At the corner of Bliss Street’s bustling little shops and restaurants stands Latte Art, a coffee shop almost always cramped with students. The interior only accommodates a few people, standing back-to-back to get their fresh bagels and delicious lattes. Aside from that, Latte Art offers packaged snacks and a variety of coffee drinks, baked goods, tea concoctions, milkshakes, and the freshest orange juice.
With every customer going in and out, one can hear warm greetings and personal stories recounted. The place seems familial, home-like, and always smells of fresh bread and American filter coffee.
A man in a lab coat walks in and high fives Naim, the friendly man running the store. At the other side, Moustafa, one of the baristas, asks a student how her assignments are going as he makes her daily coffee.
A poster hangs on the wall, reading: “NAIM GOT ME THROUGH MED SCHOOL”, signed by the class of 2017.
In efforts to explain the AUB community’s love for this man and this particular coffee shop, Outlook asked for a short interview.
Naim insists that I drink my favorite coffee while we speak, and he tells the story.
Latte Art opened in 2005 on Bliss Street, in a small shop next to Bliss House, and only moved to their current spot three years ago. Less than two years ago, they opened a bigger branch on Jeanne D’arc street, recently expanded to a new shop next to USJ, and are working on an LAU branch. Naim says most of the Latte Art customers are AUB students and nearby employees, but the majority of students come from AUB’s med school, due to the coffee shop’s close proximity to the hospital and 24/7 service.
Outlook asked Naim why he thinks people flock to Latte Art every morning even though the street is full of other coffee options.
“We provide great coffee and food. We also build personal relationships with the customers,” he said.
“We’re not far from our customers. We live like the students. During exams, we get stressed with them, we feel with them.”
After being asked about the poster inside, Naim smiles widely.
“The med school students gave it to me at the end of the year. It’s beautiful, really, makes me happy. You see yourself working hard at your job, and to see people appreciating you is the best repayment. All thanks to God.”
Naim’s positivity is contagious, and affects all the employees; young men and women full of energy and enough smiles for every customer.
“I love my job. I love what I do,” Naim concludes.
Next time you need a break, stop by Latte Art for a delicious cream-cheese bagel, some fresh coffee, and someone to ask about your day.