands-on skills but also stock up in-depth knowledge of the exotic beans and the overall process.



For an all-around java jaunt, customers are encouraged to be seated at the wood-clad bar. As you wait for your favourite brew, you’ll be briefed about the coffee’s origins and variations of beans.

It’s also a pleasure to watch the beverage being prepared with numerous brewing methods such as pour-over, siphon, Chemex and an advanced manual brewing machine only available at Starbucks Reserve outlets.

As such, it does feel like stepping into a laboratory too. Such details draw the line between a coffee session and a coffee experience itself. 

Rarest Coffee Beans Across the World


What makes Reserve’s coffee a standout is the rarity of the beans. These limited coffees are produced in small-lot farms across the world and artfully roasted at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries. 

Each cup of coffee is intended to be an interplay of flavours and aromas with traces of its origins.


To name a few - Nicaragua Dipilto embodies lemon and bittersweet chocolate notes, Papua New Guinea Kigabah Estate has caramel and herbal hints, while Rwanda Abakundakawa offers a fine fusion of citrus and baking spice.

As the flavour profiles suggest, these coffees are geared towards tea lovers too.

Nevertheless, when prepared using a siphon, the brews give away a tea-like consistency.  

Starbucks Reserve’s Eye-Catching Merchandise


The unique brews are the main draw, but it isn’t the only draw as Reserve’s merchandise are gaining attention too.

The stainless-steel bottles and tumblers, particularly ones in black, would tempt any Starbucks enthusiasts out there.

For those who love to brew their coffee at home, coffee makers are on sale too.

Reserve Mocha Vs Vanilla Bean Latte


Fixated by the complete setup and selection of coffees, I put my taste buds to test. On par with my preferences, Coffee Master Faiz and Shift Manager Nicole recommended the two best-sellers on the menu, Reserve Mocha and Vanilla Bean Latte. 

The former is a combination of ground dark chocolate and Starbuck Reserve’s espresso, whisked together with whole milk. First to greet was the aroma of the espresso, subtle and inviting.


The mocha has a thick consistency, yet the bitter-sweet balance was what sealed the deal. While most mochas tend to eclipse the presence of espresso, the coffee notes abided until the very end.

Even better, every coffee on the menu comes with a complimentary dark chocolate. What the chocolate lacked in size, it more than made up with pleasant richness when paired with the hot mocha. 


Since the mocha serving was generous, I opted to have the Vanilla Bean Latte on-the-go. The premium quality vanilla beans blended well with the espresso, achieving a sweet and creamy finish, while the steamed microform milk contributed in the smooth texture.

And little nibbles of the dark chocolate mellowed down the sweetness just right. The distinctive differences on the taste buds without a deluge of ingredients allows you to appreciate the origins of the exotic beans. 

 If you can yourself a coffee lover, Starbucks Reserve is the place to be and be seen. 

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