A bakery and café you really Knead to try

Chain restaurants are rarely known for great food, but all over Cape Town the Knead bakery-cafés tick all the right boxes for no-nonsense bistro dishes, great coffee and freshly-baked sweet treats.

Knead has something for everyone, with a handful of bakery-café branches across Cape Town that tick all the right boxes. Down south in Muizenberg the tables are packed on a Saturday and Sunday morning as surfers warm up with a post-wave session coffee and croissant, and families ease into the weekend with a lazy breakfast.

In the suburb of Kenilworth it’s the spot for a quick midweek meeting over coffee or a light breakfast before getting your day going. In Claremont the bustling Palmyra Junction shopping centre sees the best of both worlds: coffee and a pastry in the daytime, beer and wood-fired pizzas come sunset.

The outlet in Wembley Square off Roeland Street near the city centre is the original branch, which first opened in 2006 and continues to draw a loyal following of locals, office workers and tourists in the area. The same goes for the Sea Point branch, which is situated in the heart of this cosmopolitan corner of Cape Town.

There’s a branch on bustling Kloof Street too; a great spot for tourists to grab a coffee and a breakfast – forget about overpriced hotel buffets – or to settle in for a craft beer over lunchtime. There’s limited free Wi-Fi at all branches too.

Bean There: Cape Town’s first fairtrade coffee roastery

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.

Bootlegger: Sea Point’s answer to great coffee, day or night

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.

Bree Street’s new coffee shop brews hope in a cup

Laurence Heald, who runs the 26-year-old Espresso Concepts Cape Town, has just opened Folk Coffee Anthropology in Bree Street, Cape Town city centre’s foodie strip. Aside from making a mean cup of java, they also provide training to people who are living on the streets and others who need to learn a skill and earn a living. Laurence explains how it all came about.

We started our barista training out of necessity – we were expanding fast and needed to find staff. We didn’t realise how hard it could be and it was at this time that we connected with Learn to Earn (a non-profit organisation that assists jobless people to find paid internships and other work opportunities).

The partnership with Learn to Earn happened quite naturally, as we both see the value of developing people who have a desire to better themselves. Learn to Earn’s motto is “a hand up, not a hand out” and we couldn’t agree more. We want to give people a chance to change their lives.

Mostly it’s been greatly rewarding. The young people we meet are enthusiastic and excited at the opportunities that lie ahead of them. The challenging part is getting others to believe in themselves, to see that they are worth more than what society tells them. So far, the greatest obstacle is not creating opportunities, it’s getting people to believe they deserve them.

Seeing our baristas in training develop relationships with customers has been the best for me. Once, a client asked me for his “morning ladies’ drink”. A little confused, I turned to the barista, only to find that he had already started to make the customer’s decaf soy latte, a big smile on his face. Clearly, he’d built a rapport with the client, crossing culture and race. These moments are treasures!

We provide a number of different training options. Student baristas who have committed to the full three-month course are offered the chance to job shadow with us. Once they have gained basic knowledge and understanding, they then work in our coffee bars to gain practical working knowledge. Depending on how well they do in the time period (usually around a month), we look for placements for them, either internally or externally with our clients.

Our courses are also available for industry professionals and for people who are mad about coffee and who want to buff up their latte skills. We offer this as a group or a team-building event. We also offer training for restaurant staff.

Read more about what makes Folk Coffee Anthropology a little different from your average coffee shop here .

Cape Town’s coolest things this week (22-28 February 2016)

Cape Town is the capital of cool! We’ve got our finger on the pulse to bring you the 3 of the hippest happenings…

1. Movies… like you’ve never seen before

Meet the Fockers Part 7 is good for a date night with your couch and cat. But if you want real never-seen-before cinema, the Labia’s Strictly Arthouse Season is where you need to be. Think an overweight 13-year-old falling in love with a man three times her age… and more gritty film. It launches this week. Read more

2. Win a sunset cruise with 60 of your nearest and dearest!

New to Cape Town this week is All About Cape Town’s Go Beyond experiences. Forget the boring promise of “VIP benefits” you’ve heard a million times before. Go Beyond only offers one-of-a-kind experiences that go beyond all expectations. Think a helicopter ride to the show and backstage drinks with the band, a training session with a top football club, one-on-one classes with a master chef… Think big. Like this chance to win a sunset cruise in Cape Town for 60, drinks included. Competition closed.

3. Brownies and Downies… Say what?!

A new coffee shop on Cape Town’s Foreshore is giving young adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to work and train in the hospitality industry. We’re not sold on the name, but it’s a seriously cool initiative. Here’s how it all started: Read more

Charly’s Bakery: Cape Town’s very own cake boss

If anyone rules the world of cake in Cape Town, it’s Charly’s Bakery. As famous for their skyscraper wedding cakes as they are for their colourful and irreverent cupcakes, they’re well worth a detour.

Famous across Cape Town for their “Mucking Afazing” designer cakes, this family-run bakery was started by Charly and Jacqui Biess way back in 1989 and continues to be the go-to bakery when people need a special something out of the oven.

The subject of a reality TV series, the small bakery is always full of curious, hungry and cake-crazy locals. They’re in an odd location off Harrington Street in the East City district, but the colourful eye-catching murals are hard to miss.

Once you’re in the door the choice is yours: take a seat for a coffee and a bite, or fill a box to take away and gorge on in private. While they’re famous for their cakes, they also make some delicious savoury pies and sandwiches. Behind the counter you can watch the “cake angels” hard at work turning out bespoke cakes for weddings and birthdays while you tuck into one of their famous cupcakes.

The rich chocolate cupcake is the signature, but also look out for quirky cupcakes that are often iced to tie in to current events. When Prince William and Kate got married the cupcakes were covered in Union Jacks!

One of Cape Town’s quirkier success stories, Charly’s Bakery remains one of the most-loved bakeries in the city.

Check out the Origin of great coffee in Cape Town

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.

Deluxe Coffeeworks: where hipsters go for bulletproof blends

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.

Folk Coffee’s built on passion, espresso and a whole lot of love

If you love your daily dose of java, best you head over to Folk Coffee Anthropology – the new kid on the Bree Street block. Manager Laurence Heald, who runs the new coffee shop with wife and business partner Leeanne, talks to us about what makes Folk Coffee Anthropology anything but ordinary.

Walk us through the birth of Folk Coffee Anthropology?

[Laurence Heald] It was the brainchild of Leeanne, who is the daughter of legendary roast master Terry Wentzel. She has a passion for people and culture, and wanted to create a space where everyone – whether you’re a hipster, snob, lumberjack, foodie or newbie – could come together. Those who celebrate coffee are all different, and everyone has their preference for how they like to do drink it, but they have this one thing in common. That’s what we wanted to capture.

Coffee culture has taken Cape Town by storm. What sets you apart from the coffee shops popping up on every corner?

[LH] Passion – we care deeply about creating an experience for customers as well as producing food that feeds body and soul. Guests love the bright space our place offers and we try to let them enjoy their own identity. We also use the best equipment available and offer unique training opportunities for those wanting to upskill themselves (read more about the barista training here

What’s your go-to coffee?

[LH] When it comes to coffee, I’m a black, no-sugar drinker by default. My favourite roast at the moment is a medium-light Honduras served ristretto over lemon rind, which tastes amazing paired with a slice of Lee’s sweet carrot cake!

Tell us more about your menu…

[LH] The menu is a reflection of our favourites. Lee loves tapas and light meals; she likes tasting a bit of everything to satisfy her food FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I enjoy a good burger or a steak. While we both eat meat, we have tons of vegetarian friends, so you’ll see plenty of veg options on the menu, too. And we both have a sweet tooth… or teeth!

Why’d you choose Cape Town for Folk Coffee Anthropology?

[LH] Capetonians know how to enjoy the good things in life and recognise that if you’re going to do something, do it well. We are all about quality and experience in this city, making those who live here the perfect audience.

Go beyond expectations at Buitenverwachting in Cape Town’s Constantia wine valley.

Established in 1706, the beautiful Buitenverwachting wine farm on the slopes of the majestic Constantiaberg mountains delivers on its English namesake, ‘beyond expectation’, in every way.

The farm produces an array of top-quality wines, including 18 whites and 12 reds. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Blanc de Noir, Brut, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and more can be enjoyed on the farm or at home.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely meal at the restaurant, which is situated in a classic historic thatched Cape Dutch building. Terrace tables offer iconic views of the vineyards and mountains, while the more relaxed courtyard is set amidst ancient stinkwood trees and a traditional Cape fountain.

The cuisine ranges from fine dining to relaxed deli-style fare, all with a sophisticated yet contemporary flare. It is no surprise that the restaurant was rated as one of Brian Berkman’s Top 10 in Cape Town in 2009 and 2010.

The farm also boasts a rustic yet trendy coffee shop offering the best in warm beverages and baked goods. Buitenverwachting hosts exceptional bespoke weddings, conferences and other special events. One of the most picturesque farms in the valley, it affords guests endless photo opportunities and the opportunity to relax in the total serenity of the pristine grounds. The farm boasts several function venues that can be utilised for functions catering for from 10 to 400 people.