Today I’m delighted to have a double-guest contribution to Eating Covent Garden. Nicky Elliot and Yvette Wilsenach live in Cape Town and as a fabulous photographer/writer combination have produced a stunning book called The Coffee Route. It’s their guide to Cape Town’s hottest coffee spots.
It’s a volume of beautiful pictures and useful facts to help enhance the lives of coffee lovers. Each section is prefaced with a map to help plot your route and each entry also includes information about parking, wifi (always important in a coffee shop) and the type of coffee served, as well as ideas of what else to do while you’re in the area.
Here’s what Yvette has to say about Cape Town’s coffee culture.
There is much to say about the beauty of Cape Town. There is the famous Table Mountain, the sea, the colourful Bo-Kaap, the greenery and nature in the middle of the city, the views. But one of the things that I am most grateful for, is the lack of shopping malls. Make no mistake, we do have them – for example, one is a kilometre long, the other sits in the docks in Cape Town and has stunning views and shops – but we do not really have a mall culture. Which is great and I believe that it contributes to the individualism of which Capetonians are so proud.
Cape Town has always had a bit of a hippie vibe, with markets like Greenmarket Square and Church Street having been around for decades. In recent years, say the past decade, this individualism has married with the global rise of a coffee culture and so, thank heaven, we have dozens, if not hundreds of small, quirky and independent coffee shops.
So we wrote a book about some of them, called The Coffee Route. And what does that mean? That means we are constantly being asked, yes, but which is the best? And that is very hard to answer, because it all depends on what you are looking for. It is currently winter in Cape Town, otherwise known as the Cape of Storms, so this is a good time to huddle up in a coffee shop, devour some comforting cake and watch the sea, wind and rain.
Other times, you may need to focus on finishing that deadline. Then you don’t want too much of a distracting view, you need some low-level background activity and waiters who cater to your needs without helicoptering over you as you have just had that brainwave that pulls everything together. Or you want to go somewhere charming, perhaps with some dappled shade, some comfortable cushions, a pile of mags, or meet a friend for lunch. Other times you are dashing in to get a take-away on the way to your yoga class/meeting with a venture capitalist/friend’s birthday tea and before you get to the counter they are making your regular. All of this and more is available on the Cape Town coffee scene and I haven’t even got to the coffee yet!
Ten years ago Origin Coffee opened in Cape Town and was one of the very first home-grown roasters. Now there are dozens of them in Cape Town itself, not to mention the outlying areas. These guys (men and women) are proud, excited, excitable and adventurous. They are roasting and producing some pretty awesome coffee and experimenting with new ideas, roasts, beans and products.
So yes, if you are a tourist to Cape Town and seeking reassurance, you will be able to find many international brands such as Illy and Lavazza or the ubiquitous Starbucks, currently making its debut in South Africa, but I would urge you to try some of the roasts from Origin, Truth, Deluxe, Rosetta, Tribe and one of their wonderful coffee shops.
And here beautifully photographed by Nicky are some of those wonderful establishments where you can get your daily coffee fix. There’s a lot of choice…
To find out more and buy your own copy of this stunning book visit www.thecoffeeroute.co.za