I was at NightJar Coffee, Dubai

Lucky me…. really. I was in Dubai in mid-March, just before the lock down, flight bans, quarantine and more and just got back to Vienna on the last couple of flights until July 2020.

Back to lucky me…. I was actually in Dubai to investigate the possibility of moving there to set up a business/life coaching consultancy, which would also involve… you guessed it… working as a coffeepreneur. In any case, I was talking to Yashood, head barista of %Arabica on the Dubai cafe culture, specifically on the explosive coffee roasting trend and he recommended that I check out a newish joint, Night Jar – located in the trendy arty district, called Alserkal Avenue. I must admit that during our family vacation in July 2019, we visited Alserkal Avenue to check out a chocolate cafe/factory and I walked by Night Jar, but it looked closed, so I never ventured in.

LUCKY ME… because even with just one week in Dubai during these tough times, I was still able to discover and experience great coffee in Dubai.

Night Jar is located at Unit G62 Alserkal Avenue Al Quoz Industrial 1, close to the main entrance and you could easily miss it,  as the exterior is darkish with glass doors and their logo on top. As you walk in, there are rows of coffees on the right hand side for you to buy,

If you look slightly to your left, you’ll see a tiny hallway feature that looks closed to all but staff (I found out later that this passage leads to the roasting area, equipped with a Geisen coffee roaster). As you look further to your left, you’ll see the brew bar and delicious looking cakes on display. They have a BlackEagle espresso machine –

Being inquisitive, I asked about their roaster and was introduced to Chad from Cape Town, who previously worked for Truth Coffee for 5 years (an insight – when I moved to Cape Town in 2009 my initial plan was to launch Truth Coffee with David Donde but I felt that my heart was somewhere else – a lesson for anyone chasing their goals, which I also write about daily on Instagram as honestmanagement) – Nevertheless, what a coincidence, that I walk into a cafe in Dubai and the roaster used to work for a place I almost started out at. In any case during our brief chat, I could tell that Chad is a no nonsense kind of coffee guy – focused on sourcing and roasting the best with an innovative edge. He recommended that I try an espresso of their Colombian coffee, which was about to finish

I must confess it was one of the best espresso I’ve had in a cafe for a while – well balanced between acidity and fruity undertones and smooth to drink.

I couldn’t agree more.😋

However, I definitely needed to buy their coffees – Chad suggested their Rwandan coffee for espresso and the Kenyan for filter, which he very kindly refused for me to pay.

I was also tempted to buy a slice of cake, but we had just had one at Tom&Serg around the corner – my daughter was slightly upset as she said “daddy, we could have had these nice cakes here…” next time God willing.

More about NightJar – they source micro and nano lots, so their specialty coffee offering is really special as you might taste something incredible one day that may not be available the next – so buy the bag whilst you can. Their interior is L shaped, cosy and intimate – they also offer food and their menu looks great, I mean stuff like pulled ox benedict, Nigeria love rice, NZ meatballs, veggie specials and more – yum! so next time, I plan to make a meal of it (coffee, lunch and dessert) God willing. They offer nitro coffee, which is a sort of cold brew coffee charged with nitrogen to give it a rich, creamy head, similar to nitro draft beer like Guinness – in fact at Nightjar, the brew heads for nitro coffee look like how beer is dispensed but being Dubai, there’s no beer here.

Before I sign off, I have mention that I really love their fun theme on their packaging.

Very innovative.

I plan to meet their owner, who hails from New Zealand and who coincidentally again, is known by one of my contacts in Dubai.

When the quarantine is out, I strongly advise any serious coffee nerd to visit Nightjar in Dubai – until then they are selling their coffees online – lucky Dubanites (is that a word?) visit them here right now to order https://nightjar.coffee

 

Is this My Favourite Coffee Shop in the World? Prufrock Coffee, London

I often get asked, “So, Lameen what is your favourite coffee shop in the World?”. It’s a bit of a tricky question, because the modern age consumer doesn’t get easily satisfied with just the product – they want an experience. Sure, I’ve had great coffee in cafes, where I wished they had been a bit friendlier and the opposite holds sway too – good customer service but mediocre coffee. I often try and process that very quickly but I see that the questioner starts to get impatient – expecting me as a coffee lover to just pop out the answer. Furthermore, they get even more impatient when I start saying for espresso, it was…. and for filter, it has to be….. and I just really loved the concept and the staff at…… So, not to burden them with my complicated musings, I will default to Prufrock Coffee in London. And, you guessed it, “but why?”. Then I think to myself, if I have to start explaining the experience, that it was started by a former WBC Champion, that companies approach them to test new technology, that they started using reverse osmosis water, that they have a great barista academy, that they gave me a free barista tasting session, that I learnt a lot from chatting with them for hours, etc. Then they tune off.

So, I thought to myself, actually, when was the last time I visited Prufrock coffee and I realised shamefully that I hadn’t been back to Prufrock Coffee for about 6 years. After all, my post on my first visit in 2011 (read here) was so popular that the tweet advertising it, was retweeted by Square Mile Coffee Roasters and got me my most hits back then in one day – over 300. In addition, one of my pictures, when I used to use a Nikon Camera for all my coffee and food photos – was liked by Prufrock so much, they gave me a free tasting class – read here. So, I was well overdue a visit.

Located on 23-25 Leather Lane, Prufrock is on a busy week day market street. It is unusually big for a classic London specialty coffee shop and on their website, they even highlight that. I won’t go into the aesthetics, as you can read that in my original posts from 2011, however somethings have changed – more retail space to sell coffee, t-shirts and more and a stronger focus on food, without compromising on coffee of course. Prufrock are still very closely associated with Square Mile, so you can buy their coffees here too.

As you can see from above, they are very much still into the provision of both barista and specialised “coffee ” related training. Their website offers more options and if you recall from one of my earlier posts in 2019, I mentioned that they new coffee roasters in Vienna, Jonas Reindl, were trained by Prufrock. So a Coffee Lover’s Dream – Prufrock it still is. and I know that if I want to take my aspiring coffee career to the next level, it will start from Prufrock. In fact, even though I know it was lunchtime, it was quite busy and I just about got a space to sit. I noticed also, that a few tourist were visiting, buying souvenirs.

Now to the the coffee and my visit.

Visiting at lunchtime was probably not the best idea, but I needed great coffee as early as possible in the day. As you can guess, their fame has blossomed and not only was the cafe busy with what looked like regulars, but a few touristy looking customers were also paying homage. In fact I was lucky to get a sit, which was pleasantly opposite the brew bar, decked with the Victoria Arduino VA388 Black Eagle and accompanying Victoria Arduino coffee grinders.

 

For the coffee, they had two choices and if you have time and are serious, you can enquire which blend would be good for the type of coffee you desire – I was so excited to be “back” that I ordered two; the fruitier version as an espresso and the not so fruitier one as a piccolo.

 

Great of course. I started with the espresso and finished off with dessert – the piccolo.

After my coffees I wandered over for a chat to meet the baristi, Jake, who took my order and Aga, who prepared them. As Aga was busy making more great coffees, I had a chat with Jake, asking him about how long he had been working there and sharing with him my passion for coffee, etc. Very friendly, adding the experience of course. Before I left to rejoin the family, I noticed a delicious looking cake – I can’t remember now, but it had a rosemary and strawberry – very unique and the size of the slice was enough for two, so I bought that together with Square Mile’s Palestina Coffee for filter brewing.

Ah! so happy I went back and I pray it won’t be another 6 years before I visit. Still a great place for coffee and I think when I visit again, I’ll be doing more than just drinking coffee as I plan to start investigating adding the word “coffee” into my next career path, God willing.

So, is Prufrock my favourite coffee shop in the World? If I wanted to ask anyone or start a serious coffee career, they will top my list no doubt because I know that they are completely dedicated to coffee.

For more on offer at Prufrock, I defiantly recommend visiting their website; https://www.prufrockcoffee.com

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