I don’t profess to know the difference between cupping and crema, but I’m more than qualified, as a consumer, to state that a lot of the ‘craft’ and ‘artisan’ coffee brands are starting to taste the same.
There’s also something going on in the roasting (or something in the process) that puts me on edge after one coffee and my body simply cannot handle another cup; even though I would like another coffee, generally speaking.
So I don’t have another one – not just because I’m a jittering wreck, but also because I start feeling somewhat nauseous.
It’s all we know, you see – because we knew nothing until a little red and white store appeared on Kloof Street in the early 2000s. Until then, the ground and full bean coffee section of Pick n Pay was a mysterious place where nobody you knew visited. Why would they? The instant coffee section was where it was at.
So once the industry kicked off and takeaway queues started to form, more brands started launching – each trying to outdo the one before. Stronger flavour. Stronger hit. Leather aprons. Beards. Twisted moustaches. Shaven side partings. Tieless buttoned-up shirts. Tats. Top-knots. Sexy websites.
And so everyone became a connoisseur, giving their opinion on a topic they had exposure to for just a handful of years. Presented to them by a group of people that seemed more preoccupied with looking like extras on a Peaky Blinders set, than counting the exact number of seconds the brew was straining.
Forgive me for being cynical, but today there are more than 150 roasters in Cape Town. There was a time before 2000, that there were only three roasters in Cape Town. One of them was Importers Coffee, which happens to be the oldest roasting brand in the Western Cape.
You’ll remember the logo – you used to see it in that mysterious coffee bean aisle I mentioned earlier.
For various reasons, including the fact that they couldn’t be sustained by the ‘niche’ market, Importers Coffee died – soon to be resurrected.
Time went by and then, around 2000, local coffee businessman Ollie Marshall was looking for a bigger machine to handle his increasing demand. He saw an ad for an old Probat machine and upon purchase, was told he could have the brand name that used to roast with that very same machine – Importers Coffee.
Without much hands-on knowledge when it came to 1960s manual coffee roasters, Ollie was directed to the original Importers master coffee roaster, Louis, who was then unemployed. After all, with just three roasters in Cape Town, there were no jobs for a coffee roasting expert.
It didn’t matter if you had vast experience, with Louis having learnt everything he knew from his dad, Louis Snr., who in turn roasted coffee for 22 years.
Louis’ knowledge was astounding. Just by sight, he could gauge which beans had been grown at lower altitudes, and therefore had ripened much quicker on the trees, as opposed to coffee cherries that are mountain grown at higher altitudes of around 2km, whereby the coffee cherries take longer to ripen.
Those beans need a little longer in the roaster to ensure they are roasted through, as the beans are much larger and denser. If you don’t do that, you’ll get that terrible quinic acid vegetable taste you might have experienced.
The rest, as they say, is history. Without succumbing to the hipster coffee fad, the new Importers (since its reincarnation nearly two decades ago) is now the biggest coffee roaster in the Western Cape, with the most experienced team of roasters, still roasting by hand on machines as old as some of your parents.
2oceansvibe and the du Cap Collection are very particular about the long-term brands we partner with. After all, our restaurant (Café du Cap) and luxury mountain retreat (Cabine du Cap) have to serve those same brands (one per category) exclusively, alongside our own gourmet homemade food.
Unlike the world of social media and online advertising, there’s no hiding from a real customer in real life.
We’re proud to announce that Importers Coffee is now being served at Café du Cap (113 Loop Street), alongside Antonij Rupert wines, Sol beer, Cape Town Gin, Fitch & Leedes mixers and Sir Fruit juice.
We’re the first restaurant / cafe in Cape Town’s CBD to brew Importers Coffee. I have a feeling there’ll be more.
Be sure to visit the Importers Coffee shop in Newlands – easily the most-loved coffee shop in the Southern Suburbs.
Here’s a map to get you there.
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