Converting a nation of tea drinkers to coffee initially seemed like a hard task, but with many businesses capitalising on latte art, more Kenyans are flocking to cafés to experience the new ways of making the beverage.
Cappuccino or latte art is now so popular among customers who want designs on their coffee.
At MNkafe in Mombasa's Kaunda Avenue, it is a selfie on coffee or hot chocolate that is drawing customers.
Before a customer makes an order, she or he sends a selfie via WhatsApp to the café. The image is uploaded in a computer then onto the coffee art machine which prints it.
The process takes around four minutes from brewing to the art itself and the print is done using flavourless food colour.
Muhammad Nazir, the director of the café and who is also a professional chef says he learnt the art from Europe and Asia.
“Because of the selfie craze here, I thought it is something interesting and we introduced it two months ago. We posted the first selfie coffee on our social media pages and got a lot of inquiries,’’he says, adding that many customers love the personalised Instagrammable beverages.
The clarity of the selfie on the coffee depends on the quality of the photograph.
Mr Nazir says he bought the coffee art machine for about Sh150,000.
“We charge Sh70 for every art print while a cup of coffee costs Sh250,” he says. The cafe is known for its creativity.
I have also enjoyed an edible spoon served with my hot chocolate order.
“The edible spoon is made from silicone mold. People really get excited when they dip it into the hot chocolate and lick in its melted form. We sell the spoon for Sh50,” he says, adding that the café is also known for its Belgian waffles.
10 years in
Mr Nazir quit his job in Australia to venture into the food industry. He started with a catering service in New York in 2000 before moving back to Kenya and establishing MNKPatisserie serving coffee and cakes that later grew to a family-friendly MNKafé.
“We started with coffee and cakes, then Belgium waffles which we are now really known for. I used about Sh1 million to start the business, cash that I raised from friends and family, plus my savings,’’he says.
Now, after more than 10 years in the food industry, he credits travelling to different countries, going to culinary school and making cupcakes at home for his success.
“I baked from home for three months, then I went to Australia. But after visiting a few cafés, I decided to start my own,’’he says, adding he plans top open a VIP lounge in December.