Johannesburg is a wild and electrifying urban jungle, bursting with creative energy and a growing specialty coffee scene. The pace of the Johannesburg Central Business District is thrilling – minibus taxis and humans crowd the streets as informal traders stake their claim to the sidewalk, providing every service from snacks to a fresh haircut. Here, history and heritage assault your senses with graffiti tributes to Nelson Mandela and the beasts of the Big Five. Turning the corner, you’ll see a colorful street marking a journey into the art and cultural hub of the city. This is Juta Street, Braamfontein, home to the second oldest pub in the city (The Milner Hotel), the weekly Neighbourgoods Market, and two fantastic coffee roasters, Father Coffee and Doubleshot.
Doubleshot has connections to Satemwa Estate farm in Malawi, so there’s always some delicious Malawian coffee (and tea!) to try. Their vintage G. W. Barth coffee roaster is in itself worth a visit. If you’re in town around breakfast time, Post right across the road is a winner for delicious breakfast fare.
A short stroll down the road lives Father Coffee, one of the most stylish places to drink coffee in this city (a second branch is located in Rosebank). Drawing from minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic, their spaces are quite simply beautiful. Greatest of all? The coffee is just as beautiful as the decor.
Johannesburg is rather large, but if you’re willing to explore (Uber is readily available), there are some delightful coffee destinations that should make your list.
Thirdspace in the suburb of Fourways is an oasis of specialty in a sea of consumer shopping malls. David Walstra spared no expense in setting up this beautiful, double volume space and finding the best people to make you a very memorable cup of coffee. It has become very popular as a co-working space, so if you’re in town on business, Thirdspace is a fantastic place to set up shop and get some work done.
Flynn Coffee is nestled in the decor district of Kramerville, where you can find all the best and most interesting pieces for the interior of your shiny new Jozi home. Time is always well spent chatting to Belinda and Moses about all things coffee and, on your way out, you can pop into Amatuli’s for a beautiful piece of African art to take home.
One of the city’s only multi-roaster cafés, Dear Maria, can be found in the leafy suburb of Bedfordview. They’ve only been open a few months, but they are full of an infectious enthusiasm about coffee – a trip out to this part of the world is a very fulfilling experience. They have a house blend roasted for them by Thirdspace and feature a new local or international roaster each month.
Johannesburg has a lot to offer and the few places mentioned here are sure to fulfill your coffee needs, although there are many more wherever you are in the city.
MEL WINTER is the Editor-at-Large of Coffee Magazine in South Africa.
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