By now it’s common knowledge that The Mother City takes its coffee rather seriously, so we totally get why you would want to try out as many coffee shops in Cape Town as possible. We have sipped and tasted our way through all the cool coffee spots and experiences to bring you the ultimate list of only the best.
Last Update – January 2022
The Mother City does not kid around when it comes to the best coffee. Neither do the proprietors of the city’s coffee hot spots who have the rather important job of keeping her populace thoroughly caffeinated and ready to carpe that diem.
Capetonians are all about that coffee life. From single-origin roasters to world-famous baristas clad in steampunk gear, there’s a coffee shop in Cape Town (or artisanal roaster) waiting around every corner in the CBD and surrounds. But don’t think that they are all created equally.
Here’s the Eatsplorer taste-tested roundup of the city’s most epic coffee roasters, -shops and -experiences to help guide and inspire your next outing in search of that all-important cup o’ joe.
ARTISANAL COFFEE ROASTERS & CAFES
#1 Rosetta Roastery
With humble beginnings at the Woodstock Exchange in Albert Road, Rosetta Roastery is a roaster and coffee shop in Cape Town that is as character-filled as the coffee lovers who frequent it. Their roaster recently moved to Salt River where they are still putting the finishing touches on the renovations. They have not rested on their laurels either with two new venues in recent years.
First, their Silo District Bar, situated on the generous courtyard of the MOCAA Seitz Museum, where they share a space with the Oriental fusion restaurant, The Yard. Then followed what they deem to be the most complete expression of the Rosetta Roastery Experience, their newly opened Bree Street Cafe.
Here, you can expect to find a filter brew bar, a choice of two single-origin coffees from South- and Central America, Africa, and Asia, and full access to the complete range of Rosetta’s roasted coffees. To complement your coffee, there is a range of in-house baked pastries, light meals, and other delicious goodies.
Each varietal of coffee is micro-roasted to present its unique personality. If you can’t find the time to pop around for a cuppa you can get in touch to have the beans or ground coffee delivered to your door in Cape Town for free, or couriered nationwide at a fee.
Addresses: 97 Bree Street, C/o Bree Street, and Shortmarket Street | Inside the Yard Restaurant, Silo 4, Silo District, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Often cited by those in the know as their favourite artisanal roaster and coffee shop in Cape Town, and even in the entire world. Truth Coffee Roasting on Buitenkant Street is a treat for all the senses.
In 2015 UK news agency The Telegraph gave Truth global top honours in the coffee shop category and we can’t say we were surprised.
This steampunk-themed coffee shop in Cape Town is definitely one of the must-visit destinations in the Mother City. Even if just to see what the hype is all about.
Try one of the five distinct blends that are roasted and blended onsite from beans that are sourced from the world’s foremost Fairtrade producers.
If you’re keen to stick around for more than just a coffee and a jaw-dropping look around, you can also choose to indulge in a more in-depth experience. Book a coffee appreciation course, or really up the ante with a barista introductory course or professional barista course.
Address: 36 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town
#3 Deluxe Coffeeworks
What started as a wild idea on a night out for founders Carl Wessel and Judd Francis Nicolay, has since turned into one of Cape Town’s best-loved success stories.
These days you can get your Deluxe Coffeeworks fix at no less than six national outlets throughout the Mother City and Stellenbosch, and one in Namibia. Carl and Judd eschewed all the standard bells and whistles and started Deluxe Coffeeworks with a single, second-hand roaster in Carl’s backyard.
From these humble beginnings grew a city-wide empire that is now the go-to supplier for the Cape Town’s hippest eateries and the java stop of choice for hardcore coffee fans.
Pop in for the finest Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Ethiopian hand-selected bean varieties, blended and roasted in-house daily to make full-bodied, full-flavoured, seriously smooth coffee.
Addresses: 171a Buitenkant Street, Gardens | 8 Kloof Street, Gardens | 25 Church Street, Cape Town City Central | 102 Wale Street, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town
#4 Expresso Lab Microroasters
Espresso Lab Microroasters is a specialty coffee roaster based at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Here, visitors can look forward to enjoying coffee at the hands of a team that takes pride in sourcing small lots of freshly harvested beans that are then analysed to find the perfect roasting profile.
This allows the shop’s roasters to reflect the terroir and origin of each coffee, showcasing its complexity in flavour and a striking that fine balance between sweetness and acidity.
A little alchemy, a whole lot of science, and plenty of really good coffee.
Address: The Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town
#5 Origin Coffee Roasting
Origin Coffee Roasting is located in Hudson St in the trendy Atlantic Seaboard neighbourhood of De Waterkant. It is one of the first artisanal roaster and coffee shops in Cape Town, so you don’t want to miss out on swinging by.
Take a walk to this beautiful spot via the area’s boutiques and enjoy a beautifully crafted cup of coffee prepared by some of the revered baristas in town. Joel Singer and his team are passionate about the entire process, from the sourcing of the green beans to the precise roasting, blending, grinding, and pouring of coffee.
Origin is able to get its hands on some of the finest beans around thanks to its preferential relationships with some of the world’s finest growers. These are then roasted by skilled roasters who work tirelessly to reveal the character of each blend.
Address: 28 Hudson St, Cape Town
Discover the Eatsplorer guide of best Cape Town breakfast spots to kick-start your day in the most delicious way, whether a quick stop, or boozy brunch.
CAFÉS THAT EARNED THEIR COFFEE STRIPES
#1 Jasons Bakery
Jason Bakery is one of the coffee shops in Cape Town that will not only satisfy your coffee cravings but also feed that sweet tooth. This is one spot that you want to hit nice and early if you like to get your bum on a seat.
You also definitely don’t want to face the disappointment of missing out on Jason Lilley’s famous pain au chocolate or pasteis de nata, which sells like proverbial (and literal) hotcakes.
Served with only the best freshly brewed coffee, this seriously good-looking very talented baker’s confections are to die for. Pull in after your morning run or cycle and watch as Cape Town wakes up around you.
If you do enjoy a bit of a hustle and bustle, lunch time is a wonderful time to go as well, just be ready to wait a little while if you want a good seat.
This Italian Deli will always have a piece of our hearts. Italian brothers Giovanni and Nicholas, have put a lot of love into this beacon of Greenpoint, and you can feel it in every fiber of the business, from the wonderful chatty staff to the delicious deli staples, to the bustling coffee bar.
Coffee at Giovannis is not a trendy experience, nor is it made with the latest gadgets. This is good old Italian tradition exemplified. The espresso machines are robust and strong and the expert baristas who have been part of the business forever, pull an amazing amount of coffee every day.
Add a freshly baked croissant, a panini with fillings selected at the deli counter, or an icing dusted Greek Shortbread biscuit to accompany your coffee and it will leave you wanting no more. Molto contento!
Address: 103 Main Rd, Green Point, Cape Town
#3 Black Box Coffeeworks
Not exactly what comes to mind when you look for a coffee shop in Cape Town but this drive-through coffee window is the epitome of coffee-loving done the Capetonian way.
Owner Benn Koene is offering thirsty cyclists, hikers, and passers-by the option of grabbing premium-quality coffee on the go. Black Box Coffeeworks is a mobile café situated on Constantia Neck Circle.
They are on a mission to reduce their carbon footprint, so expect compostable cups and know that you will only be served a lid on request. They may use solar-powered energy to fuel their coffee machines and only the most ethically-produced produce, but that does not mean that they compromise on quality. Quite the opposite.
Whether travelling by car or bicycle grab a cup of artisanal coffee from this bunch of upbeat, friendly baristas on the way to Hout Bay over the holidays. Or better yet, take a drive along Chappies and hit them as you circle back to town.
Aside from some seriously good coffee, you can also pick up some fresh breakfast pots and other grab-and-go snacks and meals prepared with organic produce and products.
Follow their trading hours, doings, and whereabouts here.
Address: Constantia Nek Circle, Hout Bay, Cape Town
#4 Molten Toffee
This hip little coffee shop in Cape Town, which first opened on Kloof street and then expanded to a second location on Longmarket Street, takes both coffee and art very seriously, so there is a lot to appreciate about both these elements at Molten Toffee.
The décor is simple with a trendy design vibe and lots of light streaming in through the large windows. Art is changed on a monthly basis, showcasing the work of some upcoming Capetonian artists.
But there is a reason why the morning crowd rushes in for their morning fix and digital nomads park their laptops on the little tables of this hotspot. Yes, you’ve guessed, it is the coffee that keeps them coming back.
The breakfast is not too shabby either and you can build your own breakfast from elements on the compact menu, which always arrives at the table fresh and carefully plated.
Their little egg frittatas are the perfect small meal in a few bites. Or just hone in on one of the best toasted sandwiches in the Mother City to complement your coffee, you won’t regret it, we promise.
Addresses: 45b Kloof Street & 161 Longmarket Street, Cape Town
#5 Ground Art Café
Situated on the blurred line between De Waterkant and Seapoint this little spot packs a coffee punch well above its size. Yes, you could go to Ground Art Cafe simply to admire the stunning views of Table Mountain, but you will be missing out for sure. The coffee is as artful as the rotating exhibition of local artists gracing the walls.
They boast a proprietary blend of Brazilian & Ethiopian coffee 100% African Arabica, roasted by their artisan supplier. The result is delicious, smooth, and lower in caffeine, which we are very happy to report because that means we can drink more of the stuff.
Address: 160 Strand Street, Cape Town
#6 House of the Machines
If you are adamant about working your way through the list to find your personal best coffee shop in Cape Town the House of Machines (THoM) is not to be missed.
This cool spot is the passion project of craft beverage innovator Brad Armitage, fashion designer Paul van der Spuy, and custom bike builder/entrepreneur Drew Madacsi, who came together to create a purpose-built space to share and show off their shared passions.
The result is a space that defines the forefront of cool. It is about as manly as a dire wolf with tattoos and a monster truck. This is an awesome spot for a laid-back daytime date or a quick coffee and catch-up with your hipster mates.
Also, great for a hungover brunch over the weekends. Indulge in their freshly brewed Salvador coffee, a delectable Nicaraguan single estate EU-certified organic coffee bean that’s roasted in Spain. Olé!
Address: 84 Shortmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
#7 Dapper Coffee Co.
Vintage cars + coffee = hell yeah!
Dapper Coffee Co. is a vibrant in-house coffee shop and restaurant that shares premises with Club 9. They recently moved just a few blocks away from their original premises to a new spot in Bree Street, Cape Town.
The beautiful contemporary space might be brand new but Dapper is still serving their good old delicious coffee made with a bean specially roasted on their behalf.
And oh, yes, whilst sipping your cappuccino you can still drool over some of the sexiest vintage cars you’ve seen in your life.
Address: 61 Bree Street, Cape Town
NOT-TO-BE-MISSED COFFEE EXPERIENCES
#1 Coffee Safari Experience
Travel Designer Ozzy Yerlikaya creates personalised, tailor-made experiences that showcase Cape Town’s most intriguing places and people. Ozzy is a native Turk who has called Cape Town home since 2009 and now shares his passion for coffee with locals and visitors alike at the hand of some seriously cool sunrise coffee safaris.
Meet up at a secret location where Ozzy will set up his mobile coffee bar and treat you to a java appreciation course. Whilst overlooking one of the most Instagram-able spots in Cape Town, of course. There’s no better way to start the day! Find out more here…
#2 Coffee Appreciation & Barista Courses at Truth Café
Sometimes it is just not good enough to simply drink coffee. You want to get closer to it, smell it, understand it, know how to coach the best out of each bean, and let’s just say it, learn something.
And that is exactly what you can do at the Coffee Academy of Truth Café. You can join various experiences from a cupping experience, where you will train your taste buds what to look out for in a brew, to a barista course which will soon have you making the meanest flat whites at home.
So that’s a wrap folks…
If this doesn’t whet your whistle, you seriously need to get your whistle checked. Go on, make an outing of it. Visit a few of these incredible roasters and cafes, or join an immersive coffee experience, and change the way you see coffee forever.
Enjoy your coffee fix and, as the Turks say, may your coffee be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love!
Writing: Anna-Bet Stemmet | Photography: Black Box Coffee Works, Gerda Genis | Coffee Safari, Jan Ras | Truth + Bean There + House of the Machines, Kleinjan Groenewald | Rosetta, Mariuzs Szczawinski | Origin | Jasons Bakery