Nowadays coffee is more than just a caffeinated beverage that kick starts your day.
For me, Espresso is the original Facebook. Coffee is all about socializing, getting together with friends, family and colleagues. During the past 7 years that I have worked for Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts in several positions, across different cities and countries, I have truly enjoyed experiencing the commitment from the brand to bring the European coffee house culture to life in our properties.
Just recently, I had the opportunity to join the opening night of the newly renovated Le Méridien Vienna and see guests and locals coming together to socialize over a cup of coffee or a cocktail in the signature Hub, our re-interpreted lobby space.
Illustration by Judit Maldonado: www.juditmaldonado.com
Coffee is part of our day to day routine and compared to cocktails, every customer has a point of view on how the enjoy their daily cup. Increased awareness about the art of growing and preparing coffee has made the product easily comparable with wine. Which started as a trend is now a routine – we enjoy single origin coffees, get detailed information about the growing and roasting process and receive multiple suggestions of various brewing methods that can really create memorable and long lasting experiences.
I am really proud to say that Le Méridien partners with illy Café, giving their constant drive for quality and their strong relationship to the style and fashion industry which makes this company the perfect partner for our hotels. It’s an outstanding blend of Arabica coffee beans* from several different countries and it gives us the opportunity to serve a consistent high quality cup of coffee to our clients globally – every day!
*There are several species of Coffea, the finest quality being Arabica, which today represents 59% of the world’s coffee production. Arabica originated in the highlands of Ethiopia. It is sensitive to hot and humid conditions, and grows at altitudes of 1.25-1.55 miles. Arabica grown at higher altitudes is associated with the emergence of higher quality characteristics during roasting.(source: http://www.illy.com/wps/wcm/connect/en/coffee/coffee-plant)
The art of coffee making by Le Méridien Barcelona’s Master Barista.
Enrique Benito, Master Barista at Le Méridien Barcelona.
Le Méridien’s commitment to bring the destination to life in our hotels gives us the opportunity to indulge coffee with local flavours. Back in 2013, Le Meridien introduced its “Le Méridien Master Barista” program, intensive, interactive barista training as our associates take centre stage to share and showcase our passion for coffee. Our Master Baristas act as Ambassadors in- and outside of our hotels with the unique prospect to connect with our customers, internal and external and take their inspiration of the surroundings back to the hotel and interpret coffee with a local touch. See more at inspiration brewed here»
A Coffee Cocktail creation by Damiano Curro, Barista at Le Méridien Barcelona.
As the Le Meridien Hub functions as the centre piece in our lobby, its naturally one of the key areas where coffee comes to life, however the importance of this unique product touches points in every area in our hotels, the Restaurants & Bars, the in-room experience and definitely as a major part during events in our meeting rooms. The times are gone, when the quality of mainly filter coffee was unnoticed during events. Nowadays, meetings must be seen as an opportunity to create bespoke coffee break moments with our clients. After long mornings and days, these coffee breaks are our exclusive chance to connect creatively with our consumers. Tasting sessions, coffee infused drink recipes or simple a perfect cup of espresso or a cappuccino, a latte art workshop or a coffee masterclass – at Le Meridien it’s our mission to personalize coffee moments and involve our clients, it’s your caffeinated team building event that sets up for a successful event!
About the author:
Franz Zauner – Global Master Barista
Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
Franz Zauner was appointed Global Master Barista for Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts at the beginning of 2015, having acquired his skills and passion for coffee while working in a number of Le Méridien properties since 2009.
Initially part of the Food and Beverage team at Le Méridien Vienna, he gained several promotions and eventually moved to London, where he took on the position of Assistant Bar & Club Lounge Manager at Le Méridien Piccadilly. His consequent rise to Assistant Food & Beverage Manager, with its increase in responsibility across the hotel’s venue and event spaces, along with team management duties and his commitment to coffee culture brought him prominence within the company.
Franz now oversees the development and training of the Master Barista program for Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts globally, including destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the Americas. He works closely with individual hotels, as well as the Global Brand team to enhance the coffee service and quality experience for guests.
Zauner, a global traveller, is passionate about discovering new cultures, art and cuisine.