BOURBON COFFEE boasts five branches across Kigali. And that’s not all, as most indications seem to point to more branches yet to come.
For a welcome change, they do some food and, yes, liquors! (More on that later) The mainstay, of course, is coffee, and not just any coffee, but the highly billed Rwandan Gourmet coffee from the regions, hence the catchy tagline, “Naturally Crop to Cup.”
If you are looking for prime location and ambience, the Bourbon Coffee branch at the MTN Centre in Nyarutarama is what you need.
If you are looking for a more wholesome, more therapeutic coffee experience than that afforded by simply sipping your Espresso, still this is the best bet. Here is where is found the coffee roasting room that supplies all the other four Bourbon Coffee outlets.
A neat boulevard of lively coffee plants in huge, V-shaped clay vases is what ushers you in. Some of the trees actually bear green coffee beans, while others are flowering, so your coffee experience literally starts at the door.
Walking past Bourbon’s outdoor sitting area is like walking straight into a theatre, with its elaborate wooden ceiling towering so high up to the skies.
Right in the middle of the building is a circular enclave partitioned into small nooks. Come to this nook if you need to tap free wireless internet. To your right is the service counter, which boasts an ice cream section, the cash machine, and barrister area, with its two espresso machines. To the far left is a VIP lounge dotted with high dining tables, and a deluxe pouch at the back with comfy sofas for those in favor of that quiet lunch meeting or private dinner. It is equipped with a fireplace that is lit up on request.
Murals depicting the journey of the coffee bean from the garden to the cup can be seen on the walls, from which also hang Kinyarwanda poems that extol the uniqueness of Gourmet Rwandan coffee. If you nag one of the staff enough, like I did, they will be glad to offer a neat translation.
The combination of free internet, gourmet coffee, comfy sofas to lounge in, and the possibility of bumping into someone you know provide the basis for many a patron’s frequent visits here.
Bourbon serves five distinct local coffee flavors from across the regions; Akagera, Muhazi, Kizi rift, Virunga and Lake Kivu, each of which has got its own distinct culinary identity. What Bourbon is trying to do is craft a local coffee-drinking culture out of all this aromatic variety.
I tried their Espresso-free Cappuccino which combines steamed milk and a frothy foam, and did not see reason to complain as it arrived in barely five minutes.
They do food, of which there is a specialty for each day of the week at about Rwf 6,500 (starter and main course), ice cream, and pastries.