I know it’s been a long time since I blogged and trust me I’m very embarrassed.Sure I can give excuses like I’ve been mad busy but surely I should have given myself a bit of “coffee me” time to share my exploits and thoughts on my latest coffee adventures, so here we go.
I had the opportunity just 2 weeks back to have an 8 hour stop-over in Doha, Qatar on my way back from Kenya and took the chance to meet up with friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time. Naturally, before I set out on my journey I searched on the web for coffee shops in Doha and found one – Flat White (not related to the coffee shop on Berwick Street, London) – more about that later.
Karak Mqanes , La Croisette, Porto Arabia 23, The Pearl Qatar
On meeting my first friend, he suggested we visit the famous Pearl Island and have a Qatari breakfast and I thought “why not”. As we entered the first place, Karak Mqanes, I noticed a sign “Try our Specialty Coffee” with a picture of latte art.
At first I was dubious, as on many occasions I have seen coffee shops trying to trick customers with pictures of latte art. Neverthless, I thought, let’s see what they have. I allowed my friend to order for me and then when he insisted I have tea instead of coffee, I had to be a bit firm as I really wanted to try their coffee. So I asked for a cappuccino before my meal and here it was,
No lies about latte art as you can see, but what about the taste. I must confess with milk it had an intriguing taste, almost like burnt orange and caramel – I can sum it up as a cross between caramelised nuts with with citrus lining. All in all, I would recommend it. About the food it was a bit unusual for me; sweet egg dishes and their version of shakshuka (scrambled eggs with tomatoes) but a place favoured no doubt by the locals. If we had a bit more time, I would have tried their espresso to ascertain the taste profile. So, in summary, my first coffee experience was of to a good start.
Next, my friend asked, where else? Having used the free wifi at Karak Mqanes, I noticed that flat white was not too far away – almost 3-4 minutes walk, so off we went in 38C of heat.
Flat White Unit 346 , La Croisette 27 Porto Arabia – The Pearl Qatar
On entering Flat White, it was similar to the video on their website – a strong focus on coffee with all the gadgets – cool drip, Anfim coffee grinders, relaxed feel, dangling light bulbs, cakes on display, mix of concrete and wood and of course a La Marzocco Strada.
The serving set up was different – you order from the bar and they call you – something unusual for the locals of the richest country in the World. Naturally I ordered a flat white and walked around to check on the barista prep style. After a few minutes, I chatted to him about the place and after informing him that I wrote about coffee and started naming all their gadgets, he looked up intriguingly and gave me an espresso on the house to try – bright citrusy. I also enquired about their beans as it said on their website that they were roasting but apparently they had experienced a few hiccups and hadn’t started using/selling their beans yet – they were using Barn Berlin (a famous roaster from Berlin). My flat white;
I must confess, I’m not a huge fan of citrus based coffees mixed with milk but nevertheless I know it was well prepared. I noticed the place was mostly populated by expatriates – I detected a few Australian accents – this was in contrast to Karak Mqanes, which was populated by Qataris.
So, there we are – in just a few hours.
Before departing for the airport I had lunch with a good friend I hadn’t seen for about 15 years and found out that he is also into coffee. He knew about flat white but suggested that I should have tried out “sweet moments” another specialty coffee shop run by a husband and wife team, selling great sweets and coffee. I guess this will have to be for another time insha’allah but if you are reading this and are planning on visiting Doha for a few hours or more, try them out and let me know what you thought about sweet moments, located Sweet Moments The Boutique, Al Muntazah, Tamar Mall.
And here The Pearl Qatar from above