There are few things in life as pleasurable as sipping on the first coffee of the day. There is also something as unique as walking into a buzzing coffee shop where espresso machines are manned by energetic baristas and whistling steam wands, and folk chatting over cups of hand-poured coffees. It’s crazy how a single beverage made from a humble bean can create worldwide communities of connoisseurs as well as competitive professions like competitive baristas. With International Coffee Day on 1 October, it’s worth visiting your favourite coffee shops and give thanks to those who make coffee for those who love to drink it.
From speciality coffee purveyors to everyday cafés that serve coffee on-the-go, South Africa has an endless supply of coffee shops and cafés where every milk alternative is available and speciality batch brews are as coveted as limited-release bottles of wine. But what makes a great coffee shop worth visiting on a day dedicated to coffee?
There are of course, different reasons for visiting one of the country’s many coffee shops. Some cafés make great coffee, but have a limited baked goods offering. On the other hand, a café may be a great spot for light meals and treats, but lack a certain pizazz in their coffees that are churned out by a busy barista behind a counter. But the top tier is the coffee shop trifecta: They roast their own beans, pour their own coffee, and all baked goods served are made in-house.
Johannesburg: Father Coffee
Behold, the first trifecta-tier coffee shop that we love visiting in Johannesburg; Father Coffee, which heralds over Kramerville. Father Coffee’s original location in Rosebank is also a quaint spot for a flat white on the go, but their “mothership” is a perfect venue for an International Coffee Day celebration. We recommend pairing your coffee order with one of their delicious homemade cardamom buns, which you can see made fresh in their kitchen with glass windows large enough to see bakers create delicious food.
Cape Town: Pauline’s
Sitting at Pauline’s feels like you’re in a tucked-away coffee shop in a small street in a quiet part of a busy city, but in reality, you’re in one of the most popular coffee shops on Sea Point’s Main Road. Pauline’s marries Scandinavian design and cuisine, with a Japanese Zen-like atmosphere. Coffee lovers, foodies, non-coffee drinkers, and Cape Town sartorialists can all be seen seated along the window or within Pauline’s cosy outdoor courtyard.
Durban: Humble Coffee
Humble Coffee is one Durban’s only coffee shops that roasts their own beans and bakes their own goods in-house. The best days to visit and grab a coffee or a bag of beans are on Mondays and Wednesdays when they roast their beans and the café smells of heavenly dark-roasted coffee. With two locations on Florida Road and Church Street, Humble Coffee is a great destination or a stop along the way.
Oudtshoorn: Beans About Coffee
Travelling throughout South Africa’s small towns, one may feel pressed for a silky, beautifully poured cup of coffee. But, drive through the main road of the ostrich-driven town of Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo, and you will find an old brick house with folk sipping cortados on the Beans About Coffee veranda. You will find rooms with bookshelves stacked with quirky vintage books, antique trinkets, and sweet treats on display at Beans About Coffee, where you can also buy a bag of their own roasted coffee.
Bloemfontein: Liriek Café
Liriek Café is a hidden gem within the hustle and bustle of the Free State’s capital of Bloemfontein. The best part? Is there is something for everyone at Liriek Café, if you’re a coffee lover or non-caffeine drinker alike. You will find your classic espresso-based drinks like a cappucino, macchiato, and americano, but you can also opt for a matcha or another tea. Celebrate International Coffee Day with their iced latte served in a funky scientist’s beaker, paired with a delicious breakfast bagel.