Dear Java House…

There is this jamaa @ university who – whenever he arrives at a new place – opens a bottle of the local beer and takes some time to chill. He told me it’s this ritual he’s been maintaining since he started studying brewery science (that actually is a subject you can study in good old Germany!).

(health experts might forgive me for the selection of chips today. i opted for salad yesterday – which left my unknown neighbour on the table with lots of question marks…”you’ll be hungry tonight..???”….”yeah, but it’s healthier than chips”.)

Coming to one of the Java House branches in Nairobi after some weeks in rural areas always is a refreshing change from a world full of lousy Nescafé “coffee”, way too sweet chai and rough stable food such as Githeri, Mathahaaaaaa and Ugali, not to forget the oily chips or “sicklisch” samosas as my colleague Zakayo calls them. And there IS a huge difference between these tiny samosas @ Mugo Shopping Complex in Embu and the ones which are served in e.g. Java House. In fact, I can’t even smell these greenish goat innards over here my other colleague loves so much. Fortunately. This other colleague from the slopes of Mt.Kenya tells me that “no mbuzi choma is complete without the innards served….in fact, me I can’t even say I had mbuzi when the innards are missing”. My colleague is around 56 years old and…heck, if he had a chance, he would certainly dress like one of those pick-up dudes who party with this earcancer-producing one man guitar show.

But I digress.

A singooool cheese baaggaaa costs around Ksh. 360/= and tastes just like it should taste everywhere in the world where they serve good food. And then of course there’s the coffee….oh my….I never knew I’d freak out for a simpoool coffee. The single cappuccino (sp?) goes for around Ksh. 100 /= – and should be part of every meal. In fact, people come here for the coffee alone.


Now for those who’ve been to Nairobi or who are staying here, the Java House is a well known location where you get decent food & drinks for a decent price at a constant quality (now that IS quality – same quality all the time), served in an appealing environment. And you get to sit next to some interesting piiipolll.

Whereas the Java House Gigiri often only offers an amusing view on UN staff and other aliens, the one downtown gives you a chance of sitting next to a couple that seems to have been trained by Iman & Peter Beard and look as stylish as possible. It makes me think of the glamorous 1970s Blaxpoitation Africa – and I like it.

So, my dear Java House, it’s these impressions I get while munching that delicious cheeseee baagaaa and sipping on my cappu. A good impression that always makes me think of this nice place when I am back in Embu with my cooked carrots, potatoes, slim samosas, overcooked sukuma and gristly beef stew.

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

9 thoughts on “Dear Java House…”

  1. Dude, you were across the street from Porterhouse restaurant. Did you have your steak dinner yet?

    Why did it take Kenya so long to offer great coffee to itself, instead of reserving it exclusively for export?

  2. aterere…next time i’m at java house, I’ll be wondering who is watching my stylish self…extra caution will be paid to any gikuyu speaking mzungus:)

  3. @E-Nyce: Porterhouse, dude, I really really have to check that one out. Thx for reminding me! :-)

    Irene, the singoool capu actually sells for 120 bob…

  4. really wishing i had a stoney tangawizi around – makes me realise i shouldn’t bother drinking kina coke and fanta when at home…

  5. great coffee for a place that was funded by one of the owners’ successes smuggling arms on n.g.o. food aid planes.
    makes the coffee taste a bit more bitter now, doesn’t it?

  6. i heard all about that…pretty despicable and hypocritical.
    so much for “working for peace”

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