Kawa Kava is a new name in the Omani hospitality sector, a modern coffee shop, visually appealing, styled in a contemporary manner, yet reflecting their cultural,traditional and architectural ties to the region, but best of all, serving refreshing, revitalising illy coffee where you would least expect it. It’s a pleasant, welcome surprise for many.
Youthful Omani businessman Assim al Saqri and his wife Hajar Al Balushi have brought a touch of sophistication to their newly opened Kawa Kava Coffee Shop at the foot of Al Jabel Al Akdhar in Birkat Al Mouz. “We had a vision of a shopping mall coffee shop, clean, fresh, and inviting, yet with décor that reflects the culture and heritage of the region,” said Al Saqri this week. The couple identified the need for a‘pit-stop,’ among tourism operators, and tourists, that would offer a quality,trusted international coffee brand, adjacent to the junction that signals both the beginning, and end, of the long and winding road. A chance meeting with an illysales executive brought their vision into greater focus and the inspiration of the first computer-generated images of their proposed venture were the catalyst for their dreams becoming a reality and Kawa Kava’s soft opening recently. Al Saqri explained, “The feedback from coffee lovers, tourists, expats and locals has been exceptional, with visitors especially enjoying coffee made in the ‘aficionado’ style. It’s a coffee-lovers ‘thing.’
We like branded, made from beans, coffee, and knowing that when we order our favourite cup, we know what we’re going to get.” “Yes, I know, it’s coffee snobbery,” he laughed, “But it is what it is, and coffee-lovers make no apology for their brand loyalty, and discerning taste, ahead of generic coffees.”Kawa Kava offers a range of teas’ freshly squeezed juices, and snacks, including healthy options, and displays artwork by local artists and artisans, including camera-art by the talented Al Balushi. It all comes together seamlessly, to provide a setting, light-years removed from the traditional Omani coffee shop, yet it embraces, in an authentic manner that only a true son of the town can, the traditional local architecture of the nearby ‘Bait Al Hadeeth,’ ‘The Modern House,’ that has been in Al Saqri’s family for centuries, and is itself currently being extensively refurbished as part of a separate tourism initiative. Customers can have an original coffee experience, among the immaculately clean, ambience of Kawa Kava,surrounded by memorabilia and photographs that reflect the couple’s emotional investment in their venture. “It will be nice, we think, that these links to our past are seen and appreciated, rather than becoming forgotten, and we feel they will provide tangible links between us and our customers, as they linger with us, before continuing their journey,” said Al Saqri. Al Jabel Al Akdhar was the chosen destination of almost a quarter of a million visitors last year, and in Al Saqri’s words, “The township here has much to offer tourists and commuters, with Unesco-listed Falaj Al Khatmain, Bait Ar Rudaidah castle and museum, the old town ruins, date farms and so much more. We hope that one day Kawa Kava, at the foot of the mighty mountain will be mentioned in the same breath as those iconic,organic, distinctly Omani, experiences.”
PHOTOS BY LENA PETERSEN