Starbucks is opening upscale cafes where the smallest plain black coffee costs $4

Starbucks has opened an upscale cafe in New York City where a tall 12-ounce serving of plain black coffee costs $4.

That’s the smallest size Starbucks offers, and it costs twice as much as a 12-ounce serving of the chains’ signature Pike Place roast.

The cafe is called Starbucks Reserve, and it’s one of about 500 similar stores that the company plans to open globally over the next several years.

The cafe is named after Starbucks’ new premium coffee line, also called Reserve.

When asked why the coffee is so expensive, Starbucks spokeswoman Haley Drage said:

“Reserve coffees are exclusive, micro-lot varietals that are available for a limited time and in some cases, only once. As a result, we approach pricing these rare coffees as we would anything else based on a long-term, product-by-product and market-by-market basis.”

The Reserve cafe, which is located in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan, features artwork for purchase on the walls and fancy slow-drip, pour-over, and siphon contraptions, as well as other coffee accessories.

“This is not your regular Starbucks,” one customer wrote on Yelp. “This is Starbucks on crack.”

The cafe uses Starbucks’ pricey Clover brewing system which lets baristas “craft a single cup of perfectly brewed coffee with exquisite balance, depth of flavour, and aroma,” according to the company.

It also offers some food options for breakfast and lunch.

According to a company description of the store:

“When customers enter from the street, they immediately step down into a welcoming space anchored by a vintage rug and furniture sourced from local secondhand furniture shops. A custom three-dimensional abstract map of New York City is etched into panels in front of coffee bar, and a textured ceiling feature made of cardboard completes the space. Menus are hand-lettered pieces of paper clipped to backer boards.”

The opening of Reserve-only cafes follows Starbucks’ 2014 launch of its first Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, a giant 15,000-square-foot facility in Seattle that has been called the “theatre of coffee.”

The Reserve blends are made in the Seattle roastery, which also serves as a store where customers can buy and taste different coffees.

Multiple news outlets have reported that Starbucks is planning to open a second roastery in New York City that would be about 25,000 square feet and multiple stories.

Starbucks claims the reports are based on rumour.

“Assertions that we are bringing a Roastery to New York are rumours and speculation,” Drage told Business Insider.

NOW WATCH: This Starbucks hack will save you $2 on one of its coffee drinks

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.