COFFEE AROMA: The place attracts multinationals who work in Gulu, writes Julius Ocungi
The soft tone of an attendant at the entrance saying, “Welcome to Coffee Hut cafe sir,” a hissing sound of the coffee machine, the delicious aroma of strong African coffee and the cool little room meant a different world to me.
As I took a seat by one of the tables in the fully packed room, a smiley smartly dressed lady approached me with an orange brochure, asking, “Sir what would you like to have?” a quick perusal through the two paged menu, I ordered for a cup of cappuccino and a chocolate cake.
In a blink of an eye, my order was right at my table, sizzling hot, oozing an aroma of African coffee. It was unbelievable receiving my order in just four minutes, compared to other places where my order would delay until I complained.
For the uninitiated, Cappuccino is simple traditional Italian coffee, which is topped with hot foamed milk. The coffee is made in a steam producing coffee making machine by a barista.
Located in the heart of Gulu town on Andrea Olal Road, the Coffee Hut Café has stood the test of time in delivering quality beverages in record time, for coffee lovers in the region. The place opened in 2011.
According to the proprietor of the place, Mr Tom Olalobo, he wanted the locals in the region to have a feel of fast food café after his experience in the UK where fast food shops litter the cities.
At the Coffee Hut Café, customer care is the essence of business, with down to earth waitresses who are eager to take and deliver your order, an experienced barista who makes the coffee and a friendly business oriented proprietor who listens to the needs of the clients.
A wide range of coffee is brewed at the café, but the most desired order is Cappuccino, served with chocolate cake, sold at Shs4,500.
Mr Denis Oyoo, the barista says, out of 100 customers that visit the café in a day, 70 of them order for a cup of cappuccino.
Other coffees served are Espresso coffee at Shs3,900, Espresso Machito at Shs4,000, Cafe Americano at Shs 4,000, Café Latte at Shs 4,700, Café Mocha at Shs5,200, House Coffee at Shs3,000, African Coffee, at Shs4,300 and Black Coffee at Shs4,300.
Besides providing coffee, Coffee Hut Café also provides continental dishes, ice cream, milk shakes and appetisers. Vanilla straw berry ice cream is sold at Shs 2,500, while cold chicken salad sandwich is at Shs10,900.
Unlike other places with giant flat screens in place, where one would watch news or a movie while taking coffee or eating, at Coffee Hut Café, there is only a surround sound system, which plays soft music throughout the day.
Mr Olalobo, says the reason they do not have TV sets in the café is to avoid inconveniencing customers while they enjoy coffee and eating their snacks.
Mr Olalobo says ever since the café opened its doors, the number of customers has been increasing, indicating the growing numbers of coffee lovers in the town.
“We receive people from Europe, America, China and South Africa who have come to enjoy their holidays. But our biggest clients have been the locals within the country, they have embraced our services,” he says.
Mr Olalobo says, the café is limited by space so it cannot accommodate large numbers of people.
He adds that the perception of the locals has also not been very motivating towards the business, “Some people think it is an extravagant lifestyle to take a cup of coffee at Shs5,000.”
He, however said plans are underway to tackle the issue of space, by breaking up some walls to create space that will accommodate more customers.
With the success of the business, Mr Olalobo, says he intends to open up branches in the neighbouring districts bordering Gulu. “I want everyone in the northern region to enjoy the best coffee from Coffee Hut Café,” he adds.
Chicken wings are sold at Shs7,900, beef/vegetable samosas at Shs5,500, Brochettes at Shs6,900, chicken burgers at Shs 10,900, vegetable burgers at Shs7,900, cheese burgers at Shs 9,900, and chicken and vegetable wraps at Shs11,500.
Coffee Hut Café, also offers Wi-Fi for free Internet access to all the clients who visit the place.