Text and photographs Elzanne Erasmus
The best way to kick-start your day, thaw the chill, swop a spot of gossip, catch up with your colleagues and absorb the office vibes is to down that first cup of the day.
To be sure, coffee culture has taken the world by storm, swirling its rich aromas around the room, powering a lifestyle that is neither a fad nor a hobby, but rather a calling.
So if that longing for the perfect cup of coffee is calling, enticing you to succumb to the need for a shot of caffeine in your veins, the only logical course of action would be to visit one of Namibia’s hottest coffee hotspots and drink your fill.
COASTAL COFFEE CONNOISSEURS
Passion for coffee has staked its claim in the hearts of Namibia’s top coffee connoisseurs, Mark and Dennis De Wet, founders of Slowtown Coffee Roasters. Dennis explains that the idea for the name Slowtown was born from a wish to slow life down so that “…we can focus on the things that matter.”
Slowtown is already well known in Namibian coffee circles for its commitment to fair trade and responsible farming. While the De Wets source their green coffee beans from countries far and wide, including Central America, South America, Africa and Asia, the magic happens at home, right here in Namibia, in the captivating coastal town of Swakopmund, where they roast the aromatic beans in their shop four times a week.
This ensures that their coffee is always as fresh as can be, something you will not achieve by buying bulk-produced imported wholesale coffees, which by the time they reach you, have lost their quality due to the circuitous route of being roasted, ground, transported, shipped, warehoused and stored beforehand.
“Once such beans have reached our shores, they have lost most of their original qualities and flavour nuances. We miss out so much in the world of bulk wholesale coffee that we never really come to appreciate the differences between an Ethiopian Peaberry and a Costa Rican Bromelia Fancy.”
The brothers explain that it’s their roasting process that puts the detail into each consignment. They roast small batches at a time and can thus control the outcome and achieve the ideal profile for each of their wide variety of coffees. “There are easier and quicker ways to roast bulk coffee, but doing it like this means that we never compromise on the quality.”
“Slowtown Coffee Roasters was born from a love of coffee and the artisan way of producing it.”
Slowtown encompasses the ideal of sharing a high-quality coffee culture with Namibia, and the De Wet brothers love the idea that they can now share their wide variety of Single Origin Coffees with locals. Every batch is freshly roasted to perfection, providing the ideal solution to your caffeine needs at home, in the office, at a coffee shop or when visiting a lodge. “We want everyone to appreciate the world of coffee as was intended from the outset.”
When asked why they think Namibians have fallen head over heels with their coffee, they respond: “We have come to realise that people continue coming back to Slowtown not because we are special in any way, but because they appreciate coffee that has been made with love.”
Did You Know?
Slowtown boasts with a special Guatemala Coffee that comes from the award-winning farm, El Morito. The farm came second in the 2013 Cup of Excellence Competition, which, according to Slowtown, is something very special in the world of coffee.
THE JOY OF THE COFFEE CUISINE CULTURE
If you could taste passion in a cup, feel it in the air you breathe, hear it whisper to you, The Joy of Food is a mecca for filling your senses – a place where it pours from every seam.
“Food is love made visible,” enthuses owner Joy Sasman, and this is the motto by which she manages both her business and her life. Her overwhelming passion for food, and needless to say coffee, is as visible and tangible as the lovely lady sitting in front of me while we exchange our thoughts on food, coffee and our love for the country.
Joy took over the café, which used to be known as Moiya Artisan Café, in June 2013 and renamed it The Joy of Food. She says the name is in effect her mission statement, as it emphasises the importance of food in society. It functions as social glue and makes a cultural statement. Joy explains: “We derive delight from food – like we do from life – and if we take delight in what we do, we will transfer it to our clients.
“The café/deli/place to hang out!”
And delight is without doubt something that can be found at The Joy of Food, an establishment Joy describes as a ‘café/deli/place for hanging out’. A cake baked by a friend, which Joy refused to believe wasn’t store bought, combined with another friend’s love for cooking, served as her inspiration for creating a space where everything culinary could be celebrated. A former journalist and information officer, Joy sums up the story as follows: “The Joy of Food was born as a result of our love for each other and food, and what food represents to us.”
Joy’s passion for food steers our conversation towards her other great loves: travel and… coffee. As Namibians we are blessed with an inherent desire to explore and learn from our country. From a young age, Joy and her family have been travelling across the country, discovering its nooks and crannies and bringing home food from their travels. Everything from preserves to fresh produce accompanies them back.
Thus Joy reaps from her own country when it comes to buying produce for The Joy of Food’s kitchen, a bounty that includes meat from Stampriet, herbs from Brakwater, cheese from Wilhelmsdal and even olive oil from Swakopmund. “We as Namibians must look around us and celebrate what we have as a country.”
She shares her amazement in what other Namibians have accomplished when it comes to coffee. The Joy of Food serves Slowtown coffee exclusively, and the baristas take great care in their preparation of each and every cup. And what a wonderful passion-filled cup of coffee it is! “Slowtown coffee as a world-class product! The company has revolutionised coffee drinking in Namibia by finding the ‘best green beans of the second-most traded commodity in the world’.”
Joy’s passion-driven approach to serving a delicious meal and a great cup of coffee is certainly what puts her establishment on our list of must-visit coffee hotspots in Namibia. So venture forth to The Village, 18 Liliencron Street, in Windhoek, and enjoy the ambience and sense of community that comes with the free WiFi, wholesome food and amazing coffee at The Joy of Food.
Anri Jacobs says of Slowtown Coffee Roasters, Swakopmund: Because they roast their own quality coffee, it has a taste like no other in Namibia. Their shop has the best atmosphere. You feel you can spend the whole day there, and we sometimes do! I go back at least four times a day for a cup of cappuccino or a flat white. They offer the best coffee and quality beans in Namibia by far!
TNN Reader’s Choice of Namibian Coffee Hotspots
1. Café Treff – Swakopmund
2. Stellenbosch Bistro – Windhoek
3. Wecke & Voigts Kaffee Bar – Windhoek
4. Die Muschel – Swakopmund
5. Village Café – Swakopmund
6. Kameldorn Garten – Otjiwarongo
7. Solitaire Bakery – Solitaire
8. Vicky’s Coffee shop – Uis
9. Rojo Café & Bistro – Walvis Bay
10. Café Greenhill – Tsumeb
Originally published in Travel News Namibia Winter 2014