By Kamau Kuria
Coffee is among the top three popular beverages in the world, along with tea and water. Coffee has been in existence since the fifteenth century originating in Yemen. It is believed that initially, coffee was exclusively used for spiritual purposes hence had restrictions on its use. Over time, the beverage has become popular in many markets. Coffee is prepared in various ways giving you a beverage that sets you on the go. The most common include Café latte, Café mocha, Americano, Cappuccino, Espresso, and Latte Macchiato. Most workplaces offer their employees a coffee break in the mid-morning, and in many households, coffee is a go-to drink for most people. Kenya’s coffee culture has evolved over time, with wine connoisseurs and baristas undergoing top-notch training and instruction.
Moreover, coffeehouses or Cafés have become big business, patronised mostly by the working-class. They offer a unique blend of relaxation, class, work, and refreshment. Which are the best cafés in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi?
Java house is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Nairobi, having set up its first shop at Adam’s Arcade in 1999. The brand is well-known globally, and in the East African region opened up outlets in fourteen cities. It started as an exclusive coffee shop serving varied tastes such as Mochas, Cappuccinos, and Frappés. In the course of time, Java House now has two sibling brands – 360 Degrees and Planet Yogurt, which have gained popularity among Nairobi residents. Beyond great quality coffee and delicious meals, Java outlets are designed with attention to intricate details in the consistent Java red color themes and warm lighting accompanied with choice art pieces. They offer ideal spaces to work from while enjoying exquisite service, meals, and beverages.
Indubitably making the list is Artcaffé, a brand that has worked its way to Superbrand level in East Africa. Artcaffé opened its first store in Nairobi in 2007 at the Westgate Mall. In its thirteen years of serving high-quality coffee, the most delectable pastries, and five-star meals, Artcaffé has become a favorite spot for many. All its stores have been designed by professionals who live up to its creative core. The ambiance is nothing short of life-giving and feels like a fresh breath of cool air. The service is exceptional, and one always leaves looking forward to the next visit. Significant to note is that the brand has an online store, the Artcaffé Market, that allows you to make orders from the comfort of your home and have your products timely delivered.
Gibsons Coffee house
Gibsons Coffee house is yet another top coffeehouse in Nairobi. It has three branches in the capital, one in the central business district along Banda street, in Westlands, and along Koinange Street. The brand has been in Kenya since the early 1960s, when its founding father, Gibson, planted the seeds that have reaped a mega-brand today. It offers uncompromised quality coffee and meals to its customers in creatively designed spaces. Notably, the Gibsons Coffee house produces ingenious products such as Kenya AA, Kenya Espresso, Kahawa Economy, Instant Coffee, and Kenya Gourmet. These brands have customers all over the world and make significant contributions to the Kenyan economy. With the digital move, Gibsons Coffee house has provisions for global online orders and deliveries.
Four Café Bistro
The Four Café Bistro is hosted by the Warwick Centre in Nairobi, having the Kenya United Nations headquarters, the Village Market Mall, and the American Embassy as close neighbors. It serves quality coffee and pastries and offers an array of international cuisine – Italian, Mexican, and Chinese, to mention a few. Fans of the Four Café Bistro love it for its indoor and outdoor spaces carefully designed to create a superb ambiance. Apart from food and non-alcoholic drinks, there are alcoholic beverages served at the Bistro, making it a perfect place to catch up with a friend on a Friday evening.
The Mug Coffee Lounge
The Mug Coffee Lounge located along Kaunda Street in the Nairobi CBD is one of the city’s best coffee houses. It is complete with fast internet service, excellent freshly-brewed coffee, and delicious meals. The designs applied in the space are effectively contemporary and warm. The Mug serves Halaal meals strictly and is thus popular among Muslims. The lounge also runs a bakery on the premises producing fresh pastries daily. Customer reviews have mostly favored the products, with the customers making referrals to friends and family.
Urban Grind Coffee & Grill
The Urban Grind Coffee & Grill is situated at Highway Mall along Uhuru Highway in Nairobi’s CBD. It prides itself in sophisticated interior and space design that creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers. The Urban Grind Coffee and Grill is a choice place for business and personal meetings held in the CBD, given its central location in light of several offices and workplaces. The staff are well trained, handling all customer needs with utmost courtesy and professionalism. The coffee is freshly brewed completed with artistic presentations that get hooked. It also serves delicious meals suitable for lunch and dinner meetings with friends, family, or colleagues.
Valley Best Coffee
Valley Best Coffee makes the list of the best coffee houses in Nairobi situated in the CBD overlooking Biashara and Koinange streets. It sits on the rooftop of a shopping complex, having indoor and outdoor spaces accessible to customers. Valley Best Coffee brews excellent Mochas, Cappuccinos, and Lattés, among more coffee variants. It also serves milkshakes, smoothies, and ice-creams that are widely popular among the city residents. The outdoor space overlooks the busy Biashara street from above and receives pleasant breezes that make it a perfect spot for relaxing after a hard day’s work. The customer service is additionally excellent and fast. Valley Best Coffee house should be on your list of to-go cafés in the city.