As yet another South African franchise, Mugg & Bean, lands in Zimbabwe I take a look at a few of the best coffees already available in our fine city. As with all my challenges there were rules. So in each place I ordered a cappuccino, regardless of whether there were speciality options. I rated each on coffee taste, strength, milk/water ratio, foam and presentation – here are my findings…
1. Antique Rose Cafe, Ashbrittle – $2
My new favourite, this cappuccino hit all the right notes: a nice tasty, rich coffee flavour without being too strong or too weak, neither too watery nor too milky. I was like ‘Goldilocks’ and this was ‘just right’ with a good firm foam on top and a little biscuit thrown in for good measure.
2. Queen of Hearts, Highlands – $2
This cappuccino (pictured) was recommended to me and for good reason. A good tasty coffee, nice foam, great presentation – but as I’m forced to be hypercritical this was just a bit weak for my liking, which kept it from top spot.
3. 40 Cork Road, Avondale – $2
This was actually my favourite tasting coffee (bragged about on the menu as triple ‘A’ grade beans from ‘La Lucie’ estate) but on the day a poor effort in terms of foam, which was more like milkshake bubbles than steam frothed milk, let them down. Definitely a contender for top spot on their day.
4. Giovanni’s Cafe, Arundel – $1
Imagine my surprise in finding that the cheapest cappuccino on my list was in upmarket Arundel Village, and this is no cheap imitation – a great coffee that was only beaten into the top three by offerings that really went that extra mile.
*BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
5. (tied) Freshly Ground, Borrowdale – $2.20
A nice rich coffee taste and good foam but why oh why is this 20c more than basically all the others? (and this is their small cappuccino) – it’s good but not that good.
5. (tied) Café Nush, Avondale – $2
Once upon a time ‘Italian Bakery’ in Avondale was the first and last word in cappuccinos in Harare. Café Nush, the new tenants in this location, do a very decent job of trying to continue that tradition, but they definitely still have work to do if they are to be a serious title contender. Again, good but not great.
7. Café da Eros, Belgravia – $2
And the Italian Bakery itself renamed and moved to become Café da Eros. They still make good cappuccinos but in spite of the weird square cup mine was served in, this did not excite. Either they have slacked or the new players have got more game.
8. The Butcher’s Kitchen, Borrowdale – $2
Another very decent attempt and I rate their presentation but on the day this was a bit weak and watery although the actual ‘coffee bean taste’ would have been very nice at a proper strength.
9. Book Café, Avenues – $2
I drink most of my cappuccinos here and so I know well that they vary wildly in quality. This particular coffee was full bodied and tasty if just a bit too strong and too milky. Book Café is THE place for the most ridiculous foam though – sometimes a good 15mm higher than the edge of the cup.
10. The Circle, Borrowdale – $2
I have a feeling this may actually be the most authentic representation of what a real ‘cappuccino’ is supposed to be like – a deep, rich coffee taste, strong without being overpowering. But I think most people’s tastes prefer something milkier and closer to a latte these days which maybe is unfair, but then their cheap looking ‘canteen’ style presentation lets the whole thing down as well.
Do you know another café serving great cappuccinos? Please let us know.