Skip to content

What Is Reserve Coffee? – Find Out Here

For those who are unaware, ‘reserve coffee’ is the term used for the coffee that is roasted in physical reserve (i.e. not roasted on a mass scale) so as to be able to supply the growing demand for coffee by the consuming public, in much the same way that the food industry does for products such as bread and meat.

The reason behind this is that once the demand for a particular type of coffee has been met, there is no need to produce more, as the supply of that particular coffee has been ‘met’.

In other words, it is only ‘reserve’ coffee because there is not required to be an absolute minimum amount of stock held for every single type of coffee.

What Is Reserve Coffee and What Makes It Unique?

If you are watching the news or happen to type the words “Reserve Coffee”, into Google’s search engine you will find a large coffee company has recently decided to jump on the Reserve Coffee movement.

Plenty of people would like to say, welcome to the party, it sure did take you long enough to realize people love to drink really good coffee. I guess the question is how do you make great coffee?

We have been roasting four Reserve Coffee’s: Papua New Guinea Peaberry Reserve Coffee, Kona Reserve Coffee, Jamaica Mountain Blue Reserve Coffee and Peaberry Reserve Coffee for many years.

We believe in providing you with quality and consistency, because in the end, it is all about passion and commitment. Our first Reserve Coffee – Kona White Label Reserve was created back in 2009, and has continued to be a top seller.

Hand Roasting coffee is an art that has been cultivated by a master roaster who has stood at the machine for many decades, four decades in the case of John Weaver.

The master roaster takes into account that each green coffee bean has a different size, shape, color and density: thus each green coffee bean requires a different application of time, temperature and airflow throughout the roast.

Only a roaster intimately familiar with the green coffee beans roasting characteristics can bring out the fullness and potential of that specific bean.

Creating a sense of scarcity and tagging on an exotic name may be the new idea of a reserve coffee, but we know it takes more than a slick marketing campaign to make a fabulous cup of reserve coffee.

We create our Single Origin Coffee’s, Coffee Blends and Reserve Coffee’s, with incredible attention to detail thereby ensuring through our everyday intention, that we are providing “cup perfection”.

Summary of Its Definition

Reserve is a phrase that has no set meaning except that set by the coffee roaster, the vineyard, or anyone else.

The meaning is generally that the item is only available in a limited quantity and is being released at the perfect time to maximum flavor.

One of the world’s largest coffee roasters has released Reserve Coffee and spent a lot of money on a Reserve Roastery concept.

While these might be limited quantities for them, they are likely selling more of a single coffee than many small artisan coffee roasters sell in a year.

What Makes Hand Roasted Coffee Better?

The difference between industrial coffee roasting and hand roasting coffee is that hand-roasted coffee is nuanced and subtle.

A master roaster will help to bring the subtle hints of flavors, ranging from chocolate to fruits, by gently bringing the coffee beans to perfection.

Again, like a baker, the influence of a master makes the coffee beans more than coffee. It makes them an experience.

How Do You Make Hand Roasted Coffee?

If you’re brewing a national coffee brand from a vacuum-sealed can from the grocery store, there is not a lot to do that will make the coffee taste delicious. It’s usually a few months old.

While the major coffee companies do their best to send you fresh coffee, anything left in a can for a couple of months is, by definition, not fresh coffee.

When you receive your hand-roasted coffee from Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, it is super fresh.

Here’s how we recommend you brew your coffee:

  • Choose your favorite brewing method. Don’t use an espresso machine unless you’re using an espresso grind. You can use almost anything else.

Our preference is a French Press or a simple pour-over. That allows you to control the temperature and the length of time the coffee is in contact with the water.

  • Heat fresh water. If you have access to true spring water, your coffee will be better. If you’re using municipal water, filter it first.
  • If you’re using a pour-over method, heat the water to 195℉. If you’re using a French press, a lower temperature is great, about 185℉. Don’t use boiling water; it burns the coffee.
  • If you’re pouring over, go slowly letting the water contact as much coffee as possible. If you’re using a cone, don’t just pour it. Just pour enough water to make the coffee float only slightly. Keep pouring slowly until the cup or carafe is full.
  • If you’re using a French press, pour the water in. Then, using the plunger, gently stir the coffee in the press. Now let it stand for 4 minutes. Plunge, pour and enjoy.

Hand roasted coffee that has been brewed perfectly is like a fine wine. It will have small subtleties, like cedar, berries, cocoa, and more.

Similar to a wine tasting, coffee can give you a variety of experiences based on the roast, the grind, the brewing method, and how it’s treated.

Once you’ve developed a method that works for you, experiment with temperatures, timing, and more. Everything you do will make your coffee a slightly different experience.

The one thing that will make every cup of coffee an excellent experience is when you use fresh hand-roasted reserve coffee.

The best way to compare factory roasted coffee to hand-roasted coffee would be to compare it to buying an apple pie at the grocery store or digging into Grandma’s fresh-baked apple pie.

Grandma’s kitchen is smaller, she works carefully and precisely handcrafting her delicious apple pie, similar to a Master Coffee Roaster working his magic on a smaller 45 Kilo Probat coffee roaster, handcrafting each roast to cup perfection.

What Is the Meaning of “Reserve Coffee” in the Case of Peaberry Coffee Beans?

It is impossible to tell a coffee bean is a peaberry coffee bean until after picking and processing.

Once coffee beans are picked and processed then these lovely round peaberry coffee beans need to be hand-sorted.

Often coffee farmers will have a screen that is sized to filter out the larger flat berries out and maybe a few smaller flat berries will make their way through.

This added time to sort out the peaberry coffee bean is one of the reasons they are considered a reserve coffee.

Peaberry coffee beans also tend to roast differently. They are smaller and rounder than a flat berry coffee bean and some say they roll in the roaster easier which affects roasting.

The higher coffee bean density may improve heat transfer in the roasting process and it also requires a slower roast. 

Because of this difference in coffee bean density and the slower roast, the Peaberry Reserve Coffee bean tastes different than the flat berry coffee bean from the same crop.

Many peaberry coffee fans note that the Peaberry Reserve Coffee has a sweeter and more flavorful taste profile.

The structure of Peaberry Reserve Coffee is what makes it so intriguing

First, we will start with a little coffee bean lesson. When coffee is picked off the tree it is referred to as a coffee cherry. The coffee cherry typically contains two seeds. 

In a typical coffee bean both sides are fertilized and two coffee beans grow to a fruit, flat against each other like halves of a peanut.

On a rare occasion, about 5% to 10% of the time, only one side of the coffee bean is fertilized and this is how you get a peaberry coffee bean.

Basically, without the other coffee bean growing against it, the fertilized seed grows into a rounded bean.

These beans are referred to as peaberry coffee beans while the normal coffee beans are referred to as flat berry coffee beans.

Peaberry coffee is considered a natural mutation of the coffee bean inside its coffee cherry. The peaberry coffee beans are smaller, denser, and rounder than regular flat coffee beans, and they don’t have the flat side. 

Although you may hear that Peaberry Coffee Beans are found in certain geographical locations, the truth is, peaberry coffee beans are found in all regions, so the distinction is solely on anatomy.

This variation can happen in both robusta coffee beans and Arabica coffee beans as well. 

Various Special Reserve Coffees

Kona Coffee (100%)

Grown in the rich volcanic soil of Hualalai, along Hawaii’s Kona Coast, our authentic Kona coffee has a smooth body with a nutty aroma and a sweet finish. 

The estate is owned and operated by the Bateman family, from fertilizing the trees to processing the coffee through the mill.

The family’s strong coffee tradition, expertise, and passion is reflected on the quality of this coffee, which is consistently among the winning entries in all major Kona coffee cupping competitions.

 In 2009, John Weaver was the first specialty coffee roaster to launch a white label, high-end Reserve Coffee with our Kona Reserve Coffee. Kona Coffee is amazing, but do not just take our word for it.

In 1886, Mark Twain stated that “Kona Coffee has a richer flavor than any other, be it grown where it may and call it by what name you please.”

Part of what makes this Reserve Coffee so special is Hawaii and very small areas of California are the only places where coffee plants are grown in the United States.

Kona Coffee is world-renowned and grown exclusively on the slopes of Hualālai and Mauna Loa, the two volcanoes on the Island of Hawai’i. Kona Coffee must be grown in the Kona District.

The micro-climate and soil where the Kona Coffee is grown are ideal conditions for growing coffee trees. The volcanic soil and western slopes of the Mountains provide shelter and fertile lands.

Weather is an important factor in coffee growth and with bright mornings and light tropical rains there is a natural irrigation for the coffee trees.

Extraordinary natural elements craft a unique, bold coffee with a heady aroma and flavors as vibrant and beautiful as the magnificent island of Hawaii.

What Makes It Special?

High elevation and volcanic soil are ideal conditions for coffee trees. The unique environment in which this coffee grows gives it a distinctive advantage over coffees grown in other parts of the world.

Each lot of Kona coffee must be graded and registered by the State of Hawaii.

The coffee is sampled at each step to ensure quality. Our Kona is grown at the uppermost elevations and has more complexity and finer flavor than most other coffees from the region.

Jamaica Blue Mountain

Our Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is grown at the Mavis Bank Estate – one of only four certified coffee producers of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. 

Established in 1885, this estate utilizes only spring water to sort the green beans, which are then ‘put to sleep’ for 3-4 months at 3,000 feet where the coffee begins to develop, becoming a greenish blue color. 

The coffee trees receive only 4-5 hours of direct sunlight per day. Hence the beans mature at a much slower rate (taking 7-8 months, rather than the usual 4-5).

This coffee has a spicy aroma and light body with a well-balanced flavor. Typical soft, lush Caribbean profile.

When we think of Jamaica, we often think of beautiful beaches and wonderfully seasoned food. We rarely think of a Jamaica Blue Mountain, which is the tallest mountain in Jamaica and home to some of the world’s most expensive coffee.

The climate in the Jamaica Blue Mountains is cooler than the rest of the island because it is located on the Eastern end.

The location exposes coffee trees to moist, North East Trade Winds that hit the coast and rise up into the mountains, generating significant cloud cover and mist as they combine with the cooler air at higher elevation.

Along with the climate, the mountains are 85% forest, which provide ample shade for the coffee to grow, and because the coffee is grown in a high elevation, the cherry is denser and has a richer flavor.

There are three different grades of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans, 1, 2, and 3. Grade 1 is considered the highest quality as the beans have the least number of defects and are the largest.

Grades 2 and 3 are subsequently lower quality.

Our Certified, 100% Pure Jamaica Blue Mountain Grade 1 is made using the largest, premium-quality beans which produce mild, yet lush and sweet, floral notes in the cup.

This is a beautiful coffee, rare, expensive and well worth the effort for Weaver’s Coffee & Tea to procure it, and roast it perfectly for you.

The Jamaica Mountain Blue Coffee arrives in a wooden barrel.

We are very careful when we roast the green coffee beans into black roasted coffee beans, to ensure your coffee cup is filled with exquisite beauty, one sip of this coffee and you will be transported to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.

What Makes It Special? 

 Jamaica Blue Mountain is one of the rarest coffees in the world. Due to the restricted area qualified to grow this exceptional coffee, only 650,000 pounds are produced per year.

The beans are handpicked and very limited amounts of machinery can be employed in its’ processing. Most production is done by hand.

Costa Rica La Minita

Our Costa Rica La Minita coffee is grown at the Hacienda La Minita, Tarrazu region, Costa Rica. “La Minita” means little mine in Spanish.

The farm lies between the town of Bustamante and the Tarrazu river, with altitude ranging between 3,500-5,000 feet. 

The coffee is grown under a carefully managed canopy of Poro shade trees which naturally provide essential Nitrogen to the coffee trees and minimize the need for fertilizers. 

The coffee fruit is meticulously hand selected, and only the perfectly ripe fruit is picked and inspected to ensure quality. At the mill, it is once again sorted by hand to remove any imperfect bean.

This coffee is smooth and full-bodied with an elegant, complex flavor. This coffee is one of the most refined coffees in the world due to the incredible attention to detail at every step of processing.

Founder Bill McAlpin created a family community for his workers, integrated into the nearby town of Bustamante.

The full-time workers are provided free housing, utilities, clean water, and preventative medical and dental care.

What Makes It Special?

La Minita has long been considered by many experts to be one of the world’s most exquisite coffees. This signature coffee has very limited production, with extreme attention to detail, as all the work is done by hand.

The coffee fruit is meticulously hand selected, and only the perfectly ripe fruit is picked and inspected to ensure quality. The workers are paid a premium for their skill and respect of the farm property.

Peaberry Coffee

A coffee cherry, the fruit harvested and processed to make coffee beans usually is fertilized and has two seeds growing inside the coffee cherry.

However, sometimes, only one seed is fertilized, and the coffee bean grows into a single rounded shape versus a typical coffee bean which has two flat shapes.

The special bean, called a peaberry only occurs, on average about five to ten percent of the time. Peaberry coffee is a natural mutation, which can occur in any coffee growing area, and can happen inside robusta coffee plant or arabica coffee plant.

There is no way to tell if a coffee cherry is a peaberry coffee bean until it has been processed. Peaberry coffee beans are so rare, that they are sorted out by hand. Coffee farmers will use a screen that is sized to filter out the larger flat berries.

Many peaberry coffee drinkers note that a Peaberry Reserve Coffee has a sweeter and more flavorful taste profile. This is because the coffee beans are smaller and more round.

Coffee roasters say peaberry beans roll differently in a hot coffee roaster which ultimately impact how the peaberry bean roasts. 

When you are handling a coffee bean that is more dense, the heat transfer in the roasting process changes, so, there are specific ways to handle this type of coffee roast.

Having a Master Coffee Roaster, with decades of experience, controlling the load size, time temperature and air flow will bring out the subtle nuances and flavors inherent in the distinctive Peaberry Coffee Bean.

Starbucks Reserve: What Is It?

Starbucks Reserve is a selection of the rarest, most extraordinary coffees  Starbucks has to offer. It’s where we push our own boundaries of craft, developing a unique roast for each individual lot before experimenting with coffee as an art form—brewing, aging, infusing and blending it into imaginative and often surprising creations. Through our Roasteries and bars, we share our discoveries and the enjoyment of exceptional coffee with the world. Starbucks began its journey over forty years ago to make premium arabica coffee accessible to all while fostering a culture of human connection. Starbucks Reserve is our commitment to push even further, scouring the world for its most exceptional beans while evolving the coffeehouse experience to something surprising and multi-sensory.

11 Drinks You Should Order At Starbucks Reserve

It’s easy to rely on Starbucks for your daily caffeine fix. After all, the giant coffee chain has a branch at practically every corner of the Metro.

Plus, aside from the regular branches, another type of Starbucks cafe called Starbucks Reserve has started popping up, too. 

If you’ve always wondered what the difference is between the regular Starbucks branch and a Reserve store, the answer is actually pretty simple.

What sets the Reserve stores apart are their small-lot coffee beans, brewed by baristas through different techniques like Chemex, pour-over, Siphon, and more.

The featured coffee beans are usually only available for a limited time only, so visiting your favorite Reserve branch can mean having a new type of brew waiting for you.

Aside from the beans, Reserve branches also offer an exclusive menu of espresso-based drinks, pastries, and savory food. We list down some of our favorites for you.

1. Espresso Con Panna

Starbucks Reserve branches offer a wide variety of espresso-based drinks called Espresso Classics for you to appreciate their small-lot beans.

While you could always opt for Starbucks’ Espresso or Americano to get the full flavor of your coffee without any frills, those with a sweet tooth should try Starbucks Reserve’s Espresso Con Panna.

The drink is Starbucks Reserve espresso topped with a dollop of demerara whipped cream, for a toasty, caramel-like sweetness. 

2. Espresso Macchiato

If you love Starbucks’ Caramel Macchiato, Reserve has its own version with the Espresso Macchiato.

Perhaps more coffee-forward than its caramel counterpart, the Espresso Macchiato has a shot of Reserve espresso that’s topped with foamed milk. 

3. Cortado

Another drink that’s unique to Reserve branches is the Cortado, a beverage coffee enthusiasts should recognize.

For the uninitiated, the Cortado simply means that a shot of Reserve espresso is topped with the equivalent amount of steamed milk to balance the coffee’s full-bodied flavor and temper its acidity.

4. Shakerato Bianco

Aside from the Starbucks Reserve classics, they also offer espresso-based drinks they’ve specially crafted themselves like the Shakerato Bianco, a refreshing iced-coffee drink perfect for Manila’s perpetual warmth.

The cool drink has espresso shaken with ice and vanilla sweet cream. You can also opt for the Shakerato Bianco Deconstructed, with demerara syrup and sweet cream served on the side. 

5. Affogato

It’s only at Starbucks Reserve branches that you can currently order ice cream-or affogato, to be exact.

Starbucks Reserve offers two kinds: the Classic Affogato or vanilla ice cream with two shots of Reserve espresso, or the House Affogato, made extra special with a drizzle of demerara syrup and a shake of cinnamon powder.

6. Kouign Amann

If you miss the kouign amann craze of 2016, you can still get your fix of the sugary, flaky pastry at selected Starbucks Reserve branches.

As buttery and flaky as a croissant, the French pastry has a crunchy outer layer of sugar, its sweetness matching well with a dark, espresso-based drink.

7. Bombolone

Craving a doughnut to go with your cuppa? You can get the Bombolone at selected Reserve branches.

This tender doughnut is dusted with powdered sugar and filled with chocolate cream-perfect for your sweet tooth. 

8. Smoked Ham and Brie in French Butter Croissant

Starbucks Reserve levels up your usual ham-and-cheese croissant by using the same elements, but just a touch fancier.

Their buttery croissant is large enough for a filling snack and is stuffed with strips of smoked ham and cubes of creamy Brie.

9. Apple Pumpkin Soup

We can imagine Reserve’s Apple Pumpkin Soup tastes like the season. The creamy soup has the perfect balance of sweetness and spiced savoriness, thanks to sweet apples blended with the pumpkin.

10. Blueberry Cheese Pocket

Have you ever wondered if you could have blueberry cheesecake on-the-go? Starbucks Reserve’s Blueberry Cheese Pocket might just be the answer you’re looking for.

Instead of pastry puff, the pocket pie is made out of a cookie crust that’s stuffed with cream cheese and blueberry compote.

11. Peach Mango Cobbler

When it comes to fruit combinations, you can never go wrong with peach and mango, and that’s a fact Starbucks fully understands if this cobbler is anything to go by.

Their Peach Mango Cobbler has peach and mango compote on top of a sugary oat biscuit crust. Have it warmed for extra cozy vibes with your hot coffee. 

Lucy Harper

Lucy Harper

Lucy Harper is the founder and owner of our coffee content site. With a lifelong passion for coffee, Lucy has dedicated herself to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others. Her goal is to help coffee lovers of all levels to explore the world of coffee and discover the joy of the perfect cup. When she's not writing about coffee, Lucy can often be found in her kitchen experimenting with new brewing techniques and coffee recipes.