I’ve been wanting to go to Bean There Coffee for a long time. I’ve read about its Fair Trade status and that this particular Cape Town shop has a rather nice vibe to it. So when I finally visited, my expectations were pretty high. It’s safe to say that they were exceeded by a fair amount.
Arriving at around 9am on a rainy Friday morning, I was one of three customers. I was, however, oblivious of any other human beings as I was gaping open-mouthed at all the objects and décor elements that I saw around me. Finally coming to a standstill in front of a showcase of coffee beans, the person behind the counter gives me a questioning look, forcing me to order something. Today’s blend: Ethiopian. I order a latte and head to a particularly comfortable-looking bay window.
Behind me is Wale Street, busy and wet as ever, and against my back is a row of mismatched (yet perfectly matching) cushions. In front of me is a tree stump table, brightly painted around the sides, leaving only the top part wooden. To my left is a steep staircase, old and creaky by the looks of it, and to my right there’s the beautiful coffee bar. Above the bar hangs a collection of lamps with colourful material shades and behind it there’s a rusty bicycle pitched against the wall. You can understand my initial sensory overload.
Together with my coffee comes the wifi password, giving me unlimited internet access for the entire time that I’m there. At one of the far tables, a girl is either sketching something or writing by hand and on the couch in front of me, a lady is reading her paper and drinking endless cups of tea. Seems like my kind of place.
What makes Bean There a Direct Fair Trade coffee company is that they travel directly to the country where the coffee is grown, personally select the coffee and meeting and interacting with the farmers and the community. The producers are paid fairly for their coffee, whether the market fluctuates or not, ensuring community development, empowerment and sustainability. These coffee beans are then traditionally hand-roasted in small batches – ensuring optimal roasts.
Bean there has two roasteries in the country, one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town, but you can purchase all their coffees at the online shop. Here you can also buy accessories like coffee makers, plungers and even tickets for coffee events. All these things are also displayed on a huge bookcase in the shop – an element I didn’t even get to when first admiring the shop’s interior.
At around 10:30, most of the tables are full and I’ve long moved away from my tree-stump table, finding it a little too small to work at. Business meetings are taking place, lady friends are catching up and a few others are working on their computers. I walk back to the bar to order tea, and I’m spoiled for choice with a small display of individually boxed teabags – from herb to rooibos to English Breakfast. There’s also a new addition to the bar counter: A stack of freshly made, delicious-looking sandwiches.
My roast beef sandwich achieves its perfection by being nothing more than a fresh roll, tomato and lettuce, some yummy mayo and a nice slice of roast beef. But alas, the rain has stopped, my work is finished and it’s time to move along. There is no bill, you just walk up to the bar, tell them what you had and they tell you what you owe. I owed R55, which is quite reasonable, considering the wonderful morning I just had.
Visit their website to learn more about their history, trade and different roasts and roasteries.
087 943 2228
58 Wale Street
Mon-Fri: 7h30 – 16h00
Sat 09h00 – 14h00
087 310 3100
44 Stanley Avenue
Mon-Fri: 07h30 – 16h00
Sat: 09h00 – 15h00
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