I went through this very same thing when I started looking into getting my tour bike. They all came with bar-end shifters and after road bike riding for years with STI's trying to adjust to bar-ends was not working. I like to tour on both paved roads and also unpaved Rail Trails and just couldn't get comfortable maintaining my line while shifting with bar-end. Even though my first road bike used down tube shifters. STI's are so much quicker and stable with two hands on the bar, when in gravel this is nice. I also like to have a mirror mounted on the end of my left bar end.At the risk of redundancy I'm going to again suggest the Gevanelle brifters. They are available in 9,10 and 11-speed versions and offer shifters compatible with both Shimano's Dyna-Sys MTB rear derailleurs as well as road rear derailleurs and both mechanical (caliper, disc and V) brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. All front shifting is friction so they work with nearly any crank and front derailleur. Low low gears are no problem and the cost is equal to or lower than most brifters.
The problem I ran into with STI's with a triple crank and low cassette gearing is that the newer Shimano parts won't work, as per bike shop. Apparently Shimano changed things around so STI's would no longer work with Mt. bike gearing/derailleurs which is what is used on touring bikes. After some research and convincing the bike mechanic I was able to change out the small chainring and front derailleur to get my gearing lower, though still not as low as I need or want.
So your decision comes down to what you need for gearing to suit you're riding needs. If you want STI's you won't get as low of gearing then if you go with bar-end. There is always the possibility of finding some used older shifting components and a good mechanic.
As I noted above they offer all the accessibility of brifters with the durability and versatility of barends.