Coventry is not the first place that springs to mind when you think of top-notch coffee. However, Kahawa Café is doing its best to change that perception. It had only been open for two months when I visited in February, but it already seems to have established itself and gathered a loyal following. As is often the way, I found out about it through twitter, where lots of good things were being said.
The great thing about Kahawa Café is that it’s a really relaxing place. It also helps that it serves excellent coffee! It’s the sort of place you could easily spend the afternoon and, I suspect, even when it’s busy, it wouldn’t feel crowded, such is its uncluttered nature. Free wi-fi, a few power sockets and a lovely big sofa at the back all add to the allure.
What’s really impressive is that Kahawa Café seems to have achieved its success largely through word-of-mouth (and twitter) which says to me that they’re getting things right. It’s another of those places which, if I lived in the area, I’d be in all the time!
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
A friend of mine used to live in Coventry; the same one, in fact, who now lives in Bristol. The bad news for Coventry is that Bristol wins the battle of the coffee shops hands down. The good news is that there is an oasis to be in found in the shape of Kahawa Café just south of the city centre.
It’s coming on 20 years since I was last in Coventry and my memories of the city are a little hazy, but the location of Kahawa Café feels familiar. Not that it was here back then since it only opened in December 2012. As to why I was in Coventry again after almost 20 years away, I was in the vicinity, picking up my new Rancilio Silvia espresso machine from www.myespresso.co.uk. Having heard good things about Kahawa Café, I thought I’d track it down.
Kahawa Café is a modern coffee shop, handily-located on a corner. The first thing to strike me was the feeling of space and the relaxed atmosphere. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows on two sides, coupled with white paint and well-spaced tables, added to the feeling. I was there towards the end of Monday lunchtime and while it was fairly quiet, I suspect that even at its busiest, it wouldn’t feel crowded. Even the music, loud enough to hear, but quiet enough not to intrude, added to the atmosphere of calm.
Free wi-fi and comfy seats make it an ideal place to while away an hour or two. If you know where to look, there are a couple of power outlets as well. Apart from the sofa at the back, the comfy seats are arranged by the windows, so you can also sit and watch the world go by. Without wishing to be rude to Coventry, this isn’t as exciting as it sounds, since the view is mainly of passing buses… Despite this, it’s always nice to sit by the window.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that Kahawa Café is the latest in trendy third-wave coffee shops. There area no aeropresses, V60 filters or single origin beans here, just straightforward, honest espresso, with an emphasis on quality. I had a flat white to start and, purely in the interests of research, went back for an espresso. I also had what might be the biggest (certainly the widest!) muffin I’ve had in a long time. If huge muffins aren’t your thing, there’s also a selection of other cakes and sandwiches on offer.
The flat white was very good. The milk was dense and held its foam, while the taste of the coffee came through without dominating. However, the real test was the espresso which was excellent. It was just how I like it: not too subtle, not too many complex flavours, just short, strong and smooth with an excellent crema.
As ever, the staff go a long way to making or breaking any coffee shop and the two baristas were friendly, cheerful and helpful. It was only when I got chatting towards the end of my visit that I realised that they were the owner, Bally, and the head barista, Andy, who had come over from Brewsmiths in Birmingham. Their enthusiasm and passion for the place was obvious and goes a long way to explain its success.
|PORTAL HOUSE • 163 NEW UNION STREET • COVENTRY • CV1 2PL|
|www.facebook.com/KahawaCafe||+44 (0) 24 7655 3747|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:30||Seating||Tables, Comfy Chairs, Sofa|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:30||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:30||Cards||Visa, Mastercard (£3 minimum)|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:30||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Saturday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Few|
|Chain||No||Visits||18th February 2013|
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