10 Of The Best Cape Town Coffee Shops

Café culture is alive and well in the Mother City. Homey armchair hideaways with comfortable couches and the omnipresent free Wi-Fi are cropping up all over the shop … a crucial cuppa accompaniment when you consider many of these outlets are the networking domain of a diverse crowd from idle ‘IGers’ to modern entrepreneurs who’ve swapped clubhouse beers in favour of doing business over a well-bodied brew.

Cape Town’s baristas, the captains of coffee, are knowledgeable; many of them as skilled at grinding out a single origin as they are expressing their artistic flair in your cappuccinos’ tastefully decorated foamy head.

Next time you’re looking for a place to fly solo for a while, meet a mate, woo your first date or catch up on business, look up one of these Cape Town coffee shops … they’re bound to impress unless it’s a Double Ristretto Venti Nonfat Organic Chocolate Brownie Frappuccino Extra Hot with Foam and Whipped Cream Upside Down Double Blended you want … in which case head to Starbucks.

Kamili Coffee, Greenmarket Square

Kamili Coffee - new Cape Town coffee shop near Greenmarket Square.

One of the Mother City’s newest dens to kick back in a fragrant haze of caffeine induced bliss, Kamili Coffee resides in a rustically revamped corner of Shortmarket Street where Cape Town’s iconic Purple Turtle once was. Whether your order is to stay or to go; the coffee has a strong emphasis on African beans; Kamili Khaya, a blend of Ethiopian and Ugandan sourced beans, being their trademark bean. The Greenmarket Square store gets our vote for being the ideal spot in the centre of town to catch your breath; sitting at one of the interiors warm rustic tables surrounded by raw brick, wood, hessian; and the comings and goings of a vibrant inner city coffee shop ambience. Owner Theo Snyckers’ roaster is a practical and interesting cornerstone feature of his intimate shop, and it’s a good place to stock up on beans for home and office use.

Contact Kamili Coffee: 083 444 5375 | View location

Empire Café, Muizenberg

Empire Cafe in Muizenberg, Cape Town - great for a post surf coffee fix!

Possibly the best spot on the Cape coast to enjoy your post surf caffeine fix, lavish in surfed out satisfaction as you keep an eye on the conditions at the Corner from Empire Cafés first floor, or enjoy the buzz downstairs – a conveyor of coffee creating and croissant consuming activity.

Owner Dave Jones says:  “Empire is, was, and likely always will be about lifestyle for me. I live about 50m away with a view over the ocean; walk to work; check the surf by rolling over in the morning – you get the idea. I believe the lifestyle choice is a direct backlash from working in hotels and high end restaurants with ridiculous (but necessary) hours.”

Contact Empire Café: 021 788 1250 | View location

Deluxe Coffeeworks, City Centre

Deluxe Coffeworks on Church Street. One of Cape Town's most established coffee brands.

This is the quintessential Cape Town coffee experience, especially on weekday mornings when the city’s workforce pile into the Church Street roastery. Steered by a motley crew of unconventional baristas, despite the invariable MacBook toting crowd an establishment of this nature attracts, Deluxe flies in the face of free Wi-Fi and fanciful sandwiches, so don’t come here expecting free downloads and sourdough sarmies. The Deluxe way has kept it a core coffee experience; finishing your brew with feeling and confidence. If you can navigate your way past the ever supportive regulars, and can figure out what to do with your spare change, then you may have found your new favourite pre-graft pit stop in this edgy coffee bar.

Contact Deluxe: 082 681 5740 | View location

Baked Bistro, Bakoven

Baked Bistro - come get "Baked" in Bakoven, Cape Town.

A blustery day on the Atlantic Seaboard first led me to Baked Bistro on Victoria Road in my frantic search for a steaming cup of coffee. Baked has a strong reputation for excellent coffee (by Origin), freshly baked goods and breakfasts, and they’re well supported by locals and tourists alike. Despite the high flying hood in which Baked resides, the setting is grounded, and proprietor Zahir Mohamed’s customer friendly approach will have you coming back for more. Try the rolled oats brûlée with vanilla and almonds.

Contact Baked Bistro: 021 437 0297 | View location

Starlings Café, Claremont

Starlings Cafe equals good coffee in Cape Town's Southern Suburbs.

The Southern Suburbs’ gift to the coffee world, Starlings is a true local’s retreat in the ‘burbs’ – a neighbourhood coffee shop set in a leafy garden serving simple, honest soul food, not to mention, excellent coffee by Origin. They might be difficult to find, but then again, the regulars like it that way.

Contact Starlings Café: 021 671 6875 | View location

Origin Coffee Roasting, De Waterkant

Barista ate Origin Coffee Roasting in De Waterkant, Cape Town.

As a major bean wholesaler, it’s likely you’ve tasted Origin Coffee even if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting their De Waterkant HQ. Origins De Waterkant premises offer aficionados a chance to commune with the culture of coffee in the most intimate way. Stepping inside this fragrant factory it feels as if you’ve entered South Africa’s coffee nerve centre … it’s a hub of experimental excellence which spans two streets and stretches three levels skyward, housing a barista training school, a roastery, café, and a specialist tea room called Nigiro (that’s Origin spelt backwards). Travelling to far-flung corners of Africa to source beans and learn from the farmers who grow them, it’s clear the ‘mad scientists’ at Origin have a very serious undertaking in bringing coffee to the people.

Contact Origin Roasting: 021 421 1000 | View location

Rosetta Roastery, Woodstock

Rosetta Roastery - coffee served with passion at the Woodstock Exchange in Cape Town.

Cape Town’s exclusive single origin roaster invites coffee fanatics of all levels to come and get acquainted with some of the best beans in the business. The Rosetta approach flies in the face of coffee snobbery; they want to introduce their audience to something new; whether their audience comprises amateur chicory drinkers or connoisseurs of a higher coffee drinking pedigree does not matter! From sourcing coffee to roasting and front-facing service, passion defines the Rosetta Roastery way. Make your way to the stylish Rosetta Coffee Bar at the Woodstock Exchange – open from Monday to Friday, soon to be open on Saturdays too.

Rosetta Coffee is also available from satellite outlets at Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants on Church Street, and at the kiosk at Scar on Kloof Street. A pop-up pourover bar is at the Neighbourgoods Market every Saturday between 09:00 and 14:00.

Contact Rosetta Coffee: 021 447 4099 | View location

Department of Coffee, Khayelitsha

A barista pours coffee at the Department of Coffee in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Image source: I Love Coffee

Coffee Kasi-style, the Department of Coffee was a popular insert on the list about things to in Cape Town on a budget. Lolo, Vusi and Wongama are your hosts, baristas and coffee connoisseurs at the Department of Coffee in Khayelitsha. Founded in 2012, and situated next to the Khayelitsha train station, these 3 passionate entrepreneurs have successfully introduced coffee culture to Khayelitsha. Their goal is to develop the Department of Coffee into THE social hub of Khayelitsha, where everyone can come and chill with friends, family or colleagues whilst sampling their brew.

Contact Department of Coffee: 073 300 9519/078 086 0093/078 316 2918 | View location

Bean There, City Centre

Bean There coffee shop on Wale Street, Cape Town.

This CBD gem does its societal duty by opening early (7:30am on weekdays), and serving up some of the best African coffee with a side of sound ethics – they’re Fairtrade so you can sip assured the origin has been sourced sustainably. Bean There’s Wale Street shop front is a visually pleasing oasis with ample space to set up your laptop and caffeinate the hours away over a range of fierce brews which vie for your attention against the massive, shiny roaster which takes centre stage. A flat white starts from about R18.

Contact Bean There Cape Town: 087 943 2228 | View location

Hard Pressed Café, City Centre

Coffee and vinyl meet at Hard Pressed Cafe in Cape Town.

Residing in the brand spanking new Portside Tower building (Bree Street entrance) in town, Hard Pressed Café promises to be a disruptive force on the Cape Town coffee shop scene. Despite its newness, the setting is lo-fi and warm, combining the owners’ love for music and mocha. Hard Pressed already has a strong reputation for excellent coffee, light meals and, in a twist of typical coffee shop produces, premium vinyl records play a large role in what they’re doing. Bulletproof Coffee (at Hard Pressed they call it the Wham) is on the list of options, so, for all you paleo pundits, Hard Pressed Café is an excellent choice for a caffeine fix.

Contact Hard Pressed Café: 079 066 8888 | View location

Picking out the best coffee shops in Cape Town is a tall order, and you probably have your local café that you view as being beyond comparison. The choices you see above have been evaluated on, first and foremost, coffee quality, as well as innovation, style and ambience. As usual, leave your favourite coffee shops in the comments, or don’t say a thing so you can still enjoy your daily fix uninterrupted.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Seattle Coffee Co. is found all over Cape Town and has, in my opinion, the freshest coffee available. Their roasters are in Buiten Street (Union Hand Roasted) and a visit there is highly recommended. Their roasting team are world class and the coffee speaks for it’s self.

    Dig Empire Cafe’s food too!

    • Thanks Rob! We keep trying to raise our standard. Praise and feedback are alwqays welcomed (however hard it can be to hear sometimes)

    • Seattle Coffee Co is always the best anywhere around SA

  2. No-one bother to venture into Hout Bay and try a Dario’s coffee? Seriously missing out. As I am sure are other awesome spots. These lists are nonsense anyway. Its personal preference of just a few – or just Russell.

  3. You didn’t visit Truth. Coffee?

    • Hi Wesley,

      We’re big fans of Truth but since they got so much attention here and here we thought we’d shift our focus to some newcomers and some of those we haven’t covered before.

      Thanks for commenting. Cheers 🙂

  4. The new ‘Shift Espresso Bar’ in Greenpoint is a spot to watch.

  5. Glad you included one of our Deep South gems, love the Empire and another great coffee spot in Muizies is Slow Life – pescatarian food and great music evenings too.

  6. What about Bootlegger in Sea Point – Great Coffee

    • I’ve heard only good things about Bootlegger. Will be heading there soon for sure.

  7. Mischu – opp Superspar in regent rd sea point – their medium flat white = the BEST

  8. Agree with John and if I understand you correctly Russell, these are rather the top 10 “newcomers and some of those we haven’t covered before” coffee shops in Cape Town? No Jason’s bakery, Truth, Haas etc ?

  9. There’s a GREAT new place in FRANSCHHOEK. It’s just off the Main Road and it’s called THE HOEK. Totally worth the drive from Cape Town! Xx

  10. Definitely Cameraland CT’s cafe! It’s on the first floor. Amazing coffee and a balcony over-looking Long Street. Liquor licence too! 🙂

  11. Legado Coffee in Stellenbosch, I know its not in Cape Town but its some amazing coffee do yourself a favour and visit the little shop in Techno park.

  12. Rcaffe in Long St is another great spot for coffee in the city, and great breakfasts. Also Hout Bay Coffee opposite Wheeler’s Pharmacy at the Mainstream shopping centre.

  13. And even better is Snobs in Somerset West, solar roasted coffee from all the coffee growing regions of the world.

  14. Tribakery in kuilsriver is def. an awesome shop, the ambience is great , the service is awesome and the owner is really passionate about coffee so you know your cuppa will always be perfect! really worth a visit, they have breakfasts for R30 and on friday nights they have buy one get one free burger specials ( which we attend waaay more than we should lol! Well worth the visit, the also have amazing couches in their “mini lounges” that makes reading under a blanket awesome in winter!!Well worth a visit!

  15. Yours Truly in Long Street and the bigger one in a Kloof Street!

  16. This is, in most parts, some of the least impressive coffeeshops. I mean, how could you miss Truth?. It’s like missing a goal kick right in front of the net with no goalie… and you’re supposed to be a professional player.
    You also missed Houtbay Coffee. Jeesh

  17. You guys missed Shift Espresso Bar in Green Point. Amazing vibe, fantastic coffee, interesting specialty coffees and weird and wonderful organic teas. And undoubtedly the best sandwiches and brownies in Cape Town! From the cool industrial decor to Luigi, the super friendly and extremely funny owner, who always knows your order and greets you like you are part of their Italian family. This has become one of our favorite spots. Not only for the great coffee, free barista training every now and again, but because this is a place where people can come together. Where expectations are shifted and new things can be experience and enjoyed. I have been to all of the above coffee spots and whilst some people rave about Truth, I am not a big fan of their coffee and once you’ve seen it, then you have seen it. There is no variety. Although the vibe is enjoyable, I prefer Shift because it’s more welcoming and the service is the best out of all of the above spots. And to my knowledge it is the only place that offers the Chemex coffee experience.

    • My apologies, I have not been to Department of Coffee in Khayelitsha so I cannot comment on their coffee, service or atmosphere.

  18. Hazz is Stellenbosch is definitely missing from this list!!

  19. Hi all the Coffee Lovers out there!*

    You should visit “The Cottage Cafe” part of “DV Artisan Chocolate” @ “The Spice Route Destination” Paarl, there they have best coffee, best chocolate drinks ect…..

  20. What an awesome article! Rosetta is the business, but superpumped to try out the other options here.

  21. Not sure if Stellenbosch counts as Cape Town, but if it does your list would be incomplete without Legado Coffee Roasters. Their roastery is in the most beautiful setting and they make excellent coffee. The owners are really passionate about everything coffee-related, including sustainable coffee bean farming. You’ll only be seeing more of these guys!

    • Love ’em! Pity they don’t have little hub to chill in.

  22. What about Giovanni’s in Green Point. Wonderful expresso fix for me every day made by Piero. Surprised it was nt mentioned in top 10.

  23. Caffeine can effect on human aggressive behavior. Consuming it in excess has drawbacks; you may experience side effects like irritability, nervousness and even anger and confusion. Your consumption is probably causing you more harm than good. It could lead to bad relationship to people around you like family, Boyfriend/girlfriend, co-workers, etc.

  24. Motherland in St Georges Mall, great service, great coffee and great location!

  25. Jason’s anybody? The coffee is amazing

  26. Great article! Do you mind if i share it on my convertible care hire blog? I will make sure to add your link.

    • Hi Mat,

      Thanks we’re glad you enjoyed it. You’re welcome to use it adding the correct citations to Travelstart.


  27. Have you tried Kayrin in Woodstock? I was mighty impressed.

    • Hi Schalk,

      Thanks for the tip. I’ve just done a read up on Kayrin in Woodstock.

      Seems like they have some amazing coffee, will be sure to pass by there sometime over the weekend.

      Thanks for sharing the info with us!

  28. Only a pleasure. Another one you might want to try is Rock Coffee Roasters out in Brackenfell. They do amazing things to coffee.

  29. Hi there,
    Please note Bean There Cafe has closed down…and Truth has been voted best coffee shop in the world.

    • Hi Amanda,

      This blog was written last year so a few things might have changed since then 🙂

  30. Bootleggers Coffee Company should be on this list

  31. What about Coffee Rock Roasters??

    • Hi there,

      There so many awesome coffee shops to write on. Should we do another blog i’m sure they will be sure to look at Coffee Rock Roasters

  32. Mischu, The Coffee Showroom – in Sea Point is the Best coffee this side of the mountain! They really focus on making the Best Coffee in my experience.

    • Hi Victor,

      Sounds great, will have to try it out sometime.

  33. New spot in langa arts center kaffahoist café runned by young enterpruers, they use kamili coffee.

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