Craft Coffee cappuccino

My Five Favorite Coffee Shops in Joburg

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.

Beans roasting at Urban Grind
Beans roasting at the Urban Grind, one of my top five.

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.

Cappucino from Bean There
One of the first Joburg cappuccino pictures I ever took. Shot at Bean There, circa 2011.

Beans roasting at Bean There
Beans roasting at Bean There.

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 CoffeeFather Coffee in 2013. It looks the same today.

Coffee drinks from Father CoffeeMy first americano from Father Coffee. I can’t remember what Anita was drinking.

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.

Pour-over at Urban GrindA pour-over in progress at Urban Grind.

Urban Grind cappuccino and beansCappuccino and beans from Urban Grind. It was raining the day we went but the shop has a really nice outdoor seating area.

 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.

Ray and Fiver in Craft CoffeeRay and Fiver in Craft Coffee.

Craft Coffee cappuccinoA sunny Craft Coffee cappuccino.

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.

Outside Cramer's Coffee
Cramer’s Coffee, circa 2011.

Vacuum brewing at Cramer's CoffeeA 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.

Ray coffee foam smile
Coffee foam smile.

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25 Comments

  • Reply Cath July 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Have you tried Loof coffee on Grant Ave in Norwood? Worth a visit!

    • Reply 2summers July 3, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      No, but I’ve heard good things! Need to get over there.

      • Reply Paul July 3, 2016 at 8:18 pm

        It is worth the trip. 🙂

  • Reply Gail Scott Wilson July 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    That’s the one thing we could not find in Fordsburg today, was decent coffee. Is there a little hidden coffee gem that you know of?

    • Reply 2summers July 3, 2016 at 6:25 pm

      Hmm, that’s a tough one. I usually go to the Divine Cafe – not because the coffee is good but just because I find it charming 🙂

    • Reply 2summers July 3, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Oh, and I just remembered that a new branch of Istanbul (the Turkish restaurant) has moved into the old train car restaurant on Mint Rd. Turkish coffee is a good option!

      • Reply Gail Scott Wilson July 4, 2016 at 10:12 am

        That’s where we eventually went but it is limited to Turkish coffee or a Nescafe Cappuccino sachet.

        • Reply 2summers July 4, 2016 at 10:13 am

          Yeah, I think you can at least get a real cappuccino at the Divine Bakery.

  • Reply violetonlineisonline July 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    I love that each of these coffee shops is edgy and urban. Great top five!

    • Reply 2summers July 5, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Thanks!

  • Reply autumnashbough July 3, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    oooh, all that coffee looks great! Now, which one has the best pastries to go with that coffee and who does the best iced coffee or frappuchino?

    • Reply 2summers July 3, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Interesting questions. These places don’t really specialize in food – Urban Grind doesn’t sell food at all, not even tea! The other places have an ok selection but nothing earth-shattering. Iced coffee though…Bean There has a good one, and Craft. Not sure about the others. Plain, good iced coffee is really hard to find in SA.

  • Reply Namz July 4, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    You made me miss Joburg even more with this post Heather! I LOVED the coffee there and have been to all these places except Camers but its too late now 🙁
    Hopefully I will find some hidden gems here in the UK as well….but not holding my breath!

    • Reply 2summers July 5, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Which city are you in? I’m sure there are some great coffee shops up there!

      • Reply Namz July 5, 2016 at 10:51 pm

        Reading in the UK for now…but London from next month. Trying to find my little coffee shop!

  • Reply Eugenia A Parrish July 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Love that smile!

    • Reply 2summers July 5, 2016 at 7:10 am

      🙂

  • Reply Kate July 4, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Went to New York last year to get my South African residential visa…..and had pourovers for the first time in my life. I can’t believe it. They’re so good. These places look great….SO far from where I live though….I love Northcliff but this side of town is very removed from anything like that.

    • Reply 2summers July 5, 2016 at 7:10 am

      Yeah, someone needs to open a decent coffee shop in the West Rand. If you find one, let me know!

      • Reply Kate July 5, 2016 at 11:58 am

        Will do! West Rand is very much a residential area and a mall culture, clearly. 🙁 We’re moving to our new place in Northcliff because of two things: large garden and quiet ( I cannot stand excessive noise). I love the atmosphere of Melville but the houses seem to be back to back, and maybe I’m mistaken, but quiet seems rare. I guess that’s subjective though.

  • Reply justin chamblee July 5, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Hey Heather you must try The Whippet in Linden and Flight Coffees at FNB Bank City in JHB. There Cuppacino’s are to die for 🙂

  • Reply Sine July 5, 2016 at 8:15 am

    My two favorite topics: Coffee and Joburg! Can’t go wrong with a blog post about that. And I’ve actually “been” at Bean There! CAn’t wait to try the other 4. I may actually make it to Joburg mid August, will keep you posted if it works out!

    • Reply 2summers July 5, 2016 at 8:15 am

      Oh! That would be so exciting. Please keep me posted – I’d love to see you.

  • Reply Lauren September 10, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Love Craft Coffee, it’s part of my daily ritual. Awesome to see how Newtown is growing!

    • Reply 2summers September 12, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      I know. All of downtown, really. Exciting times.

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