I Went To The OG Starbucks In Seattle To See If It’s Worth Visiting
The line looks longer than it is.
Anyone visiting Seattle, Washington for the first time might have attractions like the Space Needle or Pike Place Market on their list of things to see, but if you’re a coffee-lover, you’ll also want to squeeze in a Starbucks run as well. The first-ever Starbucks location on Pike Place opened in 1971, and still exists today. So on a recent trip up north, I stopped by the OG Starbucks store to see if it’s worth the visit.
My reason for visiting Seattle was work-related and I didn’t have much time, but as a Starbucks lover, I knew I had to at least check out the original location while in the city. Luckily, my hotel, the W Seattle, was walking distance to the store. Before heading out, I searched TikTok for what to expect and saw that lines can get pretty long. Since the first location started out as just a store to buy coffee beans, the OG Starbucks also doesn’t have any seating inside. However, the menu is the same, so you can still get a Caramel Macchiato or Pumpkin Spice Latte if that’s your go-to.
Wanting a festive drink from their holiday menu, I headed to the OG Starbucks and was surprised at how simple it was.
The Original Starbucks Had An Exclusive Drink On The Menu
I was worried about the line, which wrapped outside the store, but it moved quickly. In fact, I only had to wait about 24 minutes from the time I got in line to when I was snapping a pic of my drink for Instagram. It was the afternoon, though, so if you’re planning on going in the morning, you might have to wait a little bit longer.
That might not be worth it for someone who is just looking to get a Starbucks coffee to start their day. However, for fans of Starbucks, it’s cool to see the inside of the original location, which still has an old timey feel to it. The bar where drinks are made is also raised above the counter where you order, so baristas toss cups over to the side of the cafe before they’re made. I was impressed with how well everyone worked together behind the counter to keep the line moving.
There are also some exclusives that are only available at the OG Starbucks. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the store was that they had a special Cookie Butter Latte on their Holiday Heritage menu that is only sold at the OG Starbucks this time of year. While it didn’t taste like TikTok’s secret menu Cookie Butter Latte, it was a delicious caramel cookie drink that kept me warm. While waiting for my drink, I also got to notice all the exclusive Starbucks merch on the back wall, which were for purchase as well. I didn’t have enough time to look at the merch when I was at the register, so I panicked and just bought a standard cold cup with the OG Starbucks logo on the front ($4), but there were so many other options for collectors.
They had colorful cold cups ($15), a Been There series tumbler ($23), water bottles ($25, and even postcards ($13). If you’re someone who loves exclusive Starbucks merch, I definitely felt it was worth the visit if you have the time, because it’s so close to Pike Place Market, which is also a cute tourist location. However, if you’re really looking to be impressed, Seattle also has a Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which has more of the wow factor.
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery Is More Impressive
I also stopped by the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Pike Street since it was also walking distance away from my hotel — but in the opposite direction. There are only six roasteries in the world, with three locations in the U.S. — Seattle, New York City, and Chicago. At a Starbucks Reserve, you can find exclusive merch and menu items, as well as boozy Starbucks drinks.
I stopped by to try their new holiday Peppermint Mocha Espresso Martini, which was about $20. Since the location is massive, it took me a second to find the bar, but I finally got a seat and ordered my drink. Now that espresso martinis seem to be trending all the time, I’ve been ordering more of them to find the perfect one for me — and I think this might be it. While it may not be a traditional espresso martini, I loved the addition of the peppermint and mocha flavors. They were a nice subtle touch that didn’t overpower the drink. What I loved the most about Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha Espresso Martini was how cold it was. It was super refreshing, and the added whipped cream and holiday sprinkles were a sweet and Insta-worthy touch.
While at the Starbucks Reserve in Seattle, I also tried their seasonal Apple Crumb Pie as well as their Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese on Brioche breakfast sandwich. Both were delicious treats that could be served at a fancy bakery in Paris, IMO. So, if you’re looking for an elevated Starbucks experience, the reserve is more worth visiting than the OG location. Of course, it all depends on whether you’re looking for something more traditional or totally unique while visiting the Emerald City.