Judging Java: Orbis Caffe

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

4.5 Globes out of 5


Located just up the stairs from the Mount Lebanon T station is Orbis Caffe. Orbis is one of the best shops I’ve been to for this column, so trust me when I say it’s worth the short trip from campus to get.

The actual shop is spacious, and there’s plenty of room to have your own private space and stay away from others. For example, if you go and there’s still a global pandemic, or if you just don’t like being around people. Despite the open feel, Orbis still feels relatively cozy, but if you prefer a super intimate coffee shop experience, I’d recommend either waiting until the pandemic is over or travel to a state without coronavirus restrictions in place (if you do that you are an idiot).

One of the best parts of Orbis was the decor. There are plants everywhere, which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. There’s artwork on the walls, but the art isn’t everywhere, so it doesn’t feel cluttered.

One last thing about the shop: the music they were playing was some top notch stuff. Most coffee shops play the type of vaguely pretentious indie rock that I love, but Orbis really went above and beyond, and whoever curates their music deserves a raise. Some highlights include: “Little Dark Age” by MGMT, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” by Vampire Weekend, and “Sonate Pacifique” by L’Impératrice.

But enough about the shop, let’s talk about the coffee. Orbis’ coffee is terrific. Some of the best coffee I’ve had in a while. While it was served piping hot, it cooled relatively fast, and the cup ended up being incredibly flavorful. It was a medium blend with a perfect amount of bitterness mixed with just enough hints of sweetness to make it stand out. 

Another thing about Orbis: the barista really went above and beyond. She offered to brew the coffee fresh for me, which I really appreciated. I’m also assuming that she was the one curating the music since she was the only one working, so if that’s the case then she deserves a double raise.

Orbis utilizes reusable cups, which is a first for this column. The pandemic has really pushed the last few coffee shops that don’t use paper cups to switch to paper, which, depending on the material used, can be really bad for the environment. I don’t really understand this switch, because when you wash dishes you should be sterilizing them, which would kill off the coronavirus cells. Anyways, the physical mug really adds to the coziness of the coffee, and the overall pleasantness of the shop.

A recommendation for if you do go: order a cappuccino. Orbis does pour over art with the milk and the foam, and it looks very cool, especially since they serve the coffee in actual mugs. I genuinely do not understand how the pour over art works, but it looks cool.

Mount Lebanon may seem like a far trip for coffee, but trust me, it’s absolutely worth taking a book or some schoolwork and sitting down and enjoying a nice cup of coffee.