Gloria Jean’s Coffees
Location: Gateway Mall, Durban
Today we celebrate GJC’s 20th anniversary !
And I’m so happy to be talking about the relaunch event that I attended 🙂
It’s a speciality coffeehouse with a distinct South Africanism but with the same international standards that you have come to expect from a successful global brand. Whether you consider yourself a coffee aficionado or the occasional taster, Gloria Jean’s Coffees should absolutely be on your list of places to visit.
With the recent revamp and relaunch, you can still expect the tantalising aroma of expertly brewed coffee but now with a change in the decor. One of the reasons I love this place is that it is an open seating area which mimics the large, open food courts that many of our South African malls embraced way back when. It is virtually impossible to walk right by without popping in to order yourself something off their delicious menu.
They have continued to embrace the rich, dark aesthetic with wooden finishes and with the newest addition of the Kudu horns as a central feature exuding a unique South African vibe, I couldn’t be happier. While the owner told me they didn’t have the easiest time getting permission to add this distinguishing feature as part of their revamp, I absolutely agree that it was worth the effort.
There is a seamless transition from placing your order at the counter to having a seat and savouring each sip of your freshly made coffee. The perfectly curated seating areas , oversized leather couches which you can probably lose yourself in, specially designed booths (for a bit more privacy) complete with tub chairs covered with Kudu embossed fabric offers you the opportunity to relax and enjoy your cuppa. You can also choose to sit in their standard table seating but why would you? When,instead, you can relax on a huge couch and get lost in a whirlwind of pastries and delicious hot, foamy drinks or smoothies that (let’s face it) make you feel like everything is alright with the world.
My husband loves a great coffee and while I am not an avid coffee – drinker, I can appreciate a great tasting one (as well as other speciality drinks). I do believe that of all the events I have ever attended, this was the one my husband was the most excited about. I was lucky enough to have a +1 and he joined me to taste a wide selection of drinks and we even scored a free donut in the process. A free one always tastes better than the ones you pay for, right?
We were spoiled for choice at this fabulous event with a wide variety of drinks and when we returned home, we were on such a caffeine high, it took a while for us to finally fall asleep. Here is a quick list of the ones I tasted and what my thoughts were:
I like caramel. I don’t love it so I was a tad bit sceptical about this one. I was actually pleasantly surprised. It was sweet from the caramel , of course but with the same strong taste of cappuccino.
As soon as this one made its way to my table, I was instantly reminded of a classic milk tart. My husband liked this one but sadly , I was definitely not a fan. I am quite satisfied with my cinnamon on pancakes and milk tart but if you are a lover of cinnamon-y things, then by all means , you need to try this one.
A delicious blend of coffee and chocolate is all I can say. The first hit you get is of the chocolate but soon after you are hit with the deep coffee flavour that reminds you that this isn’t a hot chocolate and you are ok with that.
I love to taste hazelnuts in my drinks and this one got a thumbs up from me. The nutty taste dances on your palate and tastes absolutely divine. Another winner for sure.
Coco Loco Mocha Chiller
This one was right up my alley. A chilled drink is always on my list in the summertime and if there is chocolate in it – I am there like a bear! The Coco Loco is a blend of coffee, chocolate and milk and for someone who isn’t a regular coffee drinker – I absolutely loved it. My husband said this was his favourite by far and he loves his coffee. The one that pleases everybody is what this one should be called.
It was beginning to get a bit hot at the event and when I took a sip of this drink, it cooled me right down. It was perfectly balanced and had the right amount of coffee. This is perfect when you need a caffeine hit … but on those scorching Durban summer days.
Mixed Berry Fruit Chiller
Since we are on the topic of summer, I am a lover of smoothies and will always be. So when this vibrant, bright coloured chiller was placed in front of me, I was like “is there more”? This one resembled a slush and I could smell the refreshing berry from a distance. It lived up to my expectations – a yummy drink that will go down well in the scorching heat.
If you’re looking for a cool place to hangout with your mates, or even a coffee date with your significant other – then I would suggest you drop by. It may be a bit different than your conventional, walled-in coffee shop but the buzz of your frothy, intense cappuccino quickly drowns out the hubbub of the passing crowd.
Naz & Oz
(yes , he contributed by tasting all the drinks 🙂 )