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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Kafficho Coffee: Popular Hurghada Café Chain Now in Zamalek
Located just around the corner from Hardee’s in Zamalek, Karfficho’s deep navy exterior stands out on the dark Mansour Mohamed street. The chain has two popular cafés in Hurghada, and so it was only a matter of time before it hit Cairo.
Outdoor seating is available at the café, where a few tables and chairs are cramped on a surface of stones that look like pieces of limestone. Inside, you’ll find higher tables and chairs, as well as booths to slide into.
The basic coffees at Karfficho are generally as good as you’d find at other big chain competitors. The latté (13.95LE) was strong and sharp – just how we like it. At 14.95LE, the hot apple cider was worth every piaster. The tall piping hot glass of brown apple and cinnamon sweetness was downed in no time. Although it lacked the spice promised by the menu, it was the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and the thick cinnamon sticks rounded off the taste.
The fruit fusa looked like one of the more interesting drinks on a menu that is actually quite imaginative. The tiered drink rests on a layer of espresso and is topped with a tower of whipped yoghurt, which is interrupted by slices of banana, strawberry, kiwi or orange, and finished off with a heavy spewing of syrup. The whipped yoghurt actually tasted suspiciously like whipped cream, but there was a little kick to it; so we’re choosing to give Kafficho the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is indeed yoghurt. The single shot of espresso at the bottom is strong and rich, the kiwi and banana slices tasted fresh and we were treated to a healthy helping of strawberry syrup to make up for the fact that there were no strawberries. You can also opt for the chocolate or caramel fusa.
The cranberry smoothie (20.95LE) was filled to the rim with ice and tasted more like a slightly rich slush puppy. Other notable flavours include coconut, kiwi and white peach.
Much was expected of the tuna and pasta salad (23.95LE), which began to disappoint from the moment the bowl touched the table. Even for a salad it looked a little messy, and was overall pretty tasteless – the tuna in particular. There was little seasoning or dressing to talk of, and there was no ruccola as stated on the menu. Other salads on offer include the chicken Mexicana, the classic Caesar salad, the Kafficho Greek and the crab salad.
For reasons beyond our understanding, the grilled three-cheese Panini (15.95LE) was served not grilled. The three-layered sandwich was pretty delicious, though; and is served with a big portion of crisps. Out of the cheddar, Gouda and blue cheeses used to make the sandwich, the latter particularly stood out. We did have one complaint, though; the bottom layer of the white bread became soggy and fell apart, presumably from wet lettuce and tomato.
Despite everything that Kafficho seems to do right, it offers very little that can transcend it in amongst the growing number of big coffee houses in Zamalek, and will function more as a convenient spot rather than a desirable one.
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!