Cairo’s best franchise coffee shop, in my opinion, is located on 10 Al Ahram Street in Heliopolis. Gloria Jean’s Coffees is, literally, the neighborhood’s coffee shop where regular patrons have been coming since it quietly opened its doors last spring. They take their books and newspapers, quietly nod hello to other regulars, and get down to enjoying their serious and seriously-good cup of coffee.
On the corner of its block, and inside two small stories, coffee is served. Those preferring charred coal for coffee beans only need to walk down two blocks to Starbucks, but inside at Gloria Jean’s, the coffee is deep in flavor, and properly prepared.
Gloria Jean’s Coffee is an Australian franchise, popular back home with over 300 outlets. Today, there are already three outlets in Heliopolis, and two more are set to open in the near future, one in Smart Village and the other is yet undisclosed.
So what makes their coffee so good? Well, like the friendly staff member who serves me most mornings when I dash inside for my morning cup tells me, it’s because of their beans.
Nine of the 28 coffee bean types are Rainforest Alliance Certified. A big friendly frog on the storefront’s window points to their inclusion in this environmentally friendly club, informing me as I sip my cappuccino every day that the forest from which my coffee beans have been sourced have not altered any ecosystem nor harmed any wildlife, including that smiling frog which the cashier informs me is the most delicate creature of a forest’s ecosystem.
For me, however, the place’s best feature is its understanding of how real coffee drinks should be prepared.
Cappuccinos have that precise layer of foam, a latte is milky, while its coffee shots are not weak. Ristrettos and macchiatos are as authentic as can be as if one is in Italy.
And yes, high sugar and strong coffee concoctions are also available here. A High Voltage drink needed for a rough day gives a wallop of ginseng, garana and espresso; whereas more tame drinks such as chai lattes, fruit chillers, and coffees over ice are available.
And if so compelled, one can take the experience home. A 200 grams bag of coffee beans will set you back LE 55, and coffee plungers and flavors are also on offer.
But I’ll still keep going most mornings; you can’t replicate their coffee topping of whipped cream at home.
Gloria Jean’s Coffee: 10 Al Ahram Street, Heliopolis.
Other locations include Oasis Village, Airport Road; Masakin Sheraton.