Barista Pioneering Local Italian Espresso
You’re not Lebanese if you don’t enjoy a good cup of coffee. While the coffee in question tends to be of the Turkish variety, Lebanese are becoming fonder and fonder of the quintessential Italian espresso. I know that to be true because at the office, my colleagues are opting for the uniformly consistent richness of a machine-made espresso to the unpredictable, residue-filled cup of Lebanese coffee hastily prepared over the stovetop.
When I heard that Barista has been a local pioneer in Italian espresso dating back to 1999, I was impressed. I didn’t realize such a refined blend of coffee portioned in a convenient pod and processed by a sophisticated machine could be local-born.
Don’t get me wrong—I have immeasurable faith in the potential of Lebanese entrepreneurship. Otherwise, I would never have relocated to Beirut after college. But I just assumed that Lebanese people would leave it to the original specialists in espresso-making, our cousins-in-jest, the Italians.
Barista belongs to Automatic Brewers SARL, which is the sister company of the Lebanese Roasting Group (you’ll recognize their brands Café Daniel and Castania Nuts). Their plant is housed in the industrial district of Dekweneh, where over 1.5 million espresso pods derived from pure roasted Arabica beans are produced monthly.
A few days ago, I was invited to the launching of the latest prototype of the Barista machine at La Posta, a beautiful Italian restaurant with an expansive green terrace. Brunch was hosted outdoors under the radiant sun, and guests were introduced to the new contraption—in red, black, and military print—as they noshed over delectable food.
|Fresh-baked panettone with a cup of "Auro Perfetto" espresso|
There are four blends of espresso. “Auro Perfetto” is a well-rounded signature roast of premium beans that strikes a fine balance between mild and acid notes. “Intenso” is, as expected, a dark and intense flavor with a smooth, lingering finish. There’s Decaffeinated for the caffeine-averse. And for a truly local aroma, Cardamom hits the spot.
|The latest Barista espresso maker|
If you’re looking to outfit your home with one of Barista’s sleek espresso machines, they’re very reasonably priced and start at $110. Pods come in packs of 20 ($5.50 - $6.60) or 150 ($36.30 - $39.60). Best part? The capsules are designed to be identical to Nespresso’s, so you can mix and match machines and pods seamlessly.
Hats off to Barista for making grounds (pun intended) in Lebanon’s coffee sector! I always appreciate a local success story, and Barista is undeniably one of them.
|La Posta's lavish dessert spread|