In late 2016, Java opened a Java in Nanyuki, in their recent tremendous expansion spree.
Hail! Finally, we had a foreign brand in town. Wait, they were rather late to the parade. With the high expat population in town, every other brand is foreign.
Soon, the middle-class thronged there when they discovered, it was not as expensive as it looked. I could envision their convo.
“Can we meet for coffee?”
“Def, we should try Java, Shiro went there last week and it was wow!” Many selfies and a pissed off untipped waiter later, they would also agree it is wow.
What Java scored is the emphasis on space. It makes everyone forget the gaudy art on the wall, if momentarily.
The first time I went there, I thought whoever who was commissioned to design it was told, “give it a Kenyan feel” and gleefully rubbing his paintbrushes together, and opening a drum of paint and went like, “Say no more.”
He went ahead to paint several 2 metres by 1 metre bright textured acrylic paintings of whatever he thought the potential white clientele thinks the Kenyan country looks like (Yap I mean he, no woman would paint like that). It looks like a coastal scene with a bright orange background and green leafy and brownish people. By people I mean women. There is a scene from a shopping centre of a slummy part of Kenya where people are buying and selling small things in tiny packages, unlike the middle-class elite who stuff their boots or trunks with enough shopping to feed a small village.
Clearly, the scene in the pictures is indicative of people who will never afford to get into Java unless they win a SportPesa jackpot or a government tender.
The women portrayed are in brightly colored Shukas and their legs and buttocks in some instances are something else entirely. The women are sitting on the grass mending sweaters or braiding each others’ hair. The art is practically a slide from a European man’s fantasy after visiting a human zoo in the early 20th century where they displayed big butted, clitted and other apparently exaggerated sexual organs of African women. (There were actually real human zoos- it is not an easy link for an African to read] where they would study among other things -like children- fat African women and hold scientific discussions about how their huge butts make them sex savages).
Anyway, back to Java, the women’s legs are the biggest and fattest parts of their bodies. I am looking at a woman’s calf that is bigger than the trunks of the trees in the background. Huge women with centaur-like bodies (by the way do we have female centaurs?) super fat lower torsos and legs grooming each others’ African hair will garnish your latte or house coffee which goes for 160 bob for a single.
Its pretty big and pretty decent coffee. Beer goes for 360 a bottle which is probably the most expensive within town. However, it is not surprising since most people who can afford to drink here probably would not make a scene. Apparently, they are nowhere near as expensive as I had imagined they would be. Probably cheaper than Dorman’s (that is clutching at the straws and will inevitably die) and Courtyard, but I have to investigate.
The doors to the washrooms are hidden in a corridor that is harder to find than NASA’s purported servers, but they are cleaner and probably smell better than my college dorm room. And you don’t have to pay to use them like some places we are not mentioning today. The internet is the best I have used in a public place in Nanyuki. I am assuming this is only going to last as long as the torrent addicted old HP users don’t start patronising the place to spend 3 hours strangling our internet to download a movie they can buy for 50 bob just for the bragging rights [You know yourselves, Martin and Jerry but I won’t mention names…oops]
The waiters and waitresses have genuine smiles and they do not seem to have any racial preference, unlike some places I will write about someday. They are dressed in red sweaters and black pants, and they definitely deserve their tips, which like Kenyans will rarely give anyway. They have a wide selection of buns and Cakes apparently they are so good that when we were sitting at our booth, we noticed someone move them around from behind the counter and drop one of the buns on the floor. Turns out it was too good to waste. I don’t think they saw us see.
Verdict, it is not perfect but its’ probably the best coffee house in Laikipia. I am still not having their salad though, I hear it is not always vegetarian.