If necessity is the mother of invention, then Bean Cafe certainly fills that niche. The brand new café, which opened on the first of December, was the creation of Lydia Suur, a Ugandan woman who is on a mission to bring modernity and comfort to southwest of Kampala.
“I really wanted a place where friends could come together and get a decent cup of coffee this side of Buziga,” she says. Her passion for design and creation, along with her endless energy means that every part of Bean Café has her personal touches in it. “I created the color scheme, picked out the fabric, had the chairs and tables specially made” she says. “The lamps are from Morocco, the candleholders are made by local artists and even my father in law’s painting is up on the wall.”
Everything from the lampshades to the sink in the bathroom has unique and specific touches to it. These eclectic but intimate elements create a space where anyone can feel comfortable sitting down and grabbing a coffee and bite to eat.
The café is comprised of an airy inside space, with a bustling counter full of pastries and goodies. Just outside are two large couches and tables, and just beyond is a covered patio. Plants line the wall, which partitions the eating space from the rest of Kampala’s bustling atmosphere.
Specific touches mean a lot to Lydia, who put in a ramp for those in wheelchairs or new mothers with prams. “I have a friend in a wheel chair” she says, “and getting around Kampala can be really difficult for the disabled. I’m hoping that slowly we can start changing that”.
“When I say I want it to feel like home, I really mean it” says Lydia, “I cook all the pastries and cakes myself. They are from my own kitchen so I can ensure they are made with quality and love.” The bagels, which are available with a variety of toppings, are from New York Kitchen, and the bread is shipped in from the famous Brood. For those who crave a healthier option there is also Bean Boost Juice, in a variety of flavors. But since coffee is her specialty and her passion she made sure to call on help from the top, with training and education encouraged by notable Ugandan barista Roberts Mbabazi. In this respect she is able to offer not only some of the best coffee Uganda has to offer, but decaf coffee as well, which is unique in Uganda.
Indeed, one can be sure that things will be done a certain way at this café. The staff, which have all had extensive training in the service industry are both quick on their feet and endlessly accommodating. It is easy to see why a place like this could encourage the droves of lunch break workers to flock here. Free Wifi for customers and the cozy feel of the café are encouraging to productivity. “We have people that have come, and they sit with their laptops and work, order some food, have some coffee, and just spend the day getting their projects done. I love that,” the owner says, smiling enthusiastically.
Bean Café has another interesting feature as well: take away coffee. While hugely popular in Western countries, the idea of coffee in a paper cup, you drink on your way to work hasn’t emerged as a Kampala standby. However, with the café’s convenient location, it’s easy to imagine Kampala’s many employees swinging by on their way into work, picking up a coffee, and heading straight to the office.
The prices at Bean Café are reasonable and competitive with coffees running the usual 3-7,000UGX and Pastries from 3-5,000UGX. “We just want to bring more options for people around here, and give them a fresh place to hang out, relax, and enjoy a decent cup.” Lydia says. It’s her hope that the café will only grow in time. With all of its features, and it’s fantastic location for those in the Southwest of Kampala, the Bean Cafe work it’s way into the local consciousness in no time.
Find Bean Café on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beancafe.Theplacetobean.
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