Looking for a great flat white in Cape Town, but also want to know your coffee is ethically sourced from sustainable farms? Take a turn past Bean There Coffee Company in the heart of the city.
As South Africa’s first roaster of certified Fairtrade coffee, Bean There Coffee Company puts plenty of effort into doing things right. Their aim is to make “a sustainable difference in the lives of African coffee producers by personally sourcing quality coffee” – and it’s a mission statement that keeps both farmers and coffee lovers happy.
The focus is on roasting “single origin” coffee to allow the terroir – to borrow a winemaking term – to shine through in each cup. That means your Ethopian guji will taste different to your Burundi kirundo or a Kenyan peaberry.
Although they supply coffee to restaurants and cafés across the city, their coffee shop on Wale Street is a fine place to take a break from a morning of sightseeing in the Cape Town city centre. A short walk from most of the city’s tourist hotspots, the stylish café allows you to watch the roasters at work, enjoy a light meal, surf the free Wi-Fi and, of course, enjoy a great cup of coffee with a clear conscience. You can also buy beans to take away.
Cape Town’s Atlantic seaside suburb of Sea Point isn’t exactly overflowing with great coffee joints, which makes Bootlegger Coffee Company all the more worth a visit.
Whether you need a great cup of coffee at dawn or midnight, Bootlegger Coffee Company in the seaside suburb of Sea Point has you covered. Thankfully, it’s a coffee shop that blends superb coffee – with décor that’s easy on the eye.
Interior designer Olga Barrow, who works in both Cape Town and London, conceptualised the striking store that blends vintage industrial elements with a touch of quirkiness and dash of glamour. And it works, in a flash of binary-coloured tiles and cosy banquettes.
Of course the décor means nothing without good coffee, and here owner Pieter Bloem pulls no punches. Only pure Arabica beans are used, roasted in a high-end Giesen roaster. The house blend is delicious, typically a mix of beans from Guatemala, Burundi and Costa Rica. If you’re travelling on a budget you can soak up the special “red eye” deal each morning from 06h30 to 08h30, when coffee is just R14 a pop.
Happily, Bootlegger is about more than just coffee; if you’re hungry, you’re in the right place. Alongside tempting pastries they offer an extensive menu for both breakfast and lunch. Only free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and fresh artisan breads are used.
Combining stylish décor with great food and seriously good coffee, Bootlegger Coffee Company is well worth seeking out. You’ll find branches in the coastal suburb of Bantry Bay and further south, in Kenilworth, too.
Hidden away in a side street of Cape Town’s trendy De Waterkant precinct on the border of the city centre, Origin Coffee Roasting offers some of the best beans in the city.
It’s a good name, Origin – as this cosy warehouse-style coffee shop is arguably the pioneer of bespoke coffee roasting in Cape Town.
Today artisan roasters and hipster-friendly coffee joints are common across the city, but when Origin first opened its warehouse doors in May 2006 it was breaking new ground. Single origin beans, freshly roasted beans and baristas who knew their trade were thrust upon the city for the first time. And Cape Town fell in love with coffee again.
While it’s no longer the only show in town, Origin retains many loyal followers, not least for its expert baristas and superb coffee.
What’s especially good here is that you can choose which beans you’d like to go into your coffee. The Origin house blend is always good, but you can splurge a bit and dip into a Zamorana from Costa Rica, Finca Los Cedros from Honduras, or perhaps a Kirimahiga from Kenya. All of their coffees can be bought to take home – and don’t be surprised if you spot the Origin logo across the city: their beans are used by more than 80 restaurants and cafés in Cape Town and further afield.
If you fancy a bite with your coffee you’ll find a selection of bagels and savoury light bites, but your best bet is a freshly baked pasteis de nata (custard tart). Settle in with a paper or surf the free Wi-Fi and raise a cup to the origin of craft coffee in Cape Town.
Cape Town is (in)famous for embracing all things hipster, and there’s no shortage of bearded irony at Deluxe Coffeeworks. Happily, the coffee is excellent too.
It all began with a five-kilogram roaster in the backyard of Carl Wessels, one of the co-founders of Deluxe Coffeeworks. That was back in 2009, and today this artisan roastery has become synonymous with some of the best-value beans in Cape Town.
No surprise then that top fine-dining restaurants from Cape Town’s city centre to the winelands are flocking to snap up their coffee. They’re even exporting roasted beans to far-flung islands in the Indian Ocean; their roasted coffee beans are that good.
Luckily, there’s no need to fly to a tropical island (sorry for you) for a taste of Deluxe… their three Cape Town stores offer up a damn fine flat white (or whatever your preferred style of coffee is). The shops are small and without too many frills, but you’ll be happy enough perched on a barstool with a cuppa in hand.
The secret to their superb coffee is all in the blending, says Wessels.
“Our beans are no different or more special than those from other coffee roasters; we buy from the same local importer,” says Carl, seated beneath the wall-mounted motorbike in their Roodehek Street roaster in Gardens. “The secret at Deluxe is our bulletproof blend of coffees. It’s a mix of Brazil, Guatemala and Ethiopia that took us seven months to get right.”
Taste that perfection in their central Cape Town outlet in Church Street, at Deluxe Metalworks in Kloof Street, or their Head Office, Roastery and Espresso bar in Roodehek Street, Gardens.
Ask any local where to find the best coffee in Cape Town, and chances are they’ll direct you to Truth Coffee in Buitenkant Street. Don’t forget to thank them…
Although it’s regularly hailed as one of the word’s best coffee shops, Truth Coffee on Buitenkant Street in Cape Town’s “East City” precinct is far more than just a place to grab a cuppa. It is, rather, a cathedral to coffee; a hallowed hall in which to bow down before the coffee bean.
First, pay your respects to the steel monster dubbed simply, “The Colossus”. This 1947 Probat coffee roaster runs entirely on bio-diesel, lending a touch of ecofriendly street-cred to its role of roasting top-notch beans from across the globe.
Next, look around – if you somehow managed to stop yourself from doing so. Interior designer Haldane Martin has transformed what was once a dusty century-old warehouse into a steampunk fantasyland of leather-clad bar counters and pressed-tin ceiling panels. Café tables are cut-steel cogwheels, or you can bag a seat in the horseshoe-shaped leather banquettes. The coffee-brewing crew is suitably bedecked in steampunk goggles and Derby hats. Alongside, “Professor Jones’ Fabulous Coffee Bean Contraption” takes pride of place, blending the beans roasted on-site.
Once you’ve taken it all in, take a seat. The coffee is the main attraction here, but you’ll also find superb pastries and a menu of light meals. That, the free Wi-Fi and abundance of plug-points makes it a popular spot for locals to set up a mobile office for the morning. Either join them and Instagram your friends back home or sit back with your preferred coffee and people-watch the morning away.
The setting is superb and the coffee even better. One sip and you’ll be inclined to agree with their motto: “We roast coffee. Properly.”
In the trendy innercity suburb of Woodstock, the ever-popular Old Biscuit Mill precinct is home to one of the smallest, most accomplished coffee roasters in town…
The folks at Espresso Lab Microroasters don’t mess around. Any old beans thrown in the roaster simply won’t do.
“Our quest is to find optimal ways to enjoy coffee, from sourcing small lots of freshly harvested coffee, to developing optimal roasting profiles that will reflect the terroir and origin of the coffee,” reads their online mission statement, throwing down the caffeinated gauntlet.
Small batches of carefully sourced beans, roasted to perfection is their mantra and, after enjoying a good few espressos there, I’d say they have got their formula perfected.
The coffee beans on offer vary according to what they consider makes the grade, but expect small batch roasts from Ethiopia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil; a globetrotting menu that offers a taste of the coffee-growing world.
The stark white store, with bowtie-wearing, Afro-toting baristas, is achingly trendy, and when the popular Saturday morning market is on at the Old Biscuit Mill you’ll have to join the queue to get your coffee. It’s worth the wait, though, and if you can get a table in the sheltered courtyard you’ll be in seventh coffee heaven.