Coffee enthusiasts can never get enough, as is the nature of the addictive habit. The many coffee drinks available also tempt one to keep on ordering one cup after another. Sadly, however, there aren’t that many places that offer a genuine coffee experience. Many cafés depend on subpar coffee blends and incompetent baristas, tarnishing the experience for many coffee connoisseurs. Kafein, a new coffee place that just opened downtown, aims at changing that.
We contacted co-owners of Kafein Dina Abouelsoud and Nadia Dropkin for more information. Abouelsoud is also the owner of Dina’s Hostel, a hub of cultural activities in downtown Cairo.
“The initial inspiration for Kafein came from the desire to have a cafe in downtown, which has a cozy atmosphere, serves delicious and affordable drinks, and makes excellent shishas. In areas such Zamalek and Maadi, new cafés, shisha spots, and specialty food joints are constantly popping up everywhere,” said Abouelsoud.
Kafein offers a different experience than the traditional coffee shops spread all over downtown. “And while the cafés surrounding the Borsa in downtown have sprawled out since the beginning of the revolutionary uprising, there are no places to get an excellent coffee in downtown, aside from the more commercial enterprises. Opening Kafein in downtown is, in part, about filling this gap,” explained Dropkin.
Both women have a clear idea on how Kafein should differ from the other cafés available around Cairo. They know that it is more about the coffee (and tea) experience rather than just offering drinks. “We imagine Kafein as space where one can quickly grab an espresso and croissant on one’s way to work, spend hours studying while consuming coffee after coffee, lose one’s sense of time with a pot of green tea and a book, or savour a latté with a date. We envision it as a space where global coffee and tea culture blends with the spirit of Cairo: eclectic and familiar, cosy and sometimes surprising, but always charming and personal. We are proud to offer a wide selection of artisanal coffees and premium loose-leaf teas, local herbs, natural seasonal juices, and, in the near future, some delicious sandwiches and treats,” said Abouelsoud.
Kafein patrons can always expect something new on the menu. “There is a pretty standard set of drinks that you can find at most cafés in Cairo, such as espressos, lattés, cappuccinos, etc. In addition to having our baristas make these drinks superbly, we serve single origins from freshly ground beans, a variety of Turkish coffee blends, and some flavoured coffees,” Dropkin explained.
Abouelsoud added: “Our Kenyan brew, for example, which has a light, sharp, and crisp taste, is quite popular already. We are still in the “soft opening” period during which we are finalising our menu. Our vision is to add a new element to the café scene in Cairo – a particular seriousness about caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages. We are training our staff to become coffee and tea experts so as to help to cultivate a certain level of coffee and tea culture in Egypt.”
We asked them what they would recommend for the coffee virgins. “We would recommend trying our iced coffee. It’s a dark Columbian black coffee poured over ice. Summer is coming and Kafein’s special iced coffee is light, refreshing, and just delightful to sip on. And if caffeine is not your thing, we also have a house-blend herbal iced tea,” Dropkin said.
Kafein is open every day from 7.30am to 12.30am.