All posts filed under: shops

reviews of the coffee shops I’ve visited

Here’s where to find the best coffee in Johannesburg: Father Coffee

There’s a Charles Bukowski quote that goes “We don’t even ask (for) happiness. Just a little less pain.” And that’s really all I ever ask for. I mean, if you had to ask me what I look for in a good restaurant, it’s only this: room temperature butter. Everything else will follow if there’s room temperature butter. That’s why I like Father Coffee. The attention to detail. In their roasting. In their coffee. And in their spaces. One of the co-founders, Nicholas, said it best in a Humans of Coffee interview I did with him: First and foremost we’re a coffee roastery and espresso bar. We’re hoping to improve the state of the coffee industry in South Africa by helping grow an informed and excited consumer. We put a huge amount of effort and consideration into everything we do, from sourcing, to roasting, to brewing and to our communications with our customers. Father Coffee is also an incredible place to hang out, whether you’re in Braamfontein or Rosebank. If I had to choose between the two shops, …

If you’re in Durban, here’s where you should be drinking your coffee this weekend

I woke up this morning to a tag on Instagram by Counter Culture. They’re celebrating the fact that their Simnikiwe Mkhize (@iamsimplicity) has just been voted the best barista in KZN. The news came as no surprise. I’ve met Simnikiwe. And within minutes she became one of my favorite people. If you’ve met her, I’m sure she’s one of yours. She served me a perfectly crafted chemex and, without a doubt, one of the best smiles in coffee. She’s one of the reasons I’m so keen to check out Counter Culture’s new space on Florida Road. One of many reasons. Like their Tanzania and Brazil blend roasted by Bishop’s Coffee. Or their rotating single origin pourovers. Or their ramen and beer nights. Or just shooting the breeze with Luke about the state of speciality coffee in South Africa. Until you and I are able to pop in, here’s a peek at the new shop:  

Jozi Blue

Trust me, I know how difficult it is to get into coffee. I remember the first time I had a proper chat with a barista. He had just served me a flat white. It looked like a cappuccino to me but I wasn’t in the mood for an argument. Instead I did the slow nod of appreciation. He began to explain that they were serving a Guatemalan that day. I had a quick look around but didn’t notice anyone interesting. He carried on to say that he was excited for me to taste it as it was a “complex coffee with hints of cocoa.” I nodded some more. I was still nodding when I realized he had stopped talking and was waiting for me to take my first sip. While I sipped he added that coffee generally is amazing. That while wine has about 750 “taste profiles”, coffee has more than 1500! Then he paused his excitement and asked: “So what do you think?” I assumed he wanted to me to distinguish which of the 1500 …

Café a Brasileira

The Café a Brasileira (the Brazilian Café) is one of the oldest and most famous coffee shops in Lisbon, Portugal – a favoured watering-hole of intellectuals and academics back in the day. And because of those facts, a tourist Mecca. We were lucky to pop in on a less busy morning. And even so, service was shocking. I got the sense that the waiter expected me to feel lucky & thankful to be attended to in such a fine establishment. Having said that, I did enjoy myself. It’s a beautiful space and a must-see on your visit to Lisbon. If only to see this hole-in-the-wall newspaper stand on the way out…