Last Friday I was honoured to experience a preview of Coco Safar, which opens in Sea Point’s newly developed Artem, previously the Adelphi Centre, today. It houses the world’s first Botanical Coffee and Rooibos Brewery, the top coffee roastery in Africa, and is a top quality patisserie and chocolate supplier, bought to take away or enjoyed sitting down. An exciting coffee and Rooibos drinking Renaissance is being created at Coco Safar in Cape Town today, the culmination of a ten-year development journey. The decor style is inspired by Belle Epoque.
Coco Safar had previously operated in Cavendish Square and this is where I first experienced the brand. I had met Wilhelm Liebenberg (photograph right, supplied by PR consultancy Vivid Luxury), who with his French-Canadian partner Caroline Sirois has created this world class Coffee & Rooibos Brewery, as well as top class Coffee Roastery. It is a global relaunch of the Coco Safar brand, a huge honour for Cape Town, which will be followed by the New York launch, a city in which Wilhelm resided for a long time. In summary, Coco Safar offers a Capsule Emporium, an Espresso Bar, a Couture Pâtisserie, and a Luxury Café.
Coco Safar is making a dominant statement in its presence in Artem, the newly renovated premium (at the cost of R200 million) former Adelphi shopping centre, which still has tenants such as Clicks and Pick ‘n Pay, as well as some new ones, to match the very upmarket positioning of the renovated and renamed centre. As one walks into the centre, one sees banquettes in a beautiful green velvet with tables at which one can be served (photograph supplied). To one’s left one enters the sit-down ‘Couture Espresso and Patisserie’ Bar, a large space, with beautiful solid oak woodwork and a beige fabric. Chairs have wooden frames, and are upholstered in beautiful brown quilted leather. There is a Coffee-related gift shop here too, selling cups and saucers, coffee-making equipment, books, and more.
In this section too are shelves with branded Coco Safar coffee pods, designed as the world’s first biodegradable coffee and Rooibos pods. Various coffee and Rooibos flavours are represented by various international city sub-brand names, for example Cape Town (interestingly called by its Afrikaans name ‘Kaapstad’), which is a red Rooibos Tea espresso capsule. ‘Stellenbosch’ is a Green Rooibos Tea Espresso capsule, while ‘Manhattan’ is an Espresso Coffee capsule. Four city sub-brands will be launched initially, growing to twelve. Ground coffee as well as coffee beans are available to buy too.
The Espresso Bar uses advanced equipment designed by Dutch national Kees van der Westen, who merged the Mirage and Spirit Espresso machines to create world-class coffee making equipment.
The Pâtisserie section offers three styles of pastries, of which we were served small mini samples (first photograph supplied):
# Savoury treats we experienced were a goat’s cheese phyllo tart with onion; galette of leek and potato with truffle oil; tomato and ricotta turnover; mushroom and Brussels sprouts galette; and a delicious mini lamb Bobotie with mango and yoghurt.
# Croissants: plain butter; chocolate; apricot and plum galette; raspberry rosy litchi; and white chocolate and pistachio
# Pastries: mango, mint, and passion fruit; raspberry chocolate crunch, with marshmallow mousse; Rooibos eclair; chocolate hazelnut brownie, honey mousse, lemon marshmallow, and milk chocolate mousse.
Gelatos will also be for sale. We were spoilt by a newly created Rooibos Espresso affogato. From this section take-away coffee will be served via a hatch to the shopping centre entrance.
A second section directly opposite the shopping centre entrance houses the Botanical Coffee and Rooibos Brewery, in which bottles of the non-alcoholic brews will be displayed and sold. We were shown exquisite Label designs for a Sparkling Green Rooibos Cold Brew Tea, and for an Aromatic Rooibos-infused Tonic. The section to the right of the entrance houses the coffee roastery, using world-class roasting equipment. Their coffee roasting machine is a Loring Smart, state of the art. It gives perfect tasting profiles for the Coco Safar Coffee blends, giving superior quality and perfect consistency. The Chocolate Laboratory production area is also in this space.
All the Coco Safar sections will be completely see-through, allowing shoppers to see inside each of the facilities offered by Coco Safar.
As we were walking through the Coco Safar facility, we saw a number of Coco Safar staff members with thick 380-page training manuals, preparing for their opening day today. They have spent the past month studying every aspect of the business.
Coco Safar has been designed to create a unique ambiance in terms of its music, lighting, and the unique experience it offers coffee and Rooibos tea lovers. The Rooibos tea and coffee is served on a wooden tray, with a small glass of palate-cleansing water. The beverages are ideally served at 60C. It is intended to be a nostalgic space, offering a daily escape from the reality of life for the price of an espresso, at R30. Its pay-off line reflects this: ‘Journey Beyond Ordinary’. A water filtration system has been introduced, described as the most sophisticated in the world.
I will be returning to Coco Safar to experience it as a working operation, now that it has opened to the public.
Coco Safar, Artem, 277 Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town. Tel (021) 433-1336. www.cocosafar.com Instagram:@cocosafarsa Open Monday to Sunday, from 7h00 to 21hoo.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein