Judging Java: Mediterra Cafe

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

4 Globes

Beverly Road is one of Mount Lebanon’s most notable locations, specifically the section of the road between Overlook Drive and Meadowcroft Avenue. Lined with shops and restaurants, as well as one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic ice cream spots — Scoops on Beverly — this road feels less like a road and more like a cute, isolated community.

On that road sits Mediterra Cafe, one of the best places in the city. Mediterra has it all – delicious breakfast, great pastries, flatbread pizzas, a fully stocked cocktail bar, a marketplace for high quality cooking ingredients, charcuterie boards, and most importantly — coffee.

One thing I look for in coffee that I personally enjoy is richness. While I like a bitter cup of coffee, that bitterness needs something behind it to taste good. A good coffee roast utilizes contrasting flavors to create something totally unique. The reason I’ve had so many negative things to say about a lot of chain coffees is because they fail to create this contrast. Their massgrown beans end up being nothing more than a bitter cup of mediocrity.

Mediterra is the opposite of this — their coffee is incredibly complex and goes down smoothly. Putting aside my massive neurological addiction to caffeine, I genuinely enjoy drinking their coffee. Even just a straight cup of black coffee is delicious.

That being said, I personally recommend going for something with foam, whether it’s a cappuccino or a latte. While some places won’t deliver on foam, Mediterra consistently does. Their foam is a rich, thick foam, but it isn’t too dry. Once again this foam creates a good contrast with the espresso, which makes the coffee much better.

Mediterra also has some absolutely fantastic breakfast, my favorite being the “Breakfast of Champions” which is avocado, eggs, bacon, and toast. While their “Breakfast of Champions” is delicious, it raises an important question: what actually is the breakfast of champions?

Historically speaking, Wheaties has been the breakfast of champions, this marketing goes back over one hundred years. But at the same time, that’s simply marketing. Do all of these championship athletes eat Wheaties for breakfast? If they all started eating Eggo waffles for breakfast would it become the breakfast of champions? Who gave Wheaties the authority to declare themselves the breakfast of champions, and how is their claim to the title any more or less valid than Mediterra’s claim (aside from the fact that Wheaties was there a hundred years prior).

Wheaties’ sales have declined 78% in the past several years. Usually I don’t look to money to determine my opinions. I believe in looking past capitalism, even on frivolous debates on the logistics of marketing terminology, but at the same time I must admit, a 78% decline in sales indicates to me that Wheaties is no longer the breakfast of champions, and is nothing more than a mediocre cereal.

Mediterra Cafe, on the other hand, is nothing short of the breakfast of champions. To use terminology that the cool young kids are using, their food slaps. And to use terminology that any normal person would use, their coffee is really good.