The real coffee experience

By Leanna Talarico

            Old coffee bags used as art on the walls, chalkboard of what is in different coffee specialty drinks, the periodic sound of grinding and steaming, and the definite coffee aroma dancing through the air sure is a dead give away that this place is serious about coffee. Aldo Coffee, located right in the heart of Mount Lebanon, is not your typically coffee store.

Starbucks is a name that many know. However, though Starbucks serves coffee, gourmet coffee is not on its menu. Aldo Coffee opened its doors almost seven years ago and has been serving gourmet coffee ever since.

Sam Bastianini has been a barista at Aldo Coffee for almost two years. She says of her experience, “I really enjoy the coffee industry. I used to work at a corporate chain coffee store and then I got a job here. There is such a difference in the quality and taste compared to a chain coffee store. I would never go back to a corporate coffee shop.”

Aldo Coffee is filled with baristas, four of which go to barista competitions. The baristas learn how to do latte art. Latte art is when the foam on top of the coffee is formed into shapes like hearts, flowers, or just unique designs. If you order a latte or mocha you can be sure to see some latte art.

Bastianini talks about her latte art. “It was actually really hard to learn at first. It took a lot of practice, but it’s really fun to do and I can impress all of my friends when I make something really cool.”

Aldo Coffee has a very relaxing environment. Patrons can sit around and drink their coffee. There is not that typical hustle and bustle of a coffee shop where you feel you have to get up so others can have you seat. Aldo Coffee supplies games, books, and Wi-Fi for any patron. Sometimes, patrons spend hours in there just relaxing, listening to the music, and talking to the other patrons of baristas. Aldo has a robustly friendly environment. Everyone always has a smile on his or her face.

Aldo Coffee has been experiencing some changes recently. Melanie and Rich Westerfield opened up Aldo Coffee with a dream to bring Pittsburgh the best cup of coffee. However, Rich and Melanie left for Connecticut and are leaving Aldo Coffee behind to their good friend Sonja Schutte. Many patrons are worried about the change in ownership, but many are excited for the changes Sonja will bring to Aldo Coffee.

Schutte reminisces a lot about when she worked at Aldo five years ago. Her idea of change she would like to bring to Aldo Coffee is “take it back how it used to be.” Schutte enjoyed the spirited barista competitions and hopes that Aldo Coffee will regain its reputation for having the number one baristas.

Schutte plans on running the business with the help of her family. Luckily, her family is familiar with the business and knows how it is run. No one plans on making drastic changes that would upset customers. All the changes Schutte wishes to bring about are only to improve Aldo Coffee. Schutte’s first day of ownership was November 15 and so far all has ran smoothly.

All are sad to say goodbye to Melanie and Rich, but Schutte is excited to join Aldo Coffee, and patrons are excited to hear the plans for the coffee shop. The change has been very smooth and everyone seems to enjoy the change in ownership. One thing is certain though; the delectable flavors of Aldo Coffee are not going anywhere.