As my cousin and I were coming back from a day trip to South Coast I told her I needed to get my daily fix of espresso and that we should go to Dormans… wherever that was located. However, since we had already crossed Nyali bridge with all crazy traffic, and also since it was already past 6:00 PM she told me that it was very likely that the place would probably be already closed by the time we turned around and crossed the bridge again. But she suggested that we go to one of her favorite hangout joints that served the best cocktails in town… oh and espresso drinks too. The place she took me to is The Creek Marina.
So they do serve the best cocktails in town, but what I really wanted to know is, do they serve good espresso? The waiter was nice. When we asked about their coffee, he told us that they only served espresso and cappuccino. I didn’t really want to go into the details of what he meant by espresso as opposed to cappuccino but I thought at least that was a start. I then asked him to show me where they made the coffee, and he pointed it out. I was glad to note that they indeed have a proper espresso machine. I don’t know if it was a La Marzacco or whatever but I knew that the barista would have to pull the espresso shots by hand and that was good enough for me. My mind was made up. I will order a latte here.
I liked the view and the surroundings. It was rather dark so I was not able to fully appreciate the view, but the little I saw was enough to convince me that during the daylight hours the view of the water must have been pleasant and relaxing. We settled down, and when the waiter came, I ordered a latte. At first the waiter was a little confused as to what I meant by a latte but after I explained that it was not too far off from a cappuccino, he said that he would go and talk to the barista about this. The barista clearly knew what I was talking about because less than five minutes later, he was back with my latte.
The latte was not super strong the way I like it, but it wasn’t bad at all. As I was drinking it I found the first couple of sips so be a little strange mainly because I couldn’t really place the coffee. But as I continued to sip the latte, the flavors started to draw me in gently but easily and I began enjoying each successive sip more and more.
Now being rather curious about this particular coffee, where they got it from and what blend they used, I inquired of the waiter for details. His answer was rather surprising to me and almost a little amusing. He told us that they used Dormans coffee beans, which they bought from the supermarket, Nakumatt. The fact that they went to Nakumatt to buy coffee beans is what really threw me off.
It was then that it all of a sudden struck me, the reason why I initially couldn’t really place the coffee, that is, where the coffee was from. Because the latte was not as strong as I would normally order, there was a slightly stronger than usual influence from the creamy milk than would have been if the coffee was pretty strong. Over the years having lived in the US, I have gotten used to US milk and almost forgotten how fresh and flavorful Kenyan milk is. US milk tends not to be as creamy and fresh tasting as the milk in Kenya I figured the combination of the creamy, Kenyan milk and the not too strong espresso shot was resulting in the flavor I tasted in my latte.
One thing that I am quickly coming to realize in Kenya is that many people do not drink really strong espresso drinks and so often when I order the equivalent of a tall (12 oz) latte, the latte will be a single shot and the milk will be really creamy. That almost seems to me like the makings of a different class of lattes right there. What I need to do whenever I visit Kenya is to remember to order an extra shot of espresso with my latte. This of course is the difficulty of ordering a latte from a place you’ve never been to before since you are never quite sure how strong your espresso drink will be until you’ve received drink order.
Oh yes, the Creek Marina is a pleasant place to hang out if you happen to be in that part of Mombasa.