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  • Writer's pictureAziza

Cape Town's Coffee Scene

We recently visited Cape Town (January, 2020) before the Corona virus crisis hit the globe full on. Whilst visiting this extremely beautiful city we could not help following our passion and visit some speciality coffee shops there and wow, what an amazing surprise. The speciality coffee scene is alive and thriving and not only frequented with locals but with tourists from around the globe. The journey was definitely worth the destination!

As South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town is an iconic destination with a diverse cultural heritage and a vibrant arts and culture scene. The city has a complex, layered and unique history that includes Khoikhoi and San peoples, South East Asian and African slaves, Nguni tribes, colonists, migrants and immigrants. Cape Town began as a port refreshment station, established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 for Europeans sailing to the Far East. It quickly developed into a settlement surrounding the harbour, displacing Khoikhoi pastoralists who used the area as grazing land. The discovery of precious resources in the mid-19th century prompted an economic and social boom which laid the foundation for modern day South Africa and secured the city’s future.

All of this influences the local food, wine and the coffee scene.

Our first visit was to Haas Collective. An interesting concept but this does not detract from the quality of their coffee and is the brainchild of Francois Irvine, Tess Berlein and Glynn Venter. Haas translated into Afrikaans is Rabbit. Why is it called Haas Collective? The owners have turned this amazing industrial space into a fine coffee shop as well as an art gallery and an advertising agency. The décor is eclectic and fascinating with amazing art. It is when visiting places like this that one realises how we in Europe are blinkered by our culture. This is free-range décor! Haas specialises in rare and exotic single-origin coffees (Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Colombian, Jamaican amongst others) from relationship farms and like all their beans are roasted in house. The food is pretty good too with usual coffee shop fare but some unusual offering added.

Below taken at Haas:

Our second visit was to Truth Coffee. Supposedly the best coffee shop in the world, as voted by The Daily Telegraph for two years in a row. Truth Coffee Roasting specialises in selecting and roasting the world's most exclusive coffees served to perfection from a long selection. Truth is all about single-origin coffees, chosen by the coffee-obsessed founder of Truth, David Donde. His blends have fabulous names: choose the chocolatey, high-acidity Resurrection blend for a flat white, the DDT (Deep, Dark and Twisted) for an Americano, or the rich, nutty Vengeance blend as a pour-over coffee. The environment is special too. This steampunk-inspired, 19th-century artisan coffee roastery in an old warehouse in City Centre has become a tourist destination, thanks to its coffee lab vibe, gilded, industrial-chic interiors, vintage roaster complete with copper dispensers, gauges and hissing contraptions, and nattily dressed staff in full steampunk regalia. The place heaves all day with curious visitors, who often come for a coffee tasting and end up doing barista training.

Below taken at Truth:

Our last visit (we could have done many more!) was to Origin This is a coffee shop, roastery and coffee school par excellence. Origin founded a dedicated barista academy that would focus on deep training of a new generation of world-class African baristas. At Origin they have successfully trained over 4000 of the top baristas on the continent. These professionally trained ambassadors have advanced the coffee cause, won numerous awards and upped the level of knowledge across the whole of southern Africa. Joel Singer, the founder and members of the Origin team helped to start the Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa (SCASA) and to launch the South African National Barista Championships, affiliated with the World Barista Championships (WBC). To date Origin has produced 5 South African Barista champions who went on to compete at the WBC.

Below Barista at Origin making siphon coffee:

There were so many more superb speciality coffee places we did not go to in Cape Town much to our regret. On our list was Rossetta Roastery, Bootlegger Coffee Company, Expresso Lab Microroasters and Tribe Coffee Foundry, Café and Roastery. But it was time to switch our focus.


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