The best coffee in Cape Town
Capetonians are quite the hip bunch and have always fancied themselves on the cutting edge of coffee culture, internationally. And while finding a consistently good cuppa may not be as easy as in Italy, where you can walk into any dodgy cafe in the middle of nowhere and have a life-alteringly delicious cappuccino, the caffeine culture has taken hold, and there are some legitimately amazing places to get great coffee in this city. For gentlemen who value freshly roasted beans or a truly good espresso, this is our pick of the best artisan coffee shops in Cape Town.
Woodstock is an up-and-coming district on the edge of the city, once a semi-industrial working class neighbourhood; it is fast becoming one of the trendiest areas in town and is home to much of the artsy crowd and boutique designers. Espresso Lab in the Old Biscuit Mill is one of Cape Town’s oldest micro-roasteries and have long been specialising in small lots of freshly picked coffee beans sourced all over the globe and roasted on site. Over the years they have developed close relationships with their coffee farmers and suppliers, investing time and effort to ensure a continued supply of quality beans that are sustainable and meet the international fair-trade standards.
Tribe Coffee is a bit further down Albert Road and in addition to a delicious cappuccino. They also serve a mean chocolate brownie, topped with loads of walnuts which makes it healthy, right? They are another roastery and supply much of Cape Town with freshly roasted coffee beans.
Still in Woodstock, the Rosetta Roastery in the Woodstock Exchange is yet another a micro roastery specialising in single origin coffees from South America, Africa and Asia. With a philosophy of quality over quantity they scour the globe, in constant search of innovative growers and new coffees. Their roasts are classified as either progressive, whereby the fruity characteristics of the bean are maintained as much as possible during the roasting (generally a lighter roast), or classic, which is a darker roast with a flavour that is deeper, and more bitter flavour than we generally associate with coffee.
Across the corridor is Superette, a funky, colourful coffee shop founded by the organisers of the Neighbourgoods Market, a weekly farmers market held around the corner at the Old Biscuit Mill. Featuring goodies from many of the same suppliers hosted at the market, seasonal and local produce is served up for breakfast and lunch, and their coffee is, of course, sourced from Rosetta next door. Saturdays are famous for brunch, and it´s advisable to grab a table early as it´s renown on the brunch circuit and very popular.
Field Office in Woodstock Upper is tucked away in a residential neighbourhood on the slopes of Table Mountain. It was founded as a meeting place, co-working space, an office away from the office, or just generally a cool spot to get coffee and watch the world go by. They have good wifi and yummy snacks, which makes them popular with digital nomads and the entrepreneurial crowd. The interior is welcoming and full of light, and the walls are host to a constantly changing display of art by locals and live musicians are often featured.
Moving further around the mountain into the city centre, Deluxe Coffeeworks in Church Street, Gardens, is another example of fantastic artisan coffee shops in Cape Town. More Punk Rock than Royal, this restaurant/coffee shop/roasting warehouse is one of the hippest spots in town. Walk through the industrial warehouse door and past the eclectic mismatched tables and chairs, the open kitchen and the film industry regulars around to the coffee bar at the back, where you can drink your coffee while watching the beans being roasted in the open warehouse space. Deluxe sources their beans from Ethiopia, Guatemala and Brazil, freshly roasted and blended every day, and delivered to outlets throughout the city within 24 hours, although arguably the freshest way to get it is on site, at the bar.
The Haas Collective
The Haas Collective is more than just a caffeine hit, and as the name suggests, it is a beautifully decorated, collaborative space dedicated to art and design, with the aim of bringing like-minded people together with amazing coffee to get the creative juices flowing. The place is moody and filled with couches and comfortable corners to settle into, invoking a cosy atmosphere that encourages you to linger over your flat white. Founded by a group of friends and creatives, the concept was to create somewhere beautiful for art and design of all mediums to be displayed, as well as providing a platform from which local talents could showcase their work. From here, it was a natural progression towards wanting to make the space more inviting, and what could be more tempting than the promise of good company and great coffee?
Around the corner, Truth Coffee has been voted the world’s best coffee shop by the Daily Telegraph for two years in a row, and not without reason. This place is certainly unique and stands out in a sea of hipster coffee joints. The steampunk warehouse aesthetic is carried through down to the smallest detail, with lamp shades made out of upturned bowler hats. The wait-staff are all dressed the part with aviator goggles and 19th-century swag. The space is huge but full to bursting during the lunch hour, and right in the middle of it all sits the most impressive coffee roasting machinery you’ve ever seen, with a bar counter running all the way around it, for uninterrupted views of roaring flames and roasting coffee.
Bread Milk and Honey
In the heart of the legal district, Bread Milk and Honey bustles with the well-heeled breakfast and lunch crowd: lawyers, magistrates and other A-type personalities who like things fast and efficient. Their breakfast menu is blessedly varied and features smoothies, fresh juices and a wide range of hot and cold breakfast options. Coffee choices are wide too, from espresso and filter to individually hand-brewed drip-style pourover for the most discerning caffeine junkie.
Yours Truly is located on the iconic Long Street, the heart and soul of Cape Town´s social scene. Tucked in between a plethora of boutiques, bars and restaurants, this tiny coffee spot is an urban oasis in the middle of the city and a welcome respite from the constant hustle. With rustic wooden styling and surrounded by greenery, this is a little place with a big heart and is very popular with the locals; perfect for grabbing a quick takeaway or sitting down for a lazy lunch.
The Blue Cafe
Up on the slopes of Signal Hill overlooking the City Bowl, The Blue Cafe is hidden away in the middle of a quiet residential neighbourhood. A tiny little coffee shop that has been trading as a deli and café since 1904, it makes the most of its tranquil, leafy surroundings and is as close as you can get to escape the city without actually leaving the city. Fostering a strong sense of community, the deli sells fresh bread, local produce and homemade goodies and serves delicious breakfasts and lunches on the front patio.
Origin Coffee is located in the trendy design district of De Waterkant, better known as the Pink District and the centre of the LBGT community. Housed in an old red brick warehouse, they roast their coffee beans on site and source small batch single origin beans from growers who are passionate and dedicated to great coffee. They also host a variety of workshops at their in-house barista academy with courses ranging from the basic cupping sessions for coffee enthusiasts to the in-depth professional barista course. And of course, it goes without saying that they serve a pretty decent cup of joe.
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Truth Coffee | Photo: Kerry Murray
The Haas Collective | Photo: Kerry Murray
Deluxe Coffeeworks | Photo: Kerry Murray
Espresso Lab | Photo: Kerry Murray
Deluxe Coffeeworks | Photo: Kerry Murray
The Blue Cafe | Photo: Kerry Murray
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