If you are not into coffee but you want to look like a coffee connoisseur, you must get one of those fancy Nespresso machines to set the stage. No need to know how the Nespresso machine works, just keep it there for decoration and to persuade certain image; eventually it will be used as a dust collector . And in case someone asked you to prepare them a coffee using your Nespresso, don’t worry, just tell them that you ran out of capsules. In addition, you don’t want to buy the Nespresso coffee (trust me) it taste like burned leather.
The Nespresso stores that you find them in shopping malls are different story. Their stores is like walking into high-end jewelry place, it reminds me of Patchi chocolates stores (check my blog on Patchi). Salesmen wearing black suites and white gloves, lights are dimmed, and low Jazz music playing in the background. If you are going to buy a Nespresso machine, make sure you have deep pockets, since you are not buying a regular coffee maker, you are purchasing the Rolex of coffee makers.
In the summer of 1998, I visited Spain with my family and I observed most, if not all locals start their day with a drink of espresso in the morning; no where I can find anything that has to do with something called Spanish Latte! So I wondered from where did we come up with this drink here in Saudi Arabia? and why Spanish Latte is so popular among Saudis? Every café you go to, the most popular beverage is Spanish Latte. My curiosity made me order one Spanish Latter to give it a shot… when I received my coffee I realized that the barista gave me a large cold cup of full fat milk, so I asked … where is the coffee? The barista said and pointed out, can you see that drop of espresso inside?… swimming in the ocean of milk, that’s your coffee. So I drank my milk and paid 28 SAR and left the place. When you take a look around cafés in Saudi Arabia, the demographic will give you a hint that, yes it will make sense that milk will be the most consumed drink in those places. That’s why Spanish Latte is the go to beverage for our delicate “new baby boomers”.
I am not saying there is no market for Spanish Latte, but I believe it has nothing to do with Spain nor coffee.
Thanks to Starbucks, now Frappuccino and Latte been added to the Saudi vocabulary. The gourmet coffee empire is one of the most recognizable brands in the U.S and recently in Saudi Arabia. Starbucks shops’ theme colors are known for their royal green and white letters . Maybe Saudis are subliminally attracted to Starbucks, because of the common colors that you can find in Starbucks shops and the Saudi flag; green with white letters,…who knows?
There is a certain lifestyle that drive young hip Saudis to go to Starbucks and spend a lot of money for the sake of having their cup of coffee. Usually Starbucks’ image is associated with COOL people who like to carry their Macbook laptops wherever they go, listen to their iPod, and enjoy this “Americana” lifestyle that been dominating a lot of young Saudis’ manifesto. Some people enjoy the culture that Starbucks hold more than having an expensive cup of cappuccino. Just by holding a cup of coffee that has the Starbucks logo on it , it makes you feel that you belong to a special click in society. So next time you order coffee from Starbucks make sure you keep the “to go” cup with you as a social acceptance tool.
Chilling in cafes is one of Saudis specialties, and what I mean with chilling is staying forever in those hot places almost every day and night. With a country that has no bars and pubs, cafes are popular destinations for Saudis who like to hang out with friends. Saudis talk about every single topic that you can think about in those cafes from sports to politics, to sex and cars, etc.
Cafes in Saudi lays under different categorizes. You have the up scale high class want to be, which you will find people who act sophisticated drinking their cappuccino and reading their daily news paper and mostly claiming that they know everything that it is going on in the stock market. Other cafe category will be, the ghetto type cafe, which you will find one cooling fan standing in the corner of the cafe trying to cool every one. In addition those ghetto cafes usually serve local tea and coffee brands, but you don’t want to know how long the tea or coffee been in the pot, maybe days or weeks, just drink and enjoy. Last category will be the hip cafes that young generation likes to attend. From watching soccer games to bragging who has the most girls’ numbers on their phone, this cafes are the most popular among Saudis.