A cultural insight trip to Cape Town

I recently took a trip to Cape Town, South Africa and couldn’t help but be drawn into numerous side streets, artisan coffee shops and local craft markets.

It goes without saying that when in Cape Town you will make the very most of the landscape, nature, and vineyards, read on to discover the pick of the best caffeine spots and a few local brands that really caught my attention.


‘But first, coffee’ is a mantra in many parts of the world now, but the quality of the coffee available on every street corner in Cape Town is truly staggering. The coffee is so universally good, that boutique cafes and roasters are becoming increasingly creative with their interiors and atmosphere to differentiate themselves.

A key cultural difference to note – ordering a cappuccino regardless of time of day and coolness of person, is absolutely acceptable. The Flat White is still quite a chichi order.

Espresso Lab at the Old Biscuit Mill in edgy Woodstock is a micro-roasters that borrows from the world of alchemy and science.

Ordering a coffee here is a scientific process in itself. While you’re waiting for your coffee to be crafted, wander round the clean space and check out the intriguing apparatus on display.


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Kamili Coffee on the eternally buzzing Long Street stands out from the crowd because they roast their beans to order.

Get a coffee to take away and try to make it last the whole length of Long Street, take a quick photo of the surreal OPEN red façade building. Alternatively, drink in, and absorb the warm atmosphere and intoxicating scent of roasting beans.

Deluxe Coffeeworks is a name that will seep into your psyche around Cape Town.

As well as having their own espresso bars, the roaster provides the beans for many cafes around the city and as such the logo will become ubiquitous with your city bowl ramblings. Go to the outlet on Wale Street, Bo Kaap, that is attached to a beautiful store showcasing local designers.

Converse with the barista and don’t be alarmed that his eye contact is intermittent – he will be meticulously checking the temperature of your milk.

Conversation terminée, enjoy the joyously colourful streets of Bo Kaap, the Malay quarter of Cape Town where rows of houses are painted in rainbow hues.


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Truth Coffee HQ is a bit of a Cape Town tourist cliché, but for good reason. Its wonderfully weird steampunk theme is done exceptionally well. If coffee with theatre is your thing, this is your place.

Non-coffee-focused establishments

A catchy subheading, but as you might have guessed, everywhere in Cape Town does coffee, but the places below are better known for their other wares.


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Jason Bakery (@) is famed for its croissants and ‘kick ass pies’ baked just next door (if you get up early enough you can watch the bakers doing their thing through the floury window).

The bakery has a fun, unapologetically irreverent tone in everything they do. ‘Sundays: go somewhere else’, which undoubtedly adds to the allure: Jason’s overflows every lunchtime.

If you don’t manage to get a coveted table, get something from the take-away hatch and wander aimlessly along Bree St, one of the coolest streets in Cape Town, and THE place for a passeggiata.


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Honest Chocolate Café is unassuming from the outside but the inside reveals a shrine to all things chocolate.

Go through the tiny space and emerge into a tranquil courtyard outside complete with potted plants, blankets and a trickling water fountain – you will immediately forget that you are in the very centre of Cape Town.

And I couldn’t possibly say for certain, but it is said that Honest Chocolate turns into a secret gin bar when the sun sets.

The story goes that the owner, a gin-lover, brings back a few bottles from each place he visits and shares with those in the know…

Saturday must do

If you only have one Saturday in Cape Town, make sure you spend a sizeable chunk of it at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock where there is a weekly market showcasing the best of local food and design talent. Along with live jazz, bespoke cocktails and a more than enticing fresh food market (Neighbourgoods Market) you will find stalls of local leather goods, fashion and jewellery.

Worthy mentions


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Particular standouts were Famke, delicate jewellery designed by a local Capetonian, Hannah Lavery, chic, monochromatic women’s fashion label designed, created and sold locally – you can even read the stories of the women who make the clothing online! And Stockton Goods, beautiful leather journals and wares, all designed and created locally – inhale.

By Alice Clapp, WPP fellow and Cultural Insight, Kantar Added Value.