Elizabeth Manriquez has "bean" all over the place. The barista helped develop the coffee bar at Gesine's in Montpelier, and she's managed Capitol Grounds. As of two weeks ago, the coffee connoisseur has her own place in booming Barre. Manriquez owns Espresso Bueno with her partner, Patrick Clark.
"We offer all of the standard coffee and espresso beverages, smoothies, Italian sodas and a pretty good tea selection," says Clark. What's different about Bueno? For one thing, their mochas are made with homemade ganache instead of chocolate syrup.
Also unusual is the café's approach to brewing. "We make the coffees using a bunch of different methods," says Clark, so that patrons can "really appreciate the subtle differences . . . Different origins of beans and different roasts should be brewed at different temperatures." How do you get straight-up java junkies to buy in? Clark explains, "We're trying to educate our customers on that, like Dobrá Tea did. People can come in and try several single origins." Their single-origin coffees come from Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Co.
Manriquez and Clark also carry pastries, freshly baked by a local friend who is "flirting with the idea of opening a pastry business," says Clark. Can they survive Barre's new gourmet glut? Clark thinks so: "We all offer something different, and diversity is a good thing. People like choices."
In other coffee news, Rooney's 1820 Coffeehouse in Essex Junction has closed. Says Linda Rooney, "We're putting the building up for sale and moving to Oklahoma."