February 19, 2020

I have some thoughts on the Starbucks at Pacific Place

There are three Starbucks on the ground floor of the Pacific Place mall in Hong Kong, all pretty close to each other—two of them are about twenty steps apart. I go to PP a lot, pretty much every day, since it's a transit hub that's not far from my neighborhood. Oh, and I love malls. Whenever I go to a Starbucks, I'll order one of three things: a venti coffee of the day with skim milk; a venti cold brew, black; or a venti nitro cold brew, black. In Hong Kong, nitro is usually only available at Starbucks Reserve shops (exception in PP!). Conveniently, roughly half of the Starbucks I've been to in Hong Kong are Starbucks Reserve shops. They're... everywhere. Here are my field notes on the three Starbucks on the ground floor of Pacific Place. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses.

The eastern-most Starbucks at Pacific Place, near Shake Shack
Eastern-most Starbucks Reserve, next to Shake Shack

  • This is the Starbucks that you can't get to from inside the mall, you have to go outside, through the door by Theory, which makes this location inconvenient in inclement weather
  • It is, however, the only Starbucks Reserve in PP
  • This is the most reliable nitro outlet in PP, the staff here care very much about the art of the pour
  • The suggested food pairings here are... interesting
Starbucks food-coffee pairings suggestions, why
  • There are lots of window-facing seats, which makes this Starbucks a great place to go with a book or a laptop
  • This Starbucks doesn't serve normal filter coffee-of-the-day coffee, but they do have pourovers
View from the Eastern-most Starbucks at Pacific Place
  • For a long time, this was my favorite Starbucks in my neighborhood but...
  • Beware morning coffee people, between 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. there is a guy who hangs out at this location who is an amateur wind instrument player. I can't tell if he has a flute or a wooden recorder. I don't know what it is, but he plays it while drinking his coffee nearly every morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.. I had to stop going to this Starbucks altogether because... who DOES that to other people? And no one stops him. 
  • OK rant over
Middle Starbucks, across from Adidas by the escalators to the Great Food Hall
  • This is the newest Starbucks location on the ground floor at Pacific Place
  • It has the best selection of utilitarian reusable mugs; this is where I bought my Stanley x Starbucks mug that I love
  • Even though it's not a Starbucks Reserve, they serve nitro. However, my experience has been that the nitro at the Eastern-most Starbucks (see above) is more consistent and tastes better. Sometimes the nitro at this location tastes a little bit off, a little plastic-y
  • Of all the Starbucks in PP, this location has the most complete range of drinks on offer (even though it's the smallest)
  • The seating area at this Starbucks is a bit crowded, but it's cozy; I wouldn't say it's a place you want to linger, since there's a lot of foot traffic and the turnover is quite frequent, with people going up and down to the supermarket; not my favorite reading spot Starbucks
  • This is my favorite grab-and-go Starbucks at PP
Western-most Starbucks, across from Bizou and next to IT
  • This is my new favorite Starbucks at PP
  • There is a staffer here who sees me coming from 50 feet away, makes my drink, and hands it to me as I approach the counter; this makes me so happy
  • The coffee of the day here is always on point and never burned
  • They steam my skim milk before adding it to my coffee without me ever asking
  • This Starbucks as the biggest seating area of all the Starbucks at PP; the tables and chairs are spaced out (there are even some sofas); and a lot of people read newspapers here in the mornings, so it's quiet
  • The tables here are made of upcycled coffee grinds
  • Because this Starbucks is in the Western atrium of PP, the light is much better here than the Middle Starbucks
That is all. Those are my thoughts.