Cappuccino Quest: Doughnut Hive At GrandWest, Cape Town, South Africa, Reaches A New Low
The sorry tale of bad coffee at GrandWest Casino And Entertainment World in Cape Town continues. This time two of us really took one (each) for the team in an experience that included revolting coffee and awful service as the cherry on the top.
Since rAge is currently taking place in Johannesburg I thought I'd dig into the unwritten archives and tackle a "cappuccino" (I use that word lightly) experience two of us from brainwavez.org had during the Cape Town rAge
earlier this year at GrandWest Casino And Entertainment World. It's an important one for our collection as it is a new low point that we've experienced in coffee creation in Cape Town, which doesn't have a particularly good track record anyway. The thought of the experience still makes me feel a bit sick months later. In fact, it's unintended but quite suitable that I'm posting this in the run up to Halloween.
During a break covering rAge Doane Smuts and I decided to use the time to work on the Cappuccino Quest. The Coffee Shop
was gone (not that I'd recommend going there for coffee even if it still existed) and I'd already previously tried Milky Lane (but haven't written it - short version: avoid) so we were left with very few options. However Doughnut Hive intrigued us with its vast range of options so we joined the queue to place an order.
The experience went south immediately. Two reps from a brand I won't mention that was exhibiting at rAge walked right past the queue to the counter and started placing an order with one of the "baristas" (I'm calling the staff baristas because the web site calls them that). Queue jumping is a practice that I absolutely abhor so I called the reps out on it and was immediately told by one that "it's ok, we know the guy" [behind the counter], as if that's a reason to be rude. Then he proceeded to continue his conversation with his associate and proclaim, in between and loudly, about how great the coffee was. I wasn't going to let his dismissive attitude stand and so, naturally, our conflict escalated into quite aggressive verbal sparring that, unfortunately, didn't result in them joining the queue as they should have. The barista continued to serve them and they got their coffee before everyone else who had already been waiting to be served.
Doughnut Hive's menu board offers cappuccinos in more than one size, as well as a selection of flavoured cappuccinos, so when Doane and I eventually got to the counter I decided that since there were two of us we might as well take advantage of the moment and order two different drinks. I ordered a Small Cappuccino for him and asked for a vanilla flavoured one for myself. The barista serving us told me they didn't have any vanilla. I asked for a hazelnut flavoured one instead. He told me they didn't have any hazelnut. Exasperated, I asked what flavours listed on the board were
available. He had to go and look, and then returned to tell me that none
I therefore had no choice but to order a second Small Cappuccino for myself. When no till slip was forthcoming after I paid I asked for one. He looked confused and then, after a bit of a delay out of our line of sight (scrabbling at the till, really), he printed one out, handed it to me, and said that once I'd looked at it he needed it back for the till. I explained I needed one to keep
, not look at. He looked more confused, then asked a colleague how to do it because he didn't know. I eventually got my till slip.
Our barista then asked if we wanted our cappuccinos made with sugar. (If you're making it with sugar you don't know how to make a proper cappuccino.)
By this time I was livid and absolutely regretting having gone to Doughnut Hive so I wasn't watching properly when he made our coffee, although I couldn't see very well anyway as our view was blocked by the baristas at the machine.
You'll note that the coffee looks nothing like what the company punts on its web site
. (As an aside, as much as we'd like to blame the green glow on Doughnut Hive too it was actually caused by the hideous colour-cycling lights that constantly beam on everything at the food court.).
Once they were made we sat down at nearby food court tables to evaluate the drinks. You can read the full review below but the short version is that they were the most vile "cappuccinos" we've ever had in our lives.
We can't help you to contemplate the life choices that lead you to being stuck at GrandWest, with no decent coffee in sight, but we can help you to save money by not buying anything at Doughnut Hive. Though some say they like the doughnuts we won't be going back to find out why.
Small Cappuccino: R20. There are also Large Cappuccino (R25) and Mega Cappuccino (R27) options, as well as various flavoured options in different sizes (supposedly).
Our order was only offered as a takeaway so there were none of those fancy cups you see on the web site. Instead we got your typical ribbed cardboard cup with a plastic lid.
We estimated about 200ml, although it may have been more. I didn't bother asking.
I laughed hard when I removed the plastic lid. My cappuccino (pictured above) had a thin veneer of something. Doane's cappuccino didn't have any foam at all.
When I lifted the lid steam was rising off the cup. The liquid wasn't quite boiling but it was very hot - way too hot.
I could see that there was far too much milk in the drink - on looks alone this was not a cappuccino (that would require some foam, for one thing), this was a terrible latte. As I began to sip my drink I felt something floating in the drink touch my lip and realised it was milk skin, which means that the milk was boiled. I also couldn't taste any coffee but as Doane and I discussed it I realised that the only answer must have been that the barista just grabbed a used portafilter and reused it without cleaning it or filling it with new grounds. There was virtually no coffee in the coffee. I can't claim for sure that this is what happened as our view was obscured as he made our drinks but I have no other explanation. As I got towards the bottom of the cup and encountered some coffee residuals that did make it into the drink the milk began to float like a layer of pond scum on top but by this point I wasn't even calling it a latte. This was bad hot milk - and it was awful.
0/10. I never thought I would experience worse coffee than what Jase Luttrell and I had at Denta Club
in Bangkok, or that we'd ever score something with a zero, but I was wrong. What Doughnut Hive served us was utterly disgusting. If I hadn't been reviewing it, which required me to finish it, I would have demanded my money back. The worst instant coffee imaginable is a gourmet experience compared to the milky-skin-infested swill we were served.
20 March 2016
Address: The Food Court, GrandWest Casino And Entertainment World, 1 Jakes Gerwel Drive, Goodwood, Cape Town, South Africa
Phone: +27 (0)21 534 9956
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week