Kenya gets to meet its own coffee (2nd part)

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12th of October 2017

Hidden within the National Art Gallery premises, in the shadow of Nyayo House, one can find a calming shelter among Nairobi’s hurly-burly. From the safari-like-tent where the actual cafe is located and its colourful kanga cushions to the beverages they serve, everything here is a celebration of Kenya’s culture. This is Pointzero Coffee, the creation of the two coffee-lovers Wangeci Gitobu and Andrea Moraa.

Why did you decide to set up a coffee shop in Nairobi?

Wangeci Gitobu: It’s been a long journey that started from a passion – a passion for coffee. We realised that we both loved coffee but we didn’t know anything about it. In Kenya, we grow the coffee but we don’t know how to appreciate it. We wanted to learn more about it.

Andrea Moraa: It’s something very social. Coffee is a culture. There’s something about a coffee and social gathering. It makes you feel good, it wakes you up.

W: People want a good cup of coffee. It’s common to find instant coffee so we do French press coffee and it’s nice and it’s fresh. It makes a difference.

A: At the beginning coffee shops seemed to be more focused on food rather than on the actual coffee. Plus you don’t normally find a cosy coffee shop in Nairobi. We wanted it to be in the middle of the city, a quiet place in the middle of the noise and traffic jams.

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Exactly. Why didn’t you just do what most cafes do and set it in a mall in the suburbs, where all the young people seem to be?

A: When we started we were told, “You’re setting up a coffee shop in town? Who drinks coffee in town?” Well, you need to get a leg in first, get some exposure and it’ll work out. It’s possible.

You get your coffee from small local roasters.

W: It enables us to choose the beans we want, roasted and ground, how we want and getting them fresh.

A: I’m not a roaster, I’m not an expert, so I need to work with the experts. Small local roasters work on demand and they do it more easily. So far we’ve just been working with one roaster, but we would like to try different ones in the future. Our dream is to identify the name of the coffee and the name of the farmer as well as a bit of history.

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Coffee culture.

A: That’s it. The same way we use the tent-like structure and the colourful kangas for the cushions to celebrate our culture, we need to start celebrating our coffee. We have coffee of the day and they always go with name, origin, a bit of description…

W: And, interestingly enough, people are noticing it. We’re seeing a change in our customers; they’re getting interested in coffee culture.

A: Exactly. For the longest time we’ve been a tea-drinking nation that grew coffee, now it’s becoming part of our culture to drink coffee as well as grow it. It’s very exciting that Kenyans are demanding good coffee. We are becoming more discerning, sophisticated consumers.

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Pics by Pointzero Coffee