Caffe Del Doge – the famous cafe from Venice now franchises and a new store recently opened in Cairo at the City Stars Mall (2 Aly Rashed Street, Heliopolis West, Cairo). After wandering endlessly looking for good espresso in the mall, I stumbled across this cafe almost by mistake. I walked in curiously, especially as all the staff where wearing SCAE (Speciality Coffee Association of Europe) black t-shirts – so did this mean that they were all trained baristas ? Anyway, I ordered an espresso and observed the barista – he followed the rules, even cleaning the machine thoroughly before pulling a shot – looked at it, poured it away and pulled another shot on their La Spaziale coffee machine (the company that WBC Champion, James Hoffman of the UK works for). Ok ! so I was impressed by the barista’s attention to detail and search for perfection – it was worth it, a glorious crema filled espresso, dark reddish brown. The barista, Mustafa, didn’t speak much English, but he knew about “crema”, pointing at the dark reddish cloud in my cup with a smile. I was so impressed, that I thought, I’ve got to come back for more after some more shopping, which I did. I went back to Caffe Del Doge 2 more times before I left Cairo and my last was amazing, being served the best latte art cappuccino I have had – the milk was so smooth, I couldn’t even see the bubbles. The first time, the barista poured an apple heart and seeing that I was impressed, took my cup away and did some more stuff with chocolate syrup, whereby he squeezes chocolate sauce onto the milk froth cloud and draws circles, etc. I watched him with great concentration as I am trying to learn latte art myself. As I didn’t have my lovely Nikon Camera with me, I took 2 pictures on my phone. I discovered too that one of the baristi – the one that served me latte art, was ranked 3rd during the Egyptian national barista championships.
I was also tempted to buy some coffee beans, which I did, their Doge Rosso arabica blend, which I tried recently but, sadly it wasn’t as fresh as the stuff they serve. In any case, you can also buy stuff like moka pots, biscotti, cups and other memorablia – and food is of course served along with desserts. For me in any case, the espresso served in Caffe Del Doge is the best I have been served in any mall I’ve been to in the World, because sadly most malls are dominated by chains whose main focus is to serve coffee quickly with little attention to detail.