Truth Coffee – steampunk in the Mother City
When it comes to being super-cool and smoking hot at the same time, you really don’t get hipper than Truth Coffee in Buitenkant Street in Cape Town. UK travel journalist and contributor for MSN Travel UK Tom Midlane wrote about it in a piece titled, 'The best coffee shop in the world'.
In his article, Midlane says there are 'identikit coffee shops' on every street corner these days, and only a few dare to be different.
He explains the visual language of Truth Coffee: 'Exposed metal pipes run across the ceiling, while the cool hangout is littered with ornaments including vintage typewriters, Singer sewing machines and old candlestick telephones.
'Taking pride of place centre stage is Professor Jones’s Fabulous Coffee Bean Contraption, an enormous retro-futuristic coffee machine which brings to mind the creations of eccentric inventor Heath Robinson.'
For David Donde, owner of Truth Coffee, Midlane’s article was a game-changer: 'It is amazing how we in South Africa struggle to see what is under our own noses, but the reaction to a foreign accolade is absolute. It was a serious tipping point for Truth Coffee.'
Taking pride of place centre stage is Professor Jones’s Fabulous Coffee Bean Contraption, an enormous retro-futuristic coffee machine which brings to mind the creations of eccentric inventor Heath Robinson.
So, what is the steampunk concept and how does it apply to this coffee shop?
Says Donde, 'Steampunk is Victorian futurism, science fiction from a Victorian person's perspective. Or, as one would put it, what happened when goths discovered the colour brown.'
He says the whole steampunk idea came about when he was chatting to designer Haldane Martin. 'We were talking about planning another, unrelated project that never materialised, and he turned to me and said, "Know what you are? Steampunk", and without another word the epiphany was in the room. From then on we were an accident waiting to happen.'
Since the Midlane accolade, Truth Coffee has jumped into the media limelight, but Donde continually pulls it back to the fact that what he and his team do is really good coffee.
He says Truth Coffee's manifesto is about being involved and the power of the collective.
'We believe that if it is worth doing anything, it is worth being world-class, challenging the constant tide of mediocrity. We don’t believe in hiding behind the propaganda of the words sustainability, organic or fairtrade; we believe that you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.
'We roast our own coffee, we have a unique style, we are steampunk of course, but most importantly, we believe that we can always do better.'
Truth Coffee is situated at 36 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. Contact: +27 (0)21 2000 440
Category: Food & Wine