Cape Town is spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a spot for a good cuppa joe. With people favouring experiences and good food more, if not as much as acquiring materials things – special ‘experience’ establishments, products, and stores, have become a thing. The so-called third wave of coffee has new artisanal stores popping up everywhere, with each promising something new. Variety and options are great and we appreciate the whole crafted with care philosophy, but it can get quite overwhelming. Here are four spots worth experiencing, if you haven’t already. We love the unique and gorgeous décor in these coffee shops. And that little something special that makes you want to go back again and again, and it feeling like a new experience every single time.
Conceived in New York, designed in Toronto and made in Cape Town, Coco Safar is a labour of love birthed by Wilhelm Liebenberg and his partner Caroline Sirois. Located in Seapoint’s Artem Centre, the name is inspired by Coco Chanel for luxury and high design, (and coffee of course) and the Arabic term Safar, for journey. Every single detail from the name to the décor and design was carefully conceptualised and designed by the owners.
The interior decor gives you that, I want to be here all day, every day feeling, with its retro-chic meets industrial style including locally produced leather and velvet seats, solid oak counters and a mixture of brass and linen-stitched grills that even matches the staff’s super stylish uniform.
This opulent café has New York’s famous La Mercerie cafe kind of vibe. La Mercerie is a restaurant, café, and bakery in an actual décor and design store. Coco Safari offers an immersive experience with it’s impressive interior, premium quality food, an espresso bar, a couture patisserie, chocolate and coffee labs, botanical microbrewery, emporium and retail space.
Coco Safar is luxurious but also accessible. Everything about this place screams Michelin certified, and its founders are very clear that the aim is to be the first one-star Michelin all-day luxury café in the world.
R is for recycled (most if not all the décor is from recycled or discarded goods), reinvented, romance, relax, represent, relate, return. And return, we shall. Rcaffe is and has become an institution on good old Long street and was founded by Israel-born Sharon Segal 14 years ago. This quirky yet sophisticated spot is layered with deep detail in its creative expression, like the vibrant image of cups on the walls that are actual pictures of customer’s coffee and tea cups captured over six months. Or the powerful quotes and poetry on the bathroom walls and on the vinyl displays. It all adds to the theatrical and playful vibe of the unique coffee shop and restaurant.
This is the sweetest, guilt-free spot you go to for those – only chocolate will make it go away – kind of days. This petite and delightful store is neatly tucked in the corner of Wale and Loop street in the City Bowl. Everything in this bean to bar chocolate company is handcrafted and made with organically produced ingredients for the purest and most delicious chocolate treats. Experience chocolate in various forms, from baked chocolate treats, to dairy-free smoothies or milkshakes, chocolate slabs, chocolate paste, bonbons and cacao nibs. We loved the chocolate politician heads of Zuma, Zille, and Malema and do try out the salty caramel tart. You can thank us later.
Image: Gugulethu Mkhabela
Bean There Coffee shop experience
Next door to Honest Chocolate, is the Bean There Coffee Company which describes itself as South Africa’s first roaster of certified Fair Trade coffee. We love the cosy, relaxed and inviting ambiance of this place. The colorful quirky decor, velvet sofas and the luminous shades and textures of poufs, scatter cushions and lamps give the space, a welcome home, you may stay as long as you like feel, as long as you pay the bill before you leave. The beautiful display of merchandise on sale (African t-shirts, books, leather bags, cycling shirts, coffee machine accessories, and much more) also adds to the cosy yet elgant interior. There is nothing pretentious about this place. You will feel at home as soon as you walk in, especially because of the very warm and friendly staff, which is where most establishments in the Mother City fall short sometimes.
Photography: Viné Lucas