CAFÉ YOUNES:

A TALE OF THREE GEN­ER­A­TIONS

Lebanon Traveler - - CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS -

Dur­ing the 19th cen­tury, like many other Le­banese, Amin Younes Se­nior left his beloved home­land with fire in his soul and a dream in his heart. He set his sights on Brazil, which was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a pe­riod of great progress thanks to the ex­port of cof­fee.

Amin soon started learn­ing the secrets of the cof­fee trade and spent the next 20 years work­ing for Brazil’s cof­fee barons. Through­out this time though, he nur­tured a dream: to open his own cof­fee busi­ness in the coun­try he loved most, Le­banon.

In 1935 that dream came true. Amin launched his cof­fee busi­ness, which would later be­come one of Le­banon’s most in­spir­ing sto­ries. Café Younes’ first branch opened in Beirut’s vi­brant Bab Idriss neighor­hood. But things were not plain sail­ing. With the out­break of World War Two, the Le­banese cur­rency crashed, caus­ing Amin to lose a ma­jor part of his life sav­ings.

De­spite his fi­nan­cial strug­gles, he re­mained fo­cused on build­ing a cof­fee em­pire, roast­ing and grind­ing on the premises and dis­tribut­ing his cof­fee through­out Le­banon. His per­se­ver­ance paid off and by 1960, Café Younes opened in Hamra with one of the first espresso ma­chines in the coun­try.

By this time Amin’s son, Souheil, had joined the busi­ness with his wife, mak­ing Café Younes a fam­ily af­fair. The cou­ple went to trade fairs and roast­ers in Italy and Ger­many in search of the lat­est in­no­va­tions, best prod­ucts, iden­ti­fy­ing re­gional pref­er­ences for cer­tain cof­fee roasts and mixes. They cre­ated blends named af­ter the places they vis­ited, such as the “Mar­jeouini Blend,” which, decades later, re­mains one of their most pop­u­lar.

Souheil, like his fa­ther, was a self-made man who be­lieved that hard work pays off. He made sure to in­still this thirst for suc­cess into his son, and suc­ces­sor, Amin Younes Ju­nior.

Once at the helm, Amin Ju­nior knew that the Younes brand was ma­ture enough for the next stage of ex­pan­sion, tak­ing Café Younes from the place that serves the best cof­fee in town, to one that also of­fers de­li­cious food. To­day, the Café Younes brand is stronger than ever, serv­ing cof­fee to the old and young with as much authen­tic­ity and pas­sion as the very first day it started.

cafey­ounes.com

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