Caffeinating in Cairo: A Beginner's Guide to the Freshest Coffee Beans Around
Upgrade your brew game with the help of these fine, aromatic establishments.
Coffee is an essential part of your day, and Egypt has a reputation for its way around a bean. But with the recent hike in prices, it is becoming more and more expensive to pick up a ready-made cup on your way to work, much less, get your hands on decent instant coffee.
Cairo is known to run on coffee (among other drugs), and although there’s always the option of a quick instant pack torn and stirred into some boiling water that could risk burning your hands in your jittery haste to meet your deadlines, there’s always time later in the day to make up for the lost mazaag over a good fresh brew.
Whether you’re an espresso junkie gulping a quick shot between cigarettes (Italians shoot their espressos by the by), or a true connoisseur of Turkish blends with an appreciation for the experience in each sip, the cup of coffee we’re interested in is one you could always prepare yourself.
Open in Tagamoa’s Point 90 mall, right across from the AUC, Espresso Lab hosts a variety of exhausted students, and fresh coffee blends to keep them up and running. The lab brews from a variety of roasts and blends that you can purchase for your own consumption at home. Their main focus, and forte, is espresso, but they do offer an in-house Turkish blend. You can even buy many of the cool gadgets they use in the store, like French presses, stove-top espresso makers, filter paper, and much more.
A classic named-after-its-neighborhood store, Al-Ghoreya roast their coffee to light, medium, and dark. Their simplicity and focus on the quality of the roasts they’ve been known for since 1830 allows you to experience an authentically Cairene cup of coffee and the bonus stroll down Fatimid Cairo every time. Although we do like to stick to their authentic roasts, you could also try their flavored blends like vanilla, chocolate and hazelnut.
Shaheen is a 70-year-old family store that first opened in 1937, and is now managed by the third generation of Shaheens with branches in Dokki, Nasr-City, and Korba. Shaheen offers the biggest variety of coffee beans and blends yet; Turkish, Arabian, Espresso and Filter. They source their coffee from a variety of beans as well, including Colombian and Guatemalan, but the variety of blends they offer is what stands out the most about Shaheen. You could always check out their online store for reference, or visit one of their stores if you need a firsthand whiff of the good stuff.
Brazilian Coffee Stores
The famous Alexandria store has had a Maadi branch for a while now, bringing its classic blends, varieties and vibes to Cairo. The store poses more as a café where you can have a quick coffee at the bar, or sit outside for a study sesh in the cool Maadi weather. And this gives it the edge of the chance to try your coffee before buying it. They have a wide variety, from light to burnt, and with multiple spice mixes including cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom to add to your blend.
Abd El-Maboud started out in 1937 under a license by King Farouk, and their old store in Downtown Cairo's Bab Ellouk still sells their varieties. However, the family has since then evolved into a brand that has expanded beyond the physical store, which remains as a trinket of its history. The store was once closed by the governor in 2015 for a traffic problem it was causing due to its reputation (that good). You can find their recognizable El-Yemeni brand everywhere, including kiosks, supermarkets, and even other coffee stores around Cairo, making the old store the most accessible on this list.
Coffee is the cheapest, most legal drug around these parts, and now, you can take the trip to find out your favorite blend and roast through first-hand experimentation at these five stores. Pro-tip? You can always, always, ask for a custom blend, so get out there and go crazy.
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