On Friday I was walking down Gwi Gwi Mrwebi Street (formerly known as Pim Street) in Newtown. Gwi Gwi Mrwebi is only two blocks long and is kind of a secret street. The only people who know about it are bird-lovers (the city’s oldest bird seed factory, D. Kingsbury, is there), graffiti artists/enthusiasts (the buildings on Gwi Gwi Mrwebi, along with the pillars under the M1 highway nearby, are plastered with graffiti), and people who live/work near the highway overpass in Newtown.
Anyway, I was in Gwi Gwi Mrwebi Street on an impromptu graffiti tour with Ray and my friend Fiver. We had just finished admiring the bird graffiti on the walls of D. Kingsbury when we spotted a new glass storefront near the corner, almost under the highway. A coffee shop! We went inside to investigate.
It’s all shiny and new and populated by coffee-drinkers! Excitement.
I had actually heard a rumor a couple of months ago that a new coffee shop was open under the M1 Highway. My friend Louise reported that she went looking for it and came up empty. But the rumor was true, as it turned out.
Craft Coffee is more of a coffee roastery/supplier than a coffee house; the company provides specialty beans and barista training to several coffee shops around Joburg and used to be based in Marshalltown (in the Joburg CBD). Craft moved to Newtown at the end of last year, but they weren’t open to the public at first.
Then in February, Craft owner Chris Brown opened a café as an accessory to the roastery/barista training facility. I suppose he figured that he had the space and expertise, so why not? It’s also an ingenious location for a coffee shop. Although Gwi Gwi Mrwebi Street is a bit off the beaten path, it’s right across the road from the Newtown Junction Shopping Centre, which — despite being a huge, brand-new mall — inexplicably has no coffee shop of any kind. There are lots of students living in the area, as well as a constant stream of camera-weilding graffiti-lovers.
Ray and Fiver have both observed that I get a certain gleam in my eye when I stumble into a new place and realize it’s blog-worthy. I got that gleam at Craft.
Ray and Fiver wait for their drinks.
My perfect cappuccino.
Roasting equipment in the back of the shop.
Japhet Matimbe (left), the Craft roaster, and Sidumisile Dube (right), the barista trainer. I love this shot. These two really know how to smile for the camera. They also seem like fabulous people.
A warning for hipsters: Drinking at Craft may result in a foamy moustache.
Craft has free wifi, too. Go forth and caffeinate.