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Kamili Coffee - The Best Coffee in Cape Town South Africa

Cape Town Cafe Guide – The Best Cape Town Coffee Shops

In Coffee Guides, South Africa by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch12 Comments

We drank a lot of coffee during a caffeine-fueled month in Cape Town South Africa. Find out our picks for 10 cafes serving some of the best coffee in Cape Town.

Baristas at Truth Coffee - The Best Coffee in Cape Town South Africa - A Cape Town Coffee Guide

The specialty coffee scene in Cape Town exceeded our high expectations.

With a mind-blowing number of independent shops with onsite roasteries, the Mother City has more cafes per capita than any city we have ever visited. Many of these cafes provide great working environments, each with its unique style and vibe.

But, for us, the best part of the Cape Town coffee scene is the artisan coffee itself. Freshly brewed, single-origin coffee is the norm at Cape Town coffee shops, and local baristas raise the bar in terms of creative coffee art.

Much like baristas in cities like Budapest, Bucharest, Dublin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Chiang Mai, Cape Town baristas use some of the latest forms of coffee extraction from Siphons to Chemex to Aeropress. However, we know of no other city where you can drink a perfectly brewed cappuccino with an elephant “painted” in the foam.

Cappuccino at Truth Coffee Roasting in Cape Town South Africa

We drank our first elephant cappuccino in Cape Town. Isn’t he cute?

Pro Tip: We selected our Airbnb apartment based on its close proximity to four of the third wave coffee shops that made our list. We often use this technique when we travel, an easy task in Cape Town due to the vast number of coffee shops in the city. This savvy maneuver gave us easy access to some of the top coffee shops in Cape Town as well as other cool spots that tend to be near third wave coffee shops.

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Cape Town Coffee Shop Guide

Truth Coffee Roasting in Cape Town South Africa

Each Cape Town coffee shop has its own style but none is more remarkable than the steampunk decor at Truth Coffe Roasting.

The Cape Town metropolitan area has less than 4 million residents, but you wouldn’t know it by the seemingly endless number of Cape Town coffee shops. The good news is that it’s easy to find a good cup of joe wherever you are in the city.

The bad news is that choosing a cafe can be overwhelming to tourists. Based on our month-long Cape Town coffee odyssey, we confidently recommend starting with these cafes:

Truth Coffee Roasting

David Donde at Truth Coffee in Cape Town South Africa

David Donde claims to suffer from “easy boredom”, but his Truth Coffee shop is anything but boring.

The team at Truth Coffee could easily rest on their laurels after being dubbed the “World’s Best Coffee Shop” by the Guardian in 2015. However, the lauded coffee shop continues to prepare coffee with “the joy of extraordinary truth” on a daily basis.

Though prolific owner David Donde takes coffee very seriously, Truth’s atmosphere is funky and fun with its gear-laden, ornately gilded, 19th century influenced steampunk decor. (Think Martin Scorsese’s 2011 movie Hugo and you’re on the right track.)

This decor almost hits you in the face the moment you walk into the Truth Coffee Cape Town location, but the coffee itself is the real standout. Donde’s goal is to not screw up the coffee by eliminating all bitterness from its flavor profile.

Impossible you say? Once you taste his expertly brewed coffee with distinctly rounded flavors, served with an artistic flourish to boot, you’ll agree that he has accomplished his goal and then some.

Cupping Ceremony at Truth Coffee Roasting in Cape Town South Africa

The cupping ritual at Truth Coffee Roasting involves lots of tasting and spitting, ensuring that some of the best coffee in the world is served to Truth’s customers.

We joined in on Truth’s cupping ritual and then interviewed Donde. Watch our YouTube video to see his insightful thoughts about coffee, Truth and Cape Town.

Pro Tip: Treat yourself or a friend to a barista class at Truth. Classes range from a couple hours to five days.

Truth Coffee Roasting is located at 36 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa.

Kamili Coffee

Cappuccinos at Kamili Coffee in Cape Town South Africa

Two cappuccinos are better than one at Kamili Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in Cape Town.

Flying under the radar compared to some of the other one-word-named coffee shops in Cape Town, Kamili is quietly creating a coffee empire with its coffee served in many of Cape Town’s best restaurants. We loved drinking coffee and working at Kamili’s original location, a wonderful cafe and roastery in District 6. The shop serves a small selection of sandwiches and desserts in addition to the main event – the coffee.

Friendly baristas brew this coffee to order using Chemex, Syphon, AeroPress and V60 equipment, though we usually opted for their espresso-based flat whites. Important to mention, the coffee beans roasted at Kamili are excellent, finishing with a wonderful bitterness that provides an optimal counterpoint against the richness of the steamed milk found in most espresso drinks. We could drink this coffee all day, so we did.

Pro Tip: Sit upstairs if you plan to work at Kamii. Not only will you find a good workspace and fast internet, but you’ll also enjoy the aroma of freshly roasting coffee while you work.

The original Kamili Coffee is located at 29 Shortmarket Street & Long Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa.

Origin Coffee Roasting

Cappuccino at Origin Coffee in Cape Town South Africa

Origin Coffee is the original third wave coffee shop in Cape Town.

A pioneer of the Cape Town coffee scene, Origin has been roasting and serving specialty coffee since 2005. This coffee shop can take credit for starting the city’s craze for coffee excellence.

Over ten years later, the folks at Origin continue to roast and serve well-crafted coffee using ethically sourced beans in their industrial-chic warehouse cafe. A visit to Origin is a must to fully understand the origin of the Cape Town coffee scene, plus their freshly baked bagels and croissants never disappoint.

Barista at Origin Coffee in Cape Town South Africa

Barista Campbell Colledge crafts a flat white during our first visit at Origin Coffee.

During our first visit to Origin, Barista Campbell Colledge gave us a coffee education as he prepared coffee using Syphon, v60 and Aeropress technology. This experience gave us the chance to taste the difference in the three techniques. Though the coffee beans sourced from Rwanda were the same in each cup, the profile varied based on the preparation technique.

Pro Tip: Origin is located between Bree Street and the Bo Kaap neighborhood, making it a great stop during a day of touring in Cape Town.

Origin Coffee Roasting is located at 28 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa.

Deluxe Coffeeworks

Deluxe is an anomaly in the Cape Town coffee scene since their cafes provide neither food nor wi-fi. Yes, you read that correctly – there is no wi-fi at any of Deluxe’s locations. What Deluxe does do is roast and serve excellently crafted coffee in a friendly environment. For true coffee lovers, this is enough.

Cappuccino at Deluxe Coffeeworks in Cape Town South Africa

We enjoyed our first or many Cape Town cappuccinos at Deluxe Coffeeworks.

During our time in Cape Town, we drank a lot of coffee at Deluxe and bought a few bags of their freshly roasted coffee to brew at home. They offer some of the best coffee in town, friendly service and the kind of atmosphere that facilitates enlightening conversation.

Pro Tip: Deluxe’s Buitenkant Street location shares a space with YARD where you can eat globally inspired tacos during the day and killer hamburgers at night.

Deluxe Coffeeworks has multiple locations. Our favorite location is at 171A Buitenkant Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa.

Tribe Coffee

Cappuccino at Tribe Coffee in Cape Town South Africa

Tribe Coffee is our favorite coffee shop in Cape Town’s trendy Woodstock neighborhood.

Tribe Coffee’s original location in trendy Woodstock attracts a hip crowd due to the neighborhood’s plethora of cafes, galleries and restaurants. We liked Tribe for its artisan coffee beans, comfortable space and fun soundtrack. In fact, we rarely left Tribe without humming a happy tune.

Interestingly, Tribe’s second location is in a BMW motorcycle dealer situated in the Cape Town CBD. It’s a cool space and the coffee is good, but we preferred the more welcoming, comfortable vibe at the Woodstock location.

Pro Tip: Tribe offers free parking at its Woodstock location, a true bonus in this popular hipster neighborhood.

The original Tribe Coffee is located at The Woodstock Foundry, 160 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7915, South Africa.

Espresso Lab Microroasters

Also in Woodstock, Espresso Lab lives up to its scientific name by treating the art of coffee like a science. Where better to practice coffee science than in a lab?

Keeping to the science theme, Espresso Lab’s decor is reminiscent of a laboratory with its clean lines and monochromatic colors. Not surprisingly, the baristas brew the shop’s freshly roasted beans with sophisticated coffee methods including V60, Aeropress and Chemex. Service is efficient and friendly and the coffee is good.

Pro Tip: Kill two birds at one time by combining a visit to Espresso Lab with a trip to the Saturday market at the Old Biscuit Mill.

Espresso Lab Microroasters is located at 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa.

Rosetta Roastery

Our third recommended Woodstock coffee shop is Rosetta Roastery in the Woodstock Exchange. This funky coffee shop serves freshly roasted coffee with a side of fun. This doesn’t mean that the coffee isn’t good.

To the contrary, the Rosetta team expertly roasts and serves a range of single origin and estate coffee sourced from Africa, Asia and South America. This is the cafe to go to when you’re in the mood for a slow-drip Kyoto coffee served with a macaron on the side.

Pro Tip: You can order a Rosetta pour-over when you buy meat at nearby Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, proving that you’re never far from a good cup of coffee in Cape Town.

Rosetta Roastery is located at 66 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa.

Bootlegger Coffee Company

Flapjacks at Bootlegger Coffee Co. in Cape Town South Africa

We take a break from coffee photos with this photo of Bootlegger’s flapjacks layered with maple bacon and topped with syrup and powder sugar. Sorry, not sorry.

Thanks to its unlimited wi-fi and long operating hours, Bootlegger is a haven for digital nomads and locals who like to work remotely. These would be reasons enough for many to go to Bootlegger, but the cafe doesn’t stop there.

Bootlegger serves great food like the flapjacks piled high and layered with maple bacon that we shared one morning. Beverage choices range from typical coffee drinks, (cappuccinos, flat whites, etc.) to craft beer from Cape Brewing Company (CBC)

Pro Tip: Two words: Unlimited Wi-Fi.

Bootlegger Coffee Company has multiple locations in Cape Town. We frequented the location at Forest Glade House, Tokai Road, Tokai, Cape Town, 7966, South Africa; however, we really liked the vibe at the Kalk Bay location.

Haas Coffee

Haas Coffee in Cape Town South Africa

The vibe at Haas Coffee is artsy yet relaxed.

Located in a historic building just a block from the District 6 Museum, Haas Coffee serves coffee in a stylish, comfortable space. Specializing in espresso-based drinks using luxury beans procured from countries all over the world, Haas Coffee is more than a typical coffee shop.

Haas, which interestingly translates from Afrikaans to rabbit, is also an art gallery and advertising enterprise.

Pro Tip: Stop for a coffee after you visit the District 6 Museum. This coffee break will give you a chance to chat about the moving experience.

Haas Coffee is located at 19 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa.

Dapper Coffee Co.

The coffee is solid at this Bree Street cafe. Unlike most Cape Town coffee shops, Dapper serves a blend that is roasted off-site plus a full lunch menu with the favorites like hamburgers, smoked salmon and more.

The stand-out feature at Dapper is the decor. The cafe’s exterior is marked by an expansive window that offers a front-row view of the busy sidewalk traffic. Inside Dapper, you’ll find a collection of vintage vehicles for sale by Club9. An impressive fleet is on glorious display with cars like Ferrari GTOs and Porsche 911s as well as classic Mercedes SL convertibles.

Pro Tip: Leave your credit card at home if you’re easily tempted. You don’t want to accidentally buy a vintage Porsche when you meant to buy a flat white.

Dapper Coffee Co. is located at the corner of Bree Street and Strand Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa.

Bonus Picks – Where to Drink the Best Coffee in the Cape Winelands

Iced Coffee at Kamili in Cape Town South Africa

Iced coffees are good treats on hot summer days.

But wait, there’s more!

As a bonus, we’re including our two favorite Cape Winelands coffee shops. Think of it as an extra shot of espresso in your cappuccino or flat white.

The Blue Crane and the Butterfly

Ironically, the most exciting coffee shop that we visited in Cape Town wasn’t actually in Cape Town.

Nearby Stellenbosch’s The Blue Crane and the Butterly has more than a fanciful name derived from a bedtime poem that owner Michael Jones wrote for his son. At first glance, the cafe is a pleasantly decorated cafe serving equally pleasant cups of coffee brewed with El Salvadoran beans. But a quick walk across the street reveals so much more.

Charles-Napier Joubert at BCCC in Stellenbosch South Africa

Charles-Napier Joubert is a coffee scientist at BCCC in Stellenbosch. This is his lab.

Charles-Napier Joubert, a trained chef, runs BCCC as his personal coffee laboratory. The BCCC space has a decked out lab with all of the latest coffee gadgets plus a roasting room, lounge and coffee bar.

We plowed through a slice of gluten-free chocolate olive oil cake while Joubert explained how his cold brew coffee takes 24 hours to drip on BCCC’s Kyoto dripper. For coffee geeks like us, life doesn’t get much better than this.

Pro Tip: Go to The Blue Crane and the Butterfly to drink the best coffee in town when you need a break from drinking too much wine in Stellenbosch. Trust us, it happens.

The Blue Crane and the Butterfly is located at 146 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa. BCCC is across the street.

The Hoek Espresso Bar

Franschhoek is known for its wine, food and scenery. But what about the coffee?

Cappuccino at The Hoek Espresso Bar in Franschhoek South Africa

Coffee at The Hoek tastes better when enjoyed on the cafe’s outside deck.

The Hoek is an adorable cafe serving solid coffee. This should not be a surprise since The Hoek uses beans procured from Deluxe Coffeeworks (see above).

Don’t hold it against The Hoek for not roasting their own beans. The baristas here craft a mean flat white and serve it with a side of free wi-fi. We approve.

Pro Tip: Sit outside when you drink your flat white or cappuccino at The Hoek. The atmosphere is pleasantly chill.

The Hoek Espresso Bar is located on Huguenot Street, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa.

Wondering what else to do in Cape Town other than drink coffee? Check out our Cape Town Food Guide for the best eats in town.

Capetown Coffee Map

We’ve included this handy map so you can track your Cape Town cappuccino breaks with a smartphone.

Research Cape Town Hotels

Have we convinced you to visit Cape Town and drink all the coffee? Click here to research rates for Cape Town hotels. Or, if you want access to a kitchen, click here to find an Airbnb apartment.

Book a Cape Town Food Tour

There’s more to do in Cape Town than drinking specialty coffee. Click here to find an awesome Cape Town tour or try one of these Cape Town Food tours:

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.


  1. Having those onsite roasteries is the big difference maker guys. It makes the coffee scene what it is. I was a roaster – coffee, ahem, LOL – for a few years back in college in New Jersey. I roasted all types of beans, learning how each should be roasted until a certain texture. The shops where the owner sold beans were always pretty busy; you can just smell the freshness of beans roasted either on the premises or a 20 minute ride away. Tasty post 😉

  2. Wow, that elephant coffee looks so good. It’s morning here so reading your post makes me want to go out in search of the perfect coffee! I am not in Cape Town but now I wish I was! I love coffee so much, and I especially love it when people put soul into making it not just taste great, but also look great. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Author

      Cory – We’re so glad you love coffee. When we visit a destination we will often buy beans at our favorite coffee house in that location and make coffee from them at home. We’re that obsessed.

  3. Mindi and Daryl, What a comprehensive guide. I love it. I don’t plan on returning to Capetown in the near future, but you can bet that when I do, I’ll be looking this guide up again. I love that you choose your AirBnB on coffee house locations!

    1. Author

      Thanks Corinne! In South Africa and in many other world cities, hip coffee house locations are a good jump off point for many of the best, cutting edge city locales.

  4. Guys, your photos are awesome! I love the latte art. I really want to go to South Africa, will definitely check out your guides to start planning our trip!

    1. Author

      Thanks Portia!! Please don’t be afraid to ask if you have any questions. We’re going to have a lot more cool content on South Africa to come in the next few weeks.

  5. You take beautiful photos! I wouldn’t mind travelling to South Africa just for the coffee culture 🙂

    1. Author

      Thanks Daniela. There’s so much great coffee in South Africa that you can never think about drinking it all in just a few days. They also have so many great spaces in which they serve the coffee. Between the coffee houses and the mountains, Cape Town is a pretty neat place.

  6. Incredible pictures and what a great list! Now I wanna go to Cape Town. *searchesforflights* =)

  7. What a great, comprehensive guide to awesome coffee, Daryl and Mindi! And those iced coffees look ahhh-mazing! ? Your pictures are awesome!

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