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Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.
Sage: Promising Interior, Blasé Coffee in Dokki
Located next door to On the Run on Tahrir Street in Dokki is a little café that we've always wondered about but forgotten soon thereafter. We decided to finally check it out and see what this Cairo café is all about.
Sage is a tiny place with modern decor and seating, and a simple counter with a shiny espresso machine in the background. Though it was empty at the time of this reviewer's visit, it definitely seems like the type of café to stop by for a quick coffee to go.
Though the menu states that soups, salads and a mix of cold and hot sandwiches are available, all that was on the shelf were a few prepared box salads and desserts. Salads run from 6LE to 10LE for a chef salad; a steal compared to other coffee shops in the Dokki neighbourhood.
Seeing as how we like our foam, we decided to give Sage's cappuccino (9LE) a shot. We were disappointed that skimmed milk wasn't available at the time of our visit. the cappuccino came served in a small takeaway cup with a small amount of foam on top. Though the foam was indeed present, the coffee lacked depth.
On the other hand, the fresh mango juice (6LE) was nicely chilled and full of pulp, though heavy on the sugar. Other available juices include strawberry and orange; nothing exotic or out of the ordinary.
Also for 6LE, a cup of chocolate and vanilla custard is lovingly prepared with a great consistency and a surprisingly rich flavour.
Other interesting drink options include a sahlab mocha (12LE) and tea served with fresh hibiscus.
Sage is the type of café that you would go to when in need of a cheap cup of coffee and you aren’t particularly concerned with the coffee's quality.
Coffee, Java, Joe – no matter what you call it, we can all agree that a cup of it can make or break your day. Coffee houses like Starbucks and Costa have been on the top of the coffee game with a branch on almost every corner, and people have been flocking there for their coffee every time; but now there’s a new player in town.
Turkey-based coffee house, Espresso Lab, has arrived to Egypt, at Point 90 Mall New Cairo to be exact, offering you the unique opportunity to play mad scientist in creating the ideal coffee for you.
With a rustic, industrial aesthetic, Espresso Lab offers a relaxing and inviting environment with mostly wooden seats besides giving off a friendly vibe, it’s a great place for studying, working, or just lounging around drinking your cup of Joe.
The venue is of the self-service variety, where there are two bars each with their own set of features; the first has your typical large espresso machine, with an assortment of both savoury and sweet items and some cold drinks, while the other is where the ‘lab’ part comes in.
We picked up one of their signature cold brew coffee (30LE) from the main bar, which came in a small glass bottle reminiscent of a glass whiskey flask; the coffee itself was pure concentrated coffee devoid of any additions which had a strong flavour and a slightly acidic aftertaste.
For something from the other side of the spectrum, we had some hazelnut hot chocolate (32LE), which had a sweet, rich texture with a good amount of foam on top, and hazelnut providing a nutty aftertaste.
Looking into their assortment of sandwiches, we opted for the roast beef (35LE). Heated in a toaster oven, it had warm crunchy bread that contrasted with the melted gooey cheese in the middle perfectly, which in turn complemented the earthy roast beef slices and the addition of the tangy pickles and mayonnaise.
To satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered the chocolate (40LE) and raspberry (40LE) cheesecakes; despite the rather small slices, they both had a rich heavy texture, which made them well worth the price. The chocolate had a creamy, smooth taste, while the raspberry had a slightly tangy aftertaste that complimented the coffee flavoured crust on both of them.
We then moved to the espresso bar, where you can choose one of six different coffee beans – to be made in one of six different ways, including everything from French press and Chemex, to Aeropress and cold brew. The options allow you to adjust everything from the sweetness to the acidity of your coffee and we went for the Syphon (27LE).
With a smooth texture without the strong aftertaste, the coffee had a nice sweetness to it without being too watered down; we opted for some Irish syrup as well as some steamed milk to turn it into a latte which only enhanced the beverage even more.
Espresso Lab provides one of the most unique customisable coffee experiences you can find in the capital; as well as being great place for to grab a quick coffee and bite to eat, it’s also place where coffee snobbery is more than welcome!