Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
  • Coffee shop picks of the week

Here is our mini guide to the best coffee shops in town

19 May 2019

The Mother City’s vibrant coffee culture is switched-on, business district-centred, fast-paced and ethically minded. Here, we look at the characterful headquarters of six local institutions. 


Seattle Coffee Company

The queue at this vibrant venue, on the lower floor of upmarket Cavendish Square in the southern suburbs, generally extends from the counter towards the door and even spills out into the corridor. Beans are ethically sourced, artisan roasted and lovingly prepared – if you’re a executive working in the area or a regular at the barre studio across the road, the friendly staff may even ask you if you want ‘the usual’. There’s a cool loyalty programme, so enter your smart-phone number and, when you get to coffee number 10, it’ll be made on the house. The Seattle modus operandi involves resting one’s happiness, and sometimes even one’s survival, on a couple of coffee-drinking moments scattered across the day; their cafés therefore offer an “urgan refuge” that’s so vital in our fast-paced city lives. Eats are fresh – wraps and muffins, for example – and conveniently packaged to go. And you’ll be pleased to note their farm- to-cup approach stands for no-nonsense traceability of crop; handpicked and handroasted harvesting; and manual espresso production.
Address: 1 Dreyer Street, Claremont


Origin Coffee Roasting

Origin has brewed liquid excitement right from its launch and, today, could well be described as one of the founding fathers of the industry. Its De Waterkant branch features face-brick walls, wooden furniture and white tiles – it’s a modern and clean warehouse look, set within a characterful historic building. Owner Joel Singer decided, before opening, that it was time for South Africans to begin enjoying top-quality brews, poured by skilled baristas, and he’s been instrumental in founding the Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa as well as the SA version of the National Barista Championships. Special to-dos are to take a tour of the Origin roastery and to test your coffee know-how with an in-house course. Their flat whites and hand-rolled breakfast bagels go unrivalled – say some. What about you?

Address: 28 Hudson Street, De Waterkant

Tribe Coffee Foundry Café & Roastery

Over and above the amazing cup of coffee that’s to be had here (the House Blend is full-boded with hazelnut, berries and milk chocolate on the nose, revealing delicate flavours that rush around your mouth and then vanish sweetly), this Tribe Coffee institution also offers a roastery, food, wifi and free parking – the entrepreneurial crowd won’t go wrong by setting up their laptops here. Owner Jake Easton was intent on providing ‘good coffee at a low price with barista training that puts the staff and communities surrounding that cafe in touch with coffee-revolution techniques taking over the world’. Shew, its a mouthful but an extremely good one. His aim was to go along with the global trend of transforming cafes into offices – otherwise called ‘coffices’ – where creative people score from working immersed in a sense of anonymity, but are buoyed with music, laughter and movement.“Coffee excites the mind; it wakes your system to faster thought; and if other thinking people surround you, inspiration will happen naturally,” says Jake of this special place.

Address: 160 Albert Road, Woodstock

Truth Coffee Roasting

A connoisseur’s experience is certainly awaiting you at this establishment’s café and roastery housed in an old three-story Victorian warehouse. For those who’ve not consumed much literature in the steam-punk genre, it describes Truth’s HQ to a ‘T’ – a type of science fiction that extends to both design and fashion, with a historical setting and steam-powered machinery. Founder, David Donde, lives by the truth that ‘Quality always outs’, and says Truth is unique because it offers a full service: training baristas; repairing espresso machines; offering bespoke blends and single origins (you must taste their delicious Resurrection Blend!); and a popular 150-seater café that is always delightfully full. The menu looks like it has just erupted from an old-school printing press – choose a patisserie (by day) or brasserie menu item (by night), and savour the chance to choose both your beans and how, exactly, you want your coffee made. This, defines the ‘truth experience’.
Address: 36 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

Bean There Coffee Company

The Cape Town branch of Bean There is located amidst the hustle and bustle of Wale Street. It charms visitors with its brightly coloured cushions and lampshades, welcoming baristas, and range of photos revealing smiling faces of the folk who benefit in a business sense from its ‘direct fair trade’ orientation. Beans are roasted in bespoke imported roasters, eliciting a blend that’s known for its quality and freshness. As you take the weight off your feet and sip this splendid concoction, ask the baristas more about Bean There’s history. The company is SA’s first roaster of Certified Fairtrade coffee, which aims to ‘sustain people today and the earth tomorrow’. Producers receive a fair payment for their coffee regardless of exchange rate fluctuations, which means your money is going towards a good, empowering, cause. You could certainly argue that their roasting process creates an African adventure on the taste buds.

Address: 58 Wale Street, Cape Town


Deluxe Coffeeworks

This head office, roastery and espresso bar is ‘always grindin’ the finest beans from countries as far afield as Brazil, Guatemala and Ethiopia. Their houseblend is smooth, full-bodied, rich and chocolatey – just, wow! And décor features wooden benches and chunky bar seats inside, for a touch of neighbourly conversation; but cottagey-quaint table configurations outside amdist plenty of greenery. If you’re technically minded, you’ll love the build-a-kit vintage espresso machine parts that make up the artwork of one entire wall; chats about how they may just fit together should keep you there awhile and encourage a second cup, at least. There’s no shame in going decaf – their softer blend offers all the taste but a little less of the buzz for those who are sensitive or have been overdoing it a bit. Deluxe Coffeeworks has 5 cafes in the city, 2 in Stellenbosh and a Roastery+Café in Windhoek, Namibia.
Address: 171a Buitenkant Street, Gardens

Visiting one of these spots? post a pic and tag @capetowncoffeefestival!

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