I woke up this morning with a sudden desire to rejuvenate my Jozi Top Fives series with a post about my favorite coffee shops. I’ve held back on writing this post for a long time, because Joburg has so many great coffee shops and I was hesitant to pick just five. I also know that there are lots of great Jozi coffee shops that I haven’t been to yet, and once I publish this post I will receive many suggestions and feel compelled to drive all over town on an extended caffeine binge to try them all. But so be it.
As I wrote in my first Joburg coffee post many years ago, I was surprised by the strength of the Joburg coffee culture when I moved here in 2010. And that culture has grown tremendously since then — this city has become a legit coffee mecca. So if you’re new in town and craving a great pour-over or macchiato, here are five suggestions to get you started.
My Top Five Jozi Coffee Shops
1) Bean There
Bean There, located in 44 Stanley in Milpark, is the godfather of Jozi coffee. Bean There was — as far as I know — the first single origin African coffee roaster in Joburg, and its delicious beans are now available in coffee shops and markets all over town. Bean There is probably the first place in Joburg where I ordered a cappuccino, and the first place where I purchased single origin beans from places like Tanzania and Burundi. The shop itself has a clean, comfortable vibe and plenty of space to hang out.
2) Father Coffee
When Father Coffee first opened its shop in Braamfontein in 2013, I described it as The Pinnacle of Caffeine Hipness. It still is today, and the coffee drinks there are my favorite in town. I’ve had many coffees there and every single one of them has been perfect.
Father’s Braamfontein shop is great, but it’s very small and packed to the gills on Saturdays. Never fear though; rumor has it that Father will soon open a second location in Rosebank.
3) Urban Grind Roasters
Urban Grind, which opened a year or so ago in Parkhurst, is my most recent coffee discovery; Ray took me there for a celebratory coffee on our two-year anniversary last month. This place is serious — I mean SERIOUS — about coffee. The baristas are extra friendly and they love doing pour-overs and explaining how to do one (they also will sell you all the equipment you need to do a proper pour-over at home). I had a pour-over and a cappuccino while I was there, and both were delicious. Urban Grind also sells great beans in very fashionable packaging.
4) Craft Coffee
My favorite thing about Craft Coffee is its unlikely location: tucked amidst industrial warehouses and underground art studios on GwiGwi Mrwebi Street in Newtown, almost under the M1 Highway near the graffiti pillars. The first time I discovered Craft Coffee I was beside myself with delight. The shop, which also houses a large roastery, is huge and airy with great light.
Fun fact about Craft Coffee: It’s the only local coffee shop I know of that sells its own Nespresso capsules.
The only thing I don’t like about Craft Coffee is that it’s not open on weekends. I’m hoping that will change someday.
5) Cramer’s Coffee
Cramer’s is the only coffee shop on this list that doesn’t roast its own beans; it serves Bean There coffee, which is great. But Cramer’s still deserves a place in my top five because it’s such a Jozi institution. It’s right in the center of the Joburg CBD, near Gandhi Square amidst all the big banks and mining companies, and has been there for as long as I’ve lived in Joburg. Cramer’s has a bustling, friendly feel to it, especially during the week when the area is full of office workers. (Cramer’s is also open on Saturday mornings.) I stop there every chance I get.
A special coffee demonstration at Cramer’s during the 2013 Joburg City Festival. A coffee expert named Matt Carter was showing us how to do a vacuum brew. I think this is my favorite Joburg coffee photo.
Thus concludes my Jozi Top Fives Coffee Edition. Please feel free to provide your own Jozi coffee shop suggestions.
And if you’re looking for a great Jozi-based coffee blog to follow, check out manmakecoffee.com. He featured me last year in his “Humans of Coffee” series. Manmakecoffee also has one of the world’s best coffee Instagram accounts.