Discovering the secret behind Starbucks’ renowned espresso lies not only in the beans they carefully select but also in the impressive technology of their chosen espresso machine.
As caffeine aficionados and coffee enthusiasts, we’re often left wondering about the machinery that produces those signature velvety shots we know and love.
In this post, we delve into the heart of Starbucks’ espresso-making process to reveal the coveted espresso machine that plays a pivotal role in crafting your favorite coffee beverages.
History Of Starbucks Espresso Machines
Starbucks has been using espresso machines for over 30 years.
Over the years, Starbucks has used different espresso machines. Back in the 1990s, Starbucks used the Linea by La Marzocco, which is a semi-automatic espresso machine.
Following the Verismo platform’s debut in 2001, the 801 series became the espresso machine of choice for Starbucks cafes.
The Verismo 801 was a superautomatic coffee machine designed exclusively for Starbucks, until discontinued in 2008.
The Verismo 801 was released to the commercial market shortly before it was discontinued, under the Black and White CTS2 brand name.
It features dual bean hoppers and is capable of pulling both single, double and half-caff espresso.
It also has a steam wand with automatic temperature probe (for programmable auto-shutoff), and hot water spout.
So what espresso machine machines does Starbucks use currently? well, let’s find out!
What Espresso Machine Does Starbucks Use?
Starbucks’ pursuit of coffee perfection goes beyond their carefully selected beans and expert baristas; it extends to the very machine that brings their iconic espresso to life.
Enter the Mastrena High Yield Espresso machine, the Swiss-crafted masterpiece that plays a pivotal role in Starbucks’ global coffee-making operations.
Designed exclusively for Starbucks by Thermoplan AG, the Mastrena II espresso machine is a symbol of precision, efficiency, and innovation.
The Mastrena II boasts a range of features that cater to Starbucks’ exacting standards.
With three bean hoppers dedicated to decaf, Starbucks Blonde, and Signature Espresso Roast beans, the machine ensures consistent quality and flavor in every shot.
But the Mastrena II’s capabilities don’t end there.
With the ability to pull a triple espresso shot at once, it streamlines the process even during the busiest of times, maintaining the speed and convenience that Starbucks patrons have come to expect.
Furthermore, the Mastrena II is equipped with advanced automation features.
Automatic internal rinses and grind adjustments not only save valuable time but also contribute to the machine’s overall cleanliness and longevity.
The addition of barista alerts ensures that any potential issues are promptly addressed.
As Starbucks aims for consistency across its global network of stores, they rely on super-automatic machines like the Mastrena II.
These machines come with built-in grinders and computerized menus, simplifying the espresso-making process and ensuring that each cup meets the company’s exacting standards.
The cost of a Starbucks espresso machine is around a staggering $18,000, so not the best option if you’re looking for a budget espresso machine.
Where Can I Buy A Mastrena Espresso Machine?
The Mastrena machines are custom-designed and manufactured exclusively for Starbucks by Thermoplan AG.
Under the exclusive license, Thermoplan AG is restricted to producing these machines solely for Starbucks
This means that new Mastrena machines are not available for commercial sale.
While new Mastrena machines are not available for commercial sale due to their exclusive nature, you can turn to various online platforms like eBay, Craigslist, Letgo, OfferUp, and Amazon to scour listings for used Mastrena espresso machines.
Keep an eye out for specialty coffee equipment sellers who might occasionally have refurbished Mastrena machines available for purchase.
Though rare, these listings could present a unique opportunity to claim a piece of coffee-making excellence.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Mastrena espresso machine for home use, there are other excellent super-automatic machines available on the market.
One such alternative is the Jura Giga 6, which can produce silky smooth espresso drinks comparable to those from your favorite coffee chain.
What Coffee Brand Does Starbucks Use?
At the heart of Starbucks’ coffee creations lies their own exclusive branded coffee.
From signature blends like Pike Place and Veranda Blend to specialty sub-brands like Starbucks VIA and Starbucks Reserve, each product carries the unmistakable Starbucks mark of excellence.
Sourcing coffee from diverse regions worldwide, Starbucks has even ventured into China, introducing premium arabica coffees from Yunnan in offerings like Starbucks Single Origin Yunnan Coffee and Starbucks South of the Clouds Blend.
For their beloved Frappuccino drinks, Starbucks combines their Italian Roast and Signature Espresso to create the distinctive Frappuccino Roast coffee.
When it comes to crafting lattes, they utilize their branded ground espresso roast coffee, expertly roasted to deep, rich darkness without crossing the line of burnt beans.
The beans used in their espresso roast hail from Latin America and Asia/Pacific, boasting delightful notes of molasses and caramelized sugar.
What is Starbucks Reserve?
Starbucks Reserve is a premium line of coffee offerings by Starbucks.
It represents a selection of unique, rare, and small-batch coffees sourced from various coffee-growing regions around the world.
These exceptional coffees are carefully curated by Starbucks’ expert coffee buyers and roasters, who seek out the finest and most distinctive beans with distinct flavors, aromas, and characteristics.
Unlike the regular menu offerings, Starbucks Reserve coffees are available for a limited time and in limited quantities.
They are often showcased in select Starbucks Reserve stores, which provide a more immersive coffee experience, featuring special brewing methods and knowledgeable baristas to guide customers through the tasting journey.
Starbucks Reserve also includes 28 coffee bars that prepare and serve Starbucks Reserve products.
These coffee bars offer Starbucks’ rarest and best-quality coffees, usually single-origin coffees.
Starbucks Reserve coffees highlight the diverse and nuanced flavors that different coffee-growing regions can produce.
From single-origin coffees to unique blends, each Reserve offering offers a new and exciting taste profile for coffee enthusiasts to explore and enjoy.
What are some popular Starbucks Reserve products?
Here are some popular Starbucks Reserve products that you might want to try:
- Emerald City Mule: This drink is a combination of cinnamon, lemon, cold brew, and ginger beer.
- Cascara Lemon Sour: Made with cascara (dried coffee cherry) and lemon, this drink offers a unique and refreshing flavor.
- Hazelnut Bianco Latte: A delicious latte made with Starbucks Reserve coffee and hazelnut flavor.
- Affogato: A classic Italian dessert made with a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream.
- Starbucks Reserve Mocha: A rich and indulgent mocha made with Starbucks Reserve coffee.
- Nitro Almondmilk Mocha: A creamy and smooth mocha made with nitro-infused almond milk.
- Ethiopia Yirgacheffe: This coffee offers a fruity and bright cup with flavors of citrus and floral notes.
- Peru Alto: A coffee with a balanced flavor profile, featuring notes of chocolate and nuttiness.
- Papua New Guinea Moant: A Starbucks Reserve coffee with flavors of dark chocolate and tropical fruit.
- Brazil Fazenda Catanduva: This coffee offers a smooth and nutty flavor with hints of caramel.
These are just a few examples of the popular Starbucks Reserve products available. The selection may vary depending on the location and season.
It’s always worth checking with your local Starbucks Reserve store or visiting their website for the latest offerings.
Crafting Starbucks-like Espresso Without an Espresso Machine
If you’re craving the rich intensity of Starbucks espresso but lack an espresso machine, fear not!
Here are a few methods to achieve a coffee concentrate that resembles the beloved Starbucks espresso:
This method involves using a French press to make a concentrated coffee that resembles espresso. Here’s how to do it:
- Grind ½ cup of dark roast coffee beans to a medium-fine consistency.
- Heat ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons of water to near boiling.
- Add the coffee grounds to the French press.
- Let the grounds bloom for 30 seconds with a bit of hot water.
- Slowly pour the remaining hot water over the grounds.
- Stir gently and steep for 4 minutes.
- Press the plunger to separate the coffee concentrate.
- Pour the brewed coffee into a cup, and your espresso-like concentrate is ready.
The Aeropress is a portable espresso maker that manually pushes water through the coffee grounds. Here’s how to use it:
- Follow the Aeropress instructions.
- Grind your coffee beans finely.
- Add the coffee grounds to the Aeropress.
- Pour hot water over the grounds and stir.
- Attach the filter and press the plunger to extract the coffee.
- The resulting coffee will have a similar intensity to espresso.
A Moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that produces a strong, concentrated coffee. Here’s how to use it:
- Fill the bottom chamber with water.
- Add finely ground coffee to the filter basket.
- Screw on the top chamber tightly.
- Place the Moka pot on medium heat.
- When you hear a gurgling sound, remove it from the heat.
- Pour the brewed coffee into a cup, resembling espresso.
Hot Water and Ground Coffee
This method involves using hot water and finely ground coffee to create a substitute for an espresso shot:
- Boil water and let it cool slightly.
- Measure out ½ cup of hot water.
- Pre-warm a measuring cup with hot water, then discard.
- Add finely ground coffee to the measuring cup.
- Pour hot water over the coffee and steep.
- Strain the coffee using a fine-mesh sieve or filter.
- The result will be a strong-flavored coffee akin to espresso.
The heart of Starbucks’ iconic brews lies in their custom-designed Mastrena High Yield Espresso machine, manufactured exclusively for Starbucks by Thermoplan AG.
This state-of-the-art machine, used in all Starbucks stores worldwide, ensures consistent quality and efficiency in crafting their signature espresso-based beverages.
While owning a new Mastrena machine may prove elusive, coffee enthusiasts can still explore the world of Starbucks Reserve products and experience the delights of premium, rare, and small-batch coffees.
Whether sipping on a Starbucks Reserve Mocha or experimenting with alternative brewing methods, the allure of Starbucks’ coffee craftsmanship remains an irresistible journey for every coffee lover.