PROBAT: THE ROASTER
If you ever get the chance to go downstairs into the basement of Café Younes in Hamra, you will find there, sitting in a large, mostly empty room, surrounded by a few cases of juices, sodas, and water, the huge Probat machine that has been roasting Café Younes coffee for the past 50 years. At first look, it could very well be mistaken for an abandoned instrument invented by some mad scientist. Its yellow-tinted metallic color with various tubes, holes, and sounds make it an imposing machine, and one
cannot tell exactly what its purpose might be.
Bought by Amin Younes, Sr. in 1960, it was first installed in the Downtown branch of Café Younes, where Abou Anwar used to roast the coffee. It stayed there until 1975, the onset of the Lebanese war. 18 years later, as Amin had taken over the business, he decided to move the machine to the basement of the Hamra branch, where it can be found today, roasting 500 kg of coffee a day, three times a week, still operated by Abou Anwar.
The reason behind the unique taste of the Younes coffee can be attributed in great parts to this impressive machine. Unlike other modern air roasting machines, this is a drum roaster. Despite being less cost- efficient and slower, a drum roaster allows every bean to roast perfectly, using an artisanal method missing from most coffee houses today. Because of its rarity, this truly is the best roasting machine in the world, and that is why the Younes family has resisted the temptation
to replace it.