Q&A with Dripp® Coffee Bar Founder Rabih Sater
It’s no surprise that coffee aficionados from all over are flocking to Dripp Coffee Bar, which recently opened in our Saks Fifth Avenue wing. The new must-stop for artisanal coffee draws compliments for its welcoming baristas, eye-catching midcentury modern aesthetic, pastries that satisfy sweet tooth cravings, and of course, the signature cappuccinos, specialty coffee drinks and teas. There’s even ice cream that can be ordered a la carte or as part of the perfect cup of affogato.
Founded by Rabih Sater in Southern California, Dripp is the result of Sater’s profound passion for authentic coffee flavors, whether it be an espresso that transports you to Milan or Florence, or the elusive Turkish coffee rarely available locally outside of restaurants specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Here, Sater talks to us about the Dripp trip:
SCP: What motivated you to get into the coffee business?
Rabih Sater: I have a passion for hospitality and the possibility of bringing great experiences to everyone. The people (at the farm level), the craft (the baristas), and the limitless variety of coffee from all over the world fascinate me. Specialty coffee is more than just coffee. It is a social beverage that brings communities together. It comes with stories and lifelong dreams. We become dreamers when we walk into a coffee shop. Some folks come to study, to teach, to enjoy the company of others, and begin a fresh day with coffee.
What was the reason behind your decision to open here?
I grew up and live in the OC area. South Coast Plaza has always been a unique luxury experience as a customer, and has become a SoCal standard for anything high-end. Opening a coffee bar here is sort of a dream come true and I want to bring my passion for great coffee to the South OC clientele.
What’s your favorite coffee drink and why?
My go-to coffee beverage is the ‘Gibraltar’, A.K.A. ‘G-Bar’ or ‘Gibby’. I enjoy this drink for several reasons: First, it has the ideal coffee to milk ratio. Secondly, It’s total volume (4.5oz), which is a great size for me. Lastly, the cooler milk temperature is tailored for this beverage to highlight the natural sweetness and nuances of the espresso.
We love your Journey Teas and the luxury approach. What’s the philosophy behind the selections?
Like coffee, my team and I believe that teas should be enjoyed similarly. We began producing exquisite teas in beautiful packaging. I asked the question before, “Why not make teas luxe?” Most teas in the market have similar appearances, and I aim to bring beauty and quality to our shelves with a multitude of options.
Tell us about the design of Dripp at South Coast Plaza.
The new coffee bar at South Coast Plaza debuts a new design aesthetic with a more minimal, mid-century modern inspired interior, fitted with premium materials such as brushed copper, carved stone facade, and a sleek patented bar design bringing an elevated coffee experience.
You have some amazing coffee making systems in the shop. Who’s the customer for one of those beauties?
Our South Coast Plaza coffee bar has a unique selection of merchandise and brewing equipment, especially with the bespoke La Marzocco Home Espresso Machine which can be customized with color, finish, etc. This is for the patron who enjoys espresso at home and wishes to complete the home coffee bar setup. We also offer copper finished kettles and pour over drippers for home.
What’s the thinking behind selling ice cream at Dripp?
We believe in offering something for everyone to enjoy. Ice cream is a classic American dessert so we have it by the scoop or ice cream sandwiches. It also combines well with coffee, so we offer an Affogato (vanilla bean ice cream drowned in a shot of Espresso) the Bozo (Black Goat Turkish Coffee + vanilla bean ice cream) and the Submarine (cold brew, matcha or chai shake).
We’ve heard compliments on your service. What makes your baristas stand out?
The baristas are at the forefront of the experience, and we aim to look for courteous conversationalists to brighten people’s days. The most important aspect of our business is for every patron to walk out of the door happy and satisfied.