CNN Travel recently published an article about coffee culture in South Africa. After reading, I realized this was perfect evidence of how insight from a local expert can be far more useful than something written for the masses. There are at least 100 cafes in Cape Town alone, and South Africa's coffee culture is thriving (certainly not 'new', as the article suggests). I've enjoyed a variety of the richest, nuttiest, boldest espressos - maybe the best I've ever had in my life - in Cape Town.
The truth is, slowly but surely, South Africa's established coffee culture is opening up to the masses. Thinking about the volume of beans Southern and East Africa exports, I was really surprised to discover coffee, and the accessories required to brew it, is expensive in Africa. A bag of coffee beans costs around R50 (often more for name brand), whereas a jar of instant is almost always less. I, too, was guilty of consuming instant at home, until I caved and invested in a filter coffee maker last year. The difference in price creates a divide between who can afford to drink real coffee at home, and who defaults to drinking instant.
What the Department of Coffee (@Dpmofcoffee) has created in Khayelitsha is fantastic. They've brought the cafe experience home, to a township location where there is a growing demand but little supply. They sell real, fresh coffee at a reasonable price point, so aficionados don't have to travel all the way to the CBD for their espresso fix. They host once-a-month Saturday open days, and MetroRail runs a #coffeemob train at 9:15am to help a wider Cape Town audience access the Dept. of Coffee's cafe. The next open day is this Saturday, April 20th. I think that's the real story worth reporting.