ISLAMABAD: Layered in sweaters, scarves, boots and gloves, Islooites have been undeterred by the recent cold wave, spelling good news for the capital’s café owners and coffee lovers alike.
“We initially sold five to six cups of coffee daily when this café opened,” said Nana’s Kitchen Café owner Irene Fernandez. “Now we sell anywhere from 60 to 70 cups”.
So just what are Islooites enjoying this winter? “I love my options this winter – it gives me an excuse to stay out and enjoy the season,” said yuppie youngster Mohsin. The growing culture of coffee in a traditionally tea-loving country is not going unnoticed by café owners; the mushrooming of cafés is a by-product of increased demand. “There was a time when coffee vending was limited to Jinnah Market or Super Market, but there are many options now”, Fernandez added.
With the rising trend of café hopping in the city, patrons are frequenting places not just for the beverages, but also for the ambiance. According to Sehar Malik, 25, the large fire heater at Nana’s Kitchen combined with their mint cappuccino “is the best”. Shahmeen Sheikh, 25, on the other hand enjoys going to Mocca Coffee in Kohsar Market because “it’s a cosy hideout”.
Some are in it for the social benefits, irrespective of whether or not they enjoy the hot beverage. But whether or not they genuinely enjoy drinking coffee or they’re using hot drinks to compliment savoury desserts, business is still business. To some, especially working professionals, anytime coffee is a worthy reprieve – Natalia Tariq and Haaris Qureshi love the hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts. “It’s a quick-fix for early morning temperatures”, Qureshi said, adding that for the price, it is a good bargain.
But as is the case with every cultural movement, there are the occasional naysayers who stick to established traditions of driving to a ‘coffeewala’ on the road and sipping beverages in their cars. “I still love my cream coffee from Jinnah Market and with the occasional dollop of ice cream they add, it’s such a unique drink”, said Muhammad Ahmed.
“Whatever it is, be it cafés or vendors there are a lot of young people out and about in the evening every day, fighting the cold with a steaming cup of coffee”, Fernandez added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2012.