My hunt for the world’s best coffee shop continues…
Cape Town serves some exceptional coffee. A few cafés even have their own in-store roastery offering a huge variety of single origin and espresso blends. While I was in town, it seemed only right to visit as many coffee shops as possible and seek out Cape Town’s best cafés. I am still amazed at the huge variety on offer: from cycle cafés (Bike Plus, Constantia) to motorcycle cafés (House of Machines, City), there is a coffee shop for everyone.
Every café has it’s own vibe and unique interior architecture which I absolutely love. Cape Town is such a vibrant and creative city and these coffee shops are a perfect example of that.
If you know of any coffee shops that aren’t on the list but you think should be, let me know in the comments!
Top 3 Overall.
[For me, these three cafés are not just the best in Cape Town but some of the best cafés I have visited across the world… and I’ve been to quite a few.]
1. Origin Coffee Roasting, De Waterkant
Tucked away on Hudson Street, you’d be forgiven for not knowing Origin even existed but when you find it, you’ll be thankful. Not only does the interior look great it’s also really practical, with large benches and tables for meeting friends and a large bar in front of the coffee machine which is ideal for working.
I suppose it’s hard not to be won over when you get a soft almond croissiant, still hot, straight out of the oven from the back of the café. Everything is fresh and made beautifully, with a huge choice of breakfasts, breads and pastries.
If you are a tea drinker you are also in luck, with several pages of the menu dedicated to Origin’s vast selection of teas.
The coffee: amazing!
2. Shift Espresso Bar, Green Point
Shift is relatively new to Cape Town, opening just over a year ago across the road from Green Point Stadium. Like Origin, Shift has such a great atmosphere that’s totally unique but equally inviting. After just a few trips I was made to feel like a local, something I believe is so crucial to the success of an independent café.
Shift benefits from a sheltered outside seating area, as well as the tables inside making it the perfect spot after the Green Point Park Run. The breakfast menu is also well suited for post training, with options like ‘protein porridge’. The stand out option in Shift is definitely the choice of speciality coffee with one being the ‘Bearded Junkie’: a double shot of espresso, nutella, micro foam steamed milk topped with crushed hazelnuts…! Yes, it’s as good as it sounds!
3. Sidewalk Café, Vredehoek
Sidewalk Café is a neighbourhood café, tucked away on the side of Table Mountain in Vredehoek. It has a really warm, inviting atmosphere that only a true local spot can have. It’s open till late in the week which makes it the perfect place for an evening coffee and dessert; they even have their own dinner menu as well.
The coffee at Sidewalk is great and they are one of only a few cafés in Cape Town to have almond milk. They also have amazing juices and their breakfast and lunch is second to none.
It’s hard to explain what makes Sidewalk so special, whether it’s the huge quirky wooden shutters or the amazing view from up on the mountain. All I can say is when I land back in Cape Town, it’s the first place I’ll go.
Top 3 for Coffee
4. Espresso Lab Microroasters, Woodstock
High quality, highly technical coffee with a huge variety of blends and single origins. Espresso Lab Microroasters are located in the Old Biscuit Mill and provide some of the best drip coffees I have ever had.
5. Rosetta Roastery, Woodstock
Rosetta Roastery is located in the Woodstock Exchange and usually has a choice of 4, including a pour over coffee. They don’t have a lot of choice in terms of food but the list of coffee is extensive and of a really high quality. Perhaps the greatest asset to Rosetta is their highly skilled, knowledgable staff. They really know their coffee.
6. Bean There, City
Much like Rosetta and Espresso Lab, Bean There take coffee very seriously. There’s a real cosy atmosphere in Bean There and it can be pretty tempting to sit around for a few hours. Again, they have a good variety of coffee and also have an in-store roastery. The staff are so much fun and are some of the friendliest people I’ve met.
Top 3 for Café
7. Jason’s Bakery, City
Jason’s Bakery is my ‘go to’ café for an early morning breakfast. Suitably placed close to Signal Hill, it’s the perfect post hike stop off. The breakfast is amazing and as you would expect, the bread is particularly good with a choice of rye, sourdough, baguette and ciabatta to name a few. There isn’t a huge amount of space, so you’ll want to get there early to avoid disappointment.
8. Bootleggers, Sea Point
Bootleggers is the best café this side of the mountain. I was told I must try the french toast banana bread with bacon and maple syrup. Oh my! It was incredible. If you are at Bootleggers you’ve got to try it. You won’t be disappointed.
9. Empire Café, Muizenberg
Empire Café is a cool little spot about 20 minutes drive from the centre, in the surf town of Muizenberg. If you can, get a seat upstairs with a great view of the waves. I wouldn’t say I’d go all the way to Muzienberg for the coffee but if you are there, Empire is the place to be. Breakfast and lunch looked really fresh here too but I’m yet to try it myself.
If you are looking for a post surf coffee, Empire is the one.
Out of Town
10. Smidswinkel Deluxe Coffeeworks, Stellenbosch
If you find yourself in Stellenbosch, you must check out Smidswinkel. It’s only about 10 minutes walk from the centre and it’s one of my best finds. The long benches make it ideal for working and there is a huge courtyard area too. I love the design in here. It’s a converted barn, run by cool people serving great coffee. What more could you want?
Others Worth Noting:
House of Machines, City
Best for: Motorcyclists and live music in the evenings.
Baked Bistro, Bakoven
Best for: Cyclists on the way back from Chapman’s Peak.
Bike Plus, Constantia
Best For: Cyclists looking for a post ride recovery. Bike Plus has a huge choice of juices and amazing protein smoothies.