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2 Great local coffee brands you should know about

This article first appeared in City Press.

by: Phumlani S Langa | 29 Jul 2018
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Monate Coffee and Handmade Coffees are two proudly South African java brands that you must try. 

As someone constantly about town, I've often been treated to some flavourful delights. Every now and then, I stumble upon a locally made must-have. These are two coffee brands you need to try: 

Monate Coffee

Monate Coffee seems poised to take the country by storm. What it has on offer is truly some of the best quality brew I’ve tasted.

I first experienced Monate at a swanky event organised by a popular French champagne brand. Monate is 100% black-owned, and general manager Tumi Khobane says: “In staying true to our roots, we were both deliberate and excited when selecting and producing an all-African bean origin product range and brand.”

Monate has been successfully doing just that for more than nine months now. The beans come from African countries including Ethiopia (Sidamo), Uganda (Bugisu) and Rwanda. Some have a single origin and others are blends.

Khobane says: “Our product range includes eight different options, two of which are flavoured (Amarula cream and macadamia nut), as well as a choice of decaf that provides a perfect substitute for those who prefer not to or can’t indulge in caffeine.”

The vibrant coffee producer explains what gives her brand an edge: “Developing flavour profiles is a complex and intricate process – one that is influenced by a number of factors, including bean origin, blend choice and roasting capabilities.

“We knew that we wanted a level of natural sweetness combined with traditionally South African twists, so we journeyed on an adventure that we thought would best fit our identity – the rest is a trade secret.”

The range of eight single-origin coffees and blends provides a diverse collection of flavours, which allows Monate to please an array of palates.

Bags cost between R70 and R310. Buy online or from outlets in Joburg, as well as from OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town international airports.

hand made coffees

I first had the pleasure of experiencing this brand during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown last year. I’ve been to the Eastern Cape a few times since then, and this coffee remains firmly on my must-have list.

Unfortunately for people like me, the Eastern Cape is where this coffee will remain because the province forms a big part of its identity. Owner Garvey McConnell says he only made the move from being a consumer to producer 10 years ago.

“A passion became a hobby, and then that hobby became a brand. I discovered the importance of consuming freshly roasted coffee in 2006 or 2007. That discovery quite quickly led me to purchasing a domestic coffee roaster.”

He learnt a lot before getting the confidence to launch his brand in 2009. hand made coffees is reasonably priced, but it tastes mad expensive. McConnell is adamant that his brand is simple in outlook and not about being as fancy as some of the heavyweights in the java game.

He explains his secret: “I blend five different origins; flying in the face of the latest obsession with single-origin coffee offerings.

“I do this because I happen to enjoy a complex flavour in my mouth – a lot of noise. I want to be able to detect different things – nutty flavours, and dark chocolatey hints, and sharp citrus notes, for example, all in the same cup.”

The selection of snacks that accompany your cup are also quite deluxe. The sandwich game at any of his venues or pop-up shops could bring silence to the most lively conversations.

hand made coffees usually has a pop-up at the National Arts Festival every year, and you can also get a dose at its outlets in East London, Grahamstown, and, hopefully, one or two in Port Elizabeth soon. 

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Read more on: coffee  |  drinks

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