South AfricaCaffeine (Riebeek Street Branch)
There are three branches of Caffeine in Cape Town and I went to the one closest to my office, with a friend, for lunch. The Riebeek Street branch is sandwiched between adult-entertainment establishments Moulin Rouge and Adult World, which is quite amusing and makes the experience of finding the place that much more interesting, but once you're inside the restaurant you quickly forget about the other establishments right next door.

Caffeine (Riebeek Street Branch)

Caffeine: is that a heart I see before me? I don't know. It looks like a splodge.Although we went for lunch [review], Caffeine is well known for its coffee, so I was interested to see what we would find there by way of cappuccinos.

The restaurant offers two sizes, Single and Serious, so I chose the Single option as it most closely relates to the rule (such that it is) of "regular size".

Once ordered the coffee was made and delivered quite quickly. Coffee Cocoa granules (which were, of course, a little bitter) had been sprinkled on top in the shape of a heart, although I didn't immediately realise this as the waitress didn't think to place the coffee in front of me so that the heart faced me (attention to detail counts, in my book). Instead it was placed at a weird angle, so it just looked like the usual dusted splodge, and I only noticed the shape because I was moving the cup around to take a photograph. My dining companion hadn't noticed the shape in his cappuccino either until I pointed it out to him. While a nice touch, the effect is completely ruined by carelessness.

Caffeine: okay, I get it now.I must also say something about the foam: the rule is to order milk foam (rather than cream) if a choice is offered, which, in this case, it was not, but my cappuccino's foam had a definite rich, creamy taste to it that is unlike the normal milk foam that I've tasted in Cape Town. I didn't think to ask about it, though (the reason why will become more apparent in my restaurant review), so, for now, it remains a bit of a mystery.




South Africabrainwavez.org Opinion
Where: 38 Riebeek Street, Cape Town, South Africa
Hours: Monday to Friday, 07:00 to 17:00
Phone: +27 21 421 0633
When: 25 August 2006
Size: "Single" (although it seemed a little small) [5/10].
(Size Note: There is also a "Serious" size.)
Foam: Not too thick, but fluffy, with an amazing rich, creamy taste even though I'm sure it wasn't cream. The heart-shaped coffee granules sprinkled on top were a little bitter, but it was a nice touch [8/10].
(Update: I have since been informed by the owner that the foam is made with low-fat milk and that the secret to making a good cappuccino such as this one is in "foaming and pouring immediately" to avoid the milky coffee a la certain other establishments. The sprinkles on top were also apparently pure cocoa, not coffee. Cocoa doesn't break down the foam like hot chocolate powder does.)
(Cream Note: I wasn't offered cream instead of regular foam.)
Heat: Hot, but not too hot (a very good temperature for me) [7/10].
Coffee: Excellent, creamy flavour, very slight debris at the bottom of the cup [7/10].
Price: R9.00 [?] (quite reasonable, although I would have preferred a slightly larger cup) [8/10].
(Price Note: Serious: R10.50 [?].]
Overall: Not bad. I was unhappy with the size but the heart was a nice touch. I enjoyed the taste of the coffee and the taste of the foam was spectacular. In fact, I'm very suspicious of how much the foam tasted like cream, although it had the consistency of milk foam [7/10].


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