Starbucks Designers Share Inspiration Behind Reserve Coffee Packaging

The Starbucks Reserve® Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle was thoughtfully designed as an immersive, all-sensory experience where coffee takes center stage. The same attention to detail was put into the creation of new Reserve coffee bags.

“Our goal was to create packaging that offered the same qualities as the Roastery itself,” said Mike Peck, director for Starbucks Creative. “We wanted it to have the same mercantile feeling, reflecting a fresh, small-lot, premium offering.”

The new Reserve design features a front badge with strong typography in black and copper on a white paper bag. On the top and back of the bag, a second label features artwork that expresses the individuality of each coffee. Some are drawn or painted by hand, while others are computer-rendered vector images.

“We have a very intentional variety in designs – ranging from super graphic, to hand-drawn, to painterly,” Peck said. “The colors will always vary according to the coffee and what’s in the market at the same time. We also used different label shapes on the front to make it easier to tell the difference between coffees and to shop the bags themselves.”

Early in the process, the packaging team worked with Liz Muller as she was designing the Roastery space.

“We wanted to evoke the spirit of the Roastery in the Reserve packaging,” Peck said. “The copper foil in the band and art references the copper of the Roastery’s equipment and accents. Even the bag's shade of white is a nod to the terra cotta pillars and tiles in the building to bring a sense of that space.”

Jon Cannell, manager of creative design, shares some of the inspiration for the first three new Reserve coffees available at select Starbucks stores in the U.S. and on

Starbucks Reserve® Indonesia West Java Preanger

The beans for this coffee are grown on volcanic mountainsides so steep and remote, motor scooters are used to transport the coffee to processing stations. Heavy rainfall, high humidity and cool temperatures culminate in a multilayered flavor.

The design mimics the tire tread texture from the scooters and pulls inspiration from color of the region. The top layer of copper foil picks up pattern from textiles that are prevalent in the West Java area.

Starbucks Reserve® Brazil Nova Resende

Brazil Nova Resende comes from more than 70 small-holder farms in Nova Resende, a small town in the south of the mountainous state of Minas Gerais. Grown in partial shade, the beans slowly mature and retain more of their sugars before being naturally dried, creating a unique complexity and fruit notes typically associated with full-bodied red wines.

The packaging takes cues from the coffee farms in Minas Gerais and the contrast of overcast skies with rolling green hills. The art shows coffee cherries in gold, bright red, and a darker red cherry to represent the fermentation process that makes it the “wine of coffees.”

Starbucks Reserve® Sulawesi Pango

Starbucks has collaborated with the coffee growers of Sulawesi since 1996, leading to deep relationships and extraordinary coffees like this one - picked at high elevation, semi-washed and dried in a multistep process that results in flavor bursting with spicy herbal notes.

Nearly 100 families in the high mountain village of Pango Pango contributed beans to this coffee, and many of their children attend schools Starbucks has helped local communities build, like the Sapan Kindergarten in nearby Enrekang. The spirit of community is reflected in the coffee’s artwork, with farmers picking coffee cherries.

Starbucks Reserve coffees are currently available in more than 25 markets, including the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Korea, and Japan and on Subscriptions are available at

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