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Cape Town has no shortage of specialty coffee.  Finding the perfect cup is possible, but it’s also daunting amidst the number of cafés around every corner.

the coffee bicycle

There's a cup of coffee waiting around every corner...

On a recent trip to the city, I asked my neighbourhood coffeehead, a former Capetonian, to give me recommendations on the finest caffeine Cape Town could offer.  His eyes lit up like a child in a toy store as he started reeling off a list of favourites: Origin, Deluxe, Truth…  He paused and looked at me over his cappuccino.  “You won’t have that much time in Cape Town.  Alright.  I’ll give you the ultimate coffee challenge.  If you have time for nothing else, do this.”

It’s true, I didn’t have much time in Cape Town.  To be more specific, I had exactly thirty free minutes.  But it turns out that’s exactly enough time for the Great Cape Town Coffee Challenge.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: finding the perfect coffee-and-pastry combo.  This is tricky, and not always possible under the same roof.  In Cape Town, get yourself to Jason Bakery (formerly Jardine) on the corner of Bree and Bloem.  There are a lot of amazing pastries stacked in their shelves and display cases, but you only have eyes for one: the cranberry brioche.

With your pastry safely tucked under your arm in a brown paper bag, walk briskly to 25 Church Street.  This is the difficult part. Walking briskly is key because you don’t have a lot of time before your will power melts and you eat the pastry before even ordering your coffee.  If you’re one of those people with abysmal self control, order two cranberry brioches at Jason: one for the walk, and one for the coffee.

25 Church Street is the home of Deluxe Coffeeworks.  Watch for the big “D” engraved on the window, or the row of caffeine-infused hipsters perched on a bench outside the door.  The folk at Deluxe know their coffee; I’m an espresso girl myself, but I’ve heard they also do a mean cappuccino.

Deluxe Coffeeworks

Relaxing with a caffeine fix at Deluxe Coffeeworks

It’s down to the wire as you watch the barista pull your espresso and steam the milk.  While he’s pouring fancy designs into the foam on your latté, your hand is creeping towards the still-wrapped pastry that is begging to be eaten.  You’re down to the wire.

The moment the cup hits the counter, it’s time to relax.  Take a sip; chew slowly on that first amazing bite of cranberry and flakey pastry.  This is what winning tastes like.

coffee and pastry

The Winning Combo

One Response to “In search of perfect caffeine: the Great Cape Town Coffee Challenge”

  1. Wendy

    You must try Carlucci in Hout Bay – one of the best flat whites outside of Aussie and NZ I’ve tasted and pastries to die for. Great atmostphere, helpful and friendly staff. Haven’t tried other two Carlucci’s but their reputation for good food and coffee is legend


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