HAVEN FOR COFFEE LOVERS
At Africa Coffee House in Seeb experience the flavours of unadulterated African coffee amidst its traditional setting.
What’s better than a cup of coffee? A cup of coffee that’s been brought up straight out of the land of gold, roasted to give tastebuds and nostrils a golden treat. Yes, coffee is a morning ritual best served African. Fact. That’s why I religiously squeeze an hour on Friday for my cup of iced Americano with whipped cream at Africa Coffee House in Al Mawaleh.
Coffee drinking is often tied into a habit in which we all take part in. A morning with no coffee is no morning to me, and ever since I discovered that mixing Americano’s strong coffee with cream gives life, I’ve been drinking it like nobody’s business.
I found out about this cosy place after I went there to meet a client for a photo-shoot, and she said to me “this is the best coffee you’ll ever have, I put my money on it”. I nodded thinking to myself that this will probably be just another café with tons of typical options, but I was wrong, their Americano was as strong and flavourful as their homemade coffee that my mother prepares, and that won me over. Ever since that encounter, I’ve become a regular customer. But coffee isn’t the only thing that keeps me coming back here every Friday. The raw, traditional atmosphere is another feature that’s not to be missed.
As you enter the place, you’ll immediately notice the tribal interior that packs loads of character. The place is nothing short of a trip to little Africa. You have your puffy sofas, adorned with cushions covered in traditional pattered-cloth known as Kitenge; wooden floors and tables that give you a touch of rustic nature; a wall decorated with geometric and tribal designs in black and blood red; paintings and hand-carved African masks gracing the walls; an animal head; and miniature ornamental pieces on display including bedazzled sandals, statues, more patterned fabrics, and a mix of vintage and contemporary lights. Overall, a great place to chill.
I had the pleasure of meeting Nshimiyimana Saddam (simply Saddam), a very talented Barista from Rwanda, who mastered the art of coffee-making. With him I got to learn more about the African culture and their love for coffees. Saddam has been a barista for many years, working in five star hotels back in Rwanda, he has a ton of knowledge when it comes to serving this nutty drink. According to him, what sets apart African coffee from those of other countries is the soil, and the fact that they have less advanced methods of producing coffees. It ends up tasting raw and just delicious. Unlike Omani kahwa, African coffee is never mixed with other ingredients. No cardamom or rose water. At the café, they serve roasted beans from either Rwanda or Burundi.
The menu here is short and simple. For beverages, there are coffee house staples such as espressos, cappuccinos, mochas, filtered coffees, and hot cocoa, as well as frappucccinos with signature blends like Nutella beans. Fresh juices and brewed teas are also on offer. For quick bites, you can go for in-house beef sliders, or you can continue with the African experience and order a chapatti wrap with chicken, beef, or omelette. Daily fresh African snacks are served by the counter. Chicken and beef samboosa, chicken empanada, and chicken vitumbuwa. In the sweets department you have whipped cheesecakes, muffins, and my absolute favourite coconut cake.
This time around I ordered a number of things, for good measures. I had my usual iced Americano with cream. It tasted strong, dense, and amazing. Saddam made me a refreshing drink made of coffee and milk, topped with whipped cream, drizzled with coffee and caramel, and tossed with a bunch of coffee beans for additional nutty flavour. The drink was great, still love my iced Americano though. Your African experience is not complete without a glass of fresh, punchy passion fruit juice. The drink is a staple in almost all Swahili households, and restaurants are no different. The taste is fantastic and very refreshing.
To accompany my coffee, I had a coconut cake, a soft-yet-spongy baked cake, topped with flakes of shredded coconut. The taste was perfection, totally recommended this treat for those who love baked sweets.
This is by far my favourite authentic African coffee house in Seeb. Whether you’ll be coming here for their coffees and Swahili snacks, or to sit and relax in a tribal ambiance with music and free Wi-Fi, you will surely be in relaxation mode for the whole week.