9 Most Beautiful Starbucks Reserves in the Philippines
Nearly 50 years ago, in 1971, Starbucks opened its first store in Seattle, USA. From a single coffee shop, the brand has grown steadily over the years and now has over 30,000 stores all over the world. But its rapid expansion came with its own set of challenges.
During the 2008 financial crisis, Starbucks had to close down hundreds of stores and lay off thousands of employees. When Howard D. Schultz returned as CEO that same year, he decided to shift the focus back to his customers and pursue quality over quantity. Among the strategies he employed were to engage customers through social media, retrain baristas on how to make the perfect espresso, upgrade machines, and double purchases of fair trade-certified coffee. The brand also launched Starbucks Reserve, which carries a selection of the rarest, most extraordinary coffees from around the world.
Aside from showcasing its exotic small-batch coffees, Starbucks Reserve elevates the coffeehouse experience. Coffee becomes an art form, where each drink is brewed and blended into an imaginative and surprising creation. Each store is different, and the store designs reflect the local communities, as well as Starbucks coffee tradition and expertise.
“We partner with the best artists and local artisans to create beautiful, culturally relevant pieces for our spaces,” says Denise Barrameda of Starbucks Philippines. “We want to ensure the art pieces and store design reflect the customers and community we serve.”
While the design team is based in Hong Kong, Starbucks’ in-house design studio leverages local traditions and collaborates with local artists to design stores across the Asia Pacific region. See it for yourself in nine of the most beautiful Starbucks Reserve Stores in the Philippines.
S Maison, Pasay
Each Starbucks Reserve branch tells a story and each artwork portrays a slice of life. For the S Maison branch, Starbucks partnered with coffee artist Ella Hipolito to create a mural inspired by the coffee farms in northern Philippines. In addition to the mural, you’ll find three other vignettes that show a day in the life of a coffee farmer painted using coffee grounds. The artworks, however, are not limited to the store’s walls. The elaborate ceiling, covered with wooden boxes of varying sizes, showcases local materials from the Philippines.
The Podium, Ortigas
Starbucks Reserve at The Podium features the work of Manila-based artists Chris Capili and Joy Mauricio, who have done numerous hand-painted pieces for Starbucks through the years. Apart from paint, they have worked with fabric, metal, wood, and other indigenous materials. The three-dimensional sculpture hanging from the Podium store’s ceiling is an interpretation of a coffee landscape done in brass. The layered pieces of brass complement the store’s refined interior design, with finishes of stone and warm wood.
Power Plant Mall, Rockwell
The Starbucks Reserve branch in Power Plant Mall opened in 2018, coinciding with Starbucks’ 20th anniversary in the country. The unique wooden ceiling and walls are reminiscent of the mountains in northern Philippines, where some of the best coffees are grown. A hand-painted acrylic on canvas piece by Joy Mauricio and Chris Capili also celebrates Starbucks’ coffee heritage with a design inspired by coffee silos from the Seattle Roastery.
Ayala Malls Central Bloc, Cebu
When you think of Cebu, the first few things that come to mind are white-sand beaches, sparkling blue seas, and majestic sea creatures—and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Starbucks Reserve Cebu, the first Reserve store outside Metro Manila. Talented Filipino artist Hannah Sol Hortelano-Obcial created a mural that evokes Cebu’s calming seaside landscape. The ethereal Starbucks Siren is front and center, perfectly complementing the soft curves and waves of the store’s interior design.
Assembly Grounds at The Rise, Makati
Starbucks Reserve’s branch at The Rise is a haven for young, creative, tech-savvy individuals. Thus, the artworks elicit excitement, youthfulness, and energy. For this store, Starbucks tapped JP Pining, a Fine Arts graduate from the University of Santo Tomas, whose artworks often feature bold graphics and eclectic candy colors.
Pining’s first mural features his own rendition of coffee equipment and the inviting coffee aroma—done in his bold signature style—as well as a depiction of the Makati skyline at night. He says this piece “depicts a barista displaying passion in his work.” The other mural represents friends spending time together during sunset hour, showing how each sip of coffee makes life more colorful.
Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons
Starbucks believes that a coffeehouse should be a welcoming, inviting, and familiar place for people to connect. At the Estancia Mall branch, you’ll find groups of people huddled together in conversation amid an elegant backdrop of organic woven wood walls inspired by local basket-weaving techniques. Guests can also sit at the Reserve bar to see how their coffee is prepared and chat with the baristas about different brewing techniques. When you look up at the ceiling, you’ll find the celestial Siren crowned with stars etched against a backdrop of the night sky.
Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Parañaque
Starbucks Reserve at Ayala Malls Manila Bay features the work of Manila-based artist Tara Soriano, who has done several hand-painted works for Starbucks. Based on a reference image of Hacienda Alsacia, the Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica, Soriano created a simple yet elegant landscape painting with clean lines, trees in the background, and a few color tones.
14 Jupiter, Makati
Located on the ground floor of the Starbucks Support Center in Manila, Starbucks Reserve in 14 Jupiter is a haven of peace and tranquility amid the bustling city of Makati. This space also features hand-painted artworks by Tara Soriano, who is known for her skillfulness and versatility. Her work livens up the concrete walls, featuring an image of the Starbucks Siren, painted amid coffee beans and golden leaves.
SM North Towers, Quezon City
The impressive artworks adorning the walls of Starbucks Reserve at SM North Towers reveal the origin of each Starbucks coffee. Created by local paper artist Patrick Cabral, the intricate animal papercuts represent the coffee-growing regions—the Sumatran Tiger for Asia Pacific, the Kenyan Elephant for Africa, and the Guatemalan Quetzal Bird for Latin America. As an artist who has received international recognition for his work, Cabral was also one of the ambassadors for Starbucks’ “New Strong” campaign, which celebrated modern-day strengths while empowering individuals to break away from the mold and find their own definition of “strong.”