One of the pioneers of Sri Lanka’s evolving coffee culture, and the largest and first international chain in Sri Lanka, Barista is today a household name among coffee lovers spread all across the nation. Having first established in Colombo in the year 2002, Barista now has twelve outlets and a growing number of coffeeholics patronising their finely brewed Italian coffee. Coupled with delicious food and friendly service, Barista has reached the peaks of the café scene of Sri Lanka for their innovativeness and new initiatives that keep their patrons coming back for more.
To serve all these and more, to the largest possible number, Barista has spread itself across the island in central and convenient locations in Colombo such as the National Museum outlet near Nelum Pokuna, Laksala outlet at Thummulla, at the World Trade Centre in the heart of the business district and in Bambalapitiya where most of the younger generation hangs out. Outside Colombo, Barista ensures their signature coffee and the best service can be enjoyed at key holiday destinations such as the Peradeniya Gardens in Kandy, at Galle Fort, Ella and Mirissa. The outstation outlets specifically attract many international visitors who look for a familiar brand during their travels.
Their strengths lie in the four main elements that they believe need to be at its best to serve excellent coffee: The coffee blend, machines, grinder and skilled baristas. Barista uses the blend Lavazza Gold from Italy which gives out a complex, sharp and slightly chocolatey flavour and good aroma. This is made from coffee beans collectively gathered from Indonesia, Central America and Brazil and roasted in Italy. High quality Italian La Cimballi coffee machines and Cimballi grinders are used to brew the coffee.
“Our skilled baristas are our biggest pride. What makes Barista stand out from other coffee shops is the culture that we create of a ‘home away from home,” Damith Dalawella, the Training and Development Manager of Barista said of the passionate staff and the high quality service that they deliver. “Every barista is initially given full-fledged training of two weeks where they are taught of the different blends and coffee varieties. This includes in-class and on the job training.” However, the training does not stop there. The new staff members are rostered together with a senior, called a ‘pal-trainer’, for however long it takes, to observe and guide the junior until he or she has truly mastered the fine art of making the perfect cup of coffee. The café’s philosophy is that if the employees are treated well, the customers will be treated well. Most managers at Barista are those who have grown within the company itself from being a junior brew master to outlet or area manager later on. The dedicated staff and their innovativeness in service delivery truly keep their patrons on the edge of their seats.
Barista’s latest initiative is the introduction of an all new frappe range. “Frappes have gained immense popularity around the world. It has become a trending beverage that many look for and being an iced drink, it is perfect for the extremely warm weather in Sri Lanka these days” Damith said. They now serve three frappes, the Espresso, Caramel and Mocha. The Espresso Frappe is perfect for the coffee fanatic as it is purely based on coffee with an added crunch. Caramel has always been a flavour that is much loved with coffee and the Mocha Frappe is ideal for those who need their dose of chocolate.
The smiling faces of the brew masters who takes the greatest care of all their customers, the rich coffee and friendly atmosphere that Barista offers is what has made it win over the café culture of Sri Lanka.