Cool beans

Cool beans

Coffee addict Nick Dall picks his favourite artisinal roasteries

Western Cape

At last count, there were more than 150 microroasters established in Cape Town, the undisputed coffee capital of SA. Choosing only four was no easy task…


If it weren’t for Origin, we’d probably all still be happily drinking Nescafé: they were one of the first in SA to micro-roast top-quality beans, and they’re still right up there. Their warehouse-style tasting room is a place to learn, to try new coffees and brewing methods, and to absorb all the baristas’ knowledge. Pop in for a chat at the roastery and barista school upstairs or go backstage to the kitchen: the source of their legendary bagels. Origin Coffee and Nigiro Tea are available at over 80 spots in SA.


Truth is about as hipster as it gets – their Probat roaster was made in the 1940s,
and there are more beards here than in the whole of Bloemfontein – but none of this matters when you taste the purity of bean in cup. Their startling decor, which harks back to the Industrial Revolution, has seen them nominated for international design awards, but it is the coffee which brings ‘the joy of extraordinary Truth’. Can’t get enough of the good stuff? Then sign up for their Home Barista Skills course.


Espresso Lab Microroasters
Making the perfect cup of coffee is all about chemistry, and this immaculate roastery at The Old Biscuit Mill (which is absolute mayhem on Saturdays when the market is on) isn’t called a ‘lab’ for nothing. Pipettes and burettes are all around, and
the T-shirts and signage take their cues
from the periodic table. The cheery ‘lab technicians’ endeavour to find new and innovative ways to create the perfect cup of coffee, so you owe it to them to order something different. Ever heard of a Hario V60 Dripper? You have now…

Strictly Coffee
If you want a boutique coffee experience that is decidedly un-hipster, head out to sleepy Robertson. This quaint Cape dorp may be better known for its brandy, but Hanno Schwartz was actually one of the first guys in the country to try his hand at artisan roasting. The intimate cafe serves great food (resident chef Ina cultivated
the art of croissants in France!) and the computerised La Cimbali M100 espresso machine has been programmed to use different pressures and timings, depending on the bean used and the style requested: you really can taste the difference. Strictly Coffee also has an excellent online shop with various types of coffee.


You have to look a little bit harder to find boutique beans in Africa’s powerhouse, but this makes sampling them all the
more satisfying.


Bean There
In honour of coffee’s African roots, Bean There roasts and serves only Fairtrade, single-origin coffee from Africa… And it’s all decidedly scrumptious. Their Milpark branch (there’s also one in Braamfontein and another in Cape Town) hosts weekly coffee-cupping evenings (R170, Thursdays at 19:30 pm) where you’ll be lucky enough to learn about flavour profiles and more. All of their outlets are funkily decorated and the ‘Drink Responsibly’ T-shirts are hard to resist. Bean There coffee is widely available in supermarkets – just be sure to check the roast date before you buy.

On one random Saturday in 1997, Julian Platt baked his first batch of biscuits. Within days, he was getting orders from friends of friends and before long he was a full-time baker. The bakery is truly at the heart of this ‘all-day cafe and bistro’ (the bacon, brie and cranberry jam croissant is something special) but these days, Julian is more in love with coffee than bread. He lovingly roasts his six-bean signature blend daily, and uses a custom-made fluid bed roaster, which ‘floats’ the coffee beans on
a cushion of hot air.


4th Avenue Coffee Roasters
‘Pink isn’t just a colour, it’s an attitude,’
so say 4th Avenue Coffee Roasters, in Joburg’s hippest locale. This mentality spreads all the way to the pink Dietrich roaster, which is used to create their secret house blend – known to the locals as the Legendary Pink. The cakes, pastries and ‘toasted zaams’ are also worth getting excited about. Nutella and banana crumpets, anyone?


Heavenly Coffees
The folks at Pretoria-based Heavenly Coffees are passionate about one thing and one thing only: spreading their love and appreciation of exceptional coffee. Their on-site coffee shop is a coffee shop in the truest sense of the term: you can order anything you like, as long as it is coffee. (On weekends, they also serve cakes and other treats, and they will, if pushed, whip you up a mean rooibos cappuccino.) Be daring and ask them to prepare your cuppa using an iconic Chemex coffee maker. Or, for a truly unique flavour experience, give their cold-brew coffee a go.


Durbs has only a handful of roasteries, but they make up for the lack of quantity with some serious quality.


Bean Green Coffee Roastery
Father-and-daughter duo Peter and Mel Winter keep things very simple at this bohemian hangout in Glenwood. All of their beans are imported from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee and home to a vast array of varieties. Prepare to be amazed by the Winters’ comprehensive knowledge on all things coffee and their large collection of ’70s vinyl.


Jacksonville Coffee
These guys don’t actually roast on-site, but their custom blend is roasted every Monday and delivered to their chic-looking premises at the Moses Mabhida Stadium the next morning, so you can rest assured that the beans are fresh. Their cappuccinos are famous throughout Durban and their chocolate brownies are definitely worth waiting for. For a real vibe, come on the first Saturday of the month when the I Heart Market transforms the complex.


Colombo Cafe
Founded in 1923, the Colombo Coffee and Tea Company has some serious pedigree, but their new cafe in Durban North is anything but stuffy. The move has taken them back to their roots: a pared down food menu means their top-notch artisanal coffee and speciality tea can take centre stage. Take note: they host regular art and coffee appreciation events and guests are welcome to tour the roastery.

Photography: Gallo/GettyImages, Mickey Hoyle Photography/Haldane Martin, Craig Kolesky/The Coffee Magazine, Courtesy images
June/July 2016

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