5 best coffee experiences in South Africa

Aug 29, 2018

Winston Thomas is a consummate South African coffee professional, he was the 2016 South African Aeropress Champion as well as the SCASA 2017 / 2018 South African Barista champion. Winston frequents the South African coffee circuit and is known to get stuck in behind a machine at a fine coffee shop near you. Next time you’re in Cape Town do pop in at Rosetta Roastery to get the best of both man and machine. Here are his 5 favourite South African coffee experiences.
Beaver Creek Coffee Estate

After winning my first National Barista Championships in May of 2017 I was very fortunate to be inviting to Beaver Creek by the owner himself, Dylan Cumming. I had never visited a coffee farm before and how fitting to have this first “Origin” trip in my own backyard. The time of the trip was perfect because it was nearing the end of harvest.

I spent my first day on a tour of the farm with Dylan, picking and tasting the ripe cherries. Dylan took me through the history of the farm and shared some of the plans he has for the future. We also spent some time processing or more specifically pulping and beginning fermentation process for the lot that had been picked that day.

The rest of my trip was spent sample roasting, cupping and brewing on site with Dylan and his team. What impressed me most by this experience was the fact that you could see the entire coffee chain take place on the same farm in one day! That is growing, picking, processing, roasting and brewing. A very special experience indeed and I cannot wait for my next visit.

image via – Winston Thomas

Travel Designer Coffee Masterclass

Ozzy is no slouch when it comes to travel experiences. A regular at a few of the best cafes in Cape Town Ozzy decided to get his hands dirty and provide a coffee experience of his own.

Now, I have personally been involved with this one of a kind event, but believe me I have put all my bias aside when deciding to include this experience. You can book this masterclass with Ozzy and experience your morning coffee with a view next to none. The familiar Land Rover has the ability to get to remote locations where Ozzy is more than ready to set up his pour over station. The Atlantis Dunes and the foot of Table Mountain are the usual suspects but knowing Ozzy, I am sure he has more remote locations up his sleeve.

He has taken a very simple brewing method and some of Cape Town’s most spectacular views to create a coffee experience like no other.

Origin Coffee Roasting Brew Bar

Once again, all bias aside (for those of you that don’t know my coffee career started at Origin) I do believe that Origin provides the most dynamic brew bar experience in the country.

With a selection of 5 brewing methods and 4 – 6 (sometimes more) coffees to choose from there will always be something new to taste when having a seat at this bar. Origin has a range of specialty grade single origin coffees available, some of them Cup of Excellence lots which are very rare and special and always worth the price surcharge.

Roasted by the Legends Jorge Kimbangla and Mike MacDonald, this experience can be taken a level further when going upstairs to chat to the men behind the coffee. Patrons are free to visit them and have a tour of the roastery. The knowledgeable baristas are always keen for a chat and you can find yourself sitting at the bar for over an hour tasting and learning about coffee.

Origin Coffee Bar

image via – Lee Henriques

image via – Winston Thomas

Coco Safar Botanical Bar

I’ve visited the Botanical Collection Bar before and tasted a few of the beverages on offer. But one unsuspected afternoon one of the Baristas offered a “tasting” at this bar. Not knowing that I had been there before I was curious to see if it would be the same experience. Far from it.

 He took me through all of the beverages on tap. The Sparkling Citrus Coffee Cold brew, both Red and Green Sparkling Rooibos Cold brew and as well as the Rooibos Infused Tonic Water. The stand out for me was their Citrus Coffee Cold brew which is prepared on site along with the rest of the drinks in their micro-brewery. Next up was an assortment of sorbets and gelatos. Also made on site and reminded me of barista competition signature beverages.

The flavour combinations were somewhat unconventional to me but very progressive with my favourite being the Balsamic Dulce De Leche Gelato. I returned a couple of week later to take a few pictures for this blog and was greeted by another friendly barista (pictured above) who more than willingly made me an espresso martini which was espresso dominant and very tasty. In addition to this special bar feature Coco Safar also boasts 2 coffee bars which are second to none. The first has Two 3 group Kees van der Westen Idrocompresso Spirits, two Mahlkonig EK43s and 4 Nuova Simonelli Mythos Clima Pros on the espresso bar serving both a blend and single origin coffee. The second is a Slow Bar/Capsule Emporium serving alternative brews and their very own pod collection straight up or with the addition of milk as a macchiato or cortado.


Clean lines, Asian influence, state of the art equipment and bar. Thirdspace has progressed into one of the finest bars on the continent and is by far one of my favourites. But this isn’t why I’m including it in this feature. The experience is mainly based on the fact that it is a community focused space with the name suggesting that it is the additional space after home and work. David and his team have managed to create a space for individuals from all facets of life in a somewhat unlikely location.


image via – Winston Thomas

From businessmen and creatives using it as an office space (the space includes a sound proof meeting/board room available to book) in the morning, social space for events in the evening and the weekend staple for local cyclists Thirdspace has become a home to many. Downstairs, ample seating with charging stations at each communal table. The bar is kitted with a 3 group Victoria Arduino Gravimetric Black Eagle, Nouva Simonelli Mythos Clima Pro and Mahlkonig EK43, as well as manually brewed pourovers. The coffee is ethically sourced and roasted by UK import Ben Jenkin. There is a small menu which covers pretty much all bases where food is concerned (my favourite is the breakfast sandwich!). Extra seating can be found upstairs as well as the roasting facility and shelving.

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