A Caffeinated Guide to Cape Town

Gwen Marquis
May 28, 2018
Coffee shop at St Georges Mall

As a former barista, I love pretty much everything about coffee, and as a student, I normally start my day by either making myself coffee or seeking it out with friends.

I love the way that people congregate around coffee to chat, share ideas, and generate art; I also love how coffee can help switch your attitude from disinterested to alert and motivated (highly recommend Coffee Culture: Local Experiences, Global Linkages by Catherine M. Tucker and A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage for more explorations of how beverages affect our lives!). I’ve carried over this interest in coffee from the U.S., and along the way have enjoyed discovering new coffee shops/study spots across the city of Cape Town. With that in mind, this is a breakdown of my favorite local places to get a great cup of coffee and study for this coming exam season!


  • Truth Coffee Roasting, 36 Buitenkant St, Cape Town City Centre

Truth is a bit of a celebrity in Cape Town. Frequently described as one of the world’s best coffee shops, it’s definitely a little on the pricier side, but its gorgeous interior design and excellent coffee make it a must-see.

  • Origin Coffee Roasters, 28 Hudson St, De Waterkant

Origin is more laid-back than Truth and also takes its coffee on the go with a pop-up stand at the Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock. The Vietnamese iced coffee is ridiculously good here, and don’t forget to grab a rewards punch card- it’ll fill up faster than you think!

  • Motherland Coffee Co., Mandela Rhodes Place, Wale St & St Georges Mall

Motherland is very laid back and has an unbeatable central location in Cape Town’s city center. Its menu is small but reasonably priced, and the free wifi and indoor & outdoor seating is great for anyone looking to perch for a few hours and get some work done (this post is actually being written in Motherland!). Adding to the appeal is a little bit of history that you might otherwise walk right past: a piece of the Berlin Wall is just outside! Gifted to Nelson Mandela during his presidency, this segment of the wall stands inconspicuously on the pedestrian walkway that is St. Georges Mall. A short walk away from other central Cape Town attractions like Greenmarket Square, Parliament, Company’s Garden, and many museums, Motherland’s location can’t be beat.

  • Bootlegger Coffee Co., 15-21 Dreyer St, Claremont

Bootlegger’s locations across Cape Town all have a clean and classic vibe, with this address being the closest to the main student area.


Closest to home:

  • Café Honeybun, 107 Lower Main Rd, Observatory

This little corner establishment is a short Uber or a determined walk away from the neighborhood of Rosebank, where I live. Obz in general is a great place to eat out - you can’t go wrong with this neighborhood.

  • Vida e Caffè, 41 Main Rd, Rondebosch

This European-style chain café is seconds away from the IES Abroad Cape Town center, which has made it a popular destination for students on our program. It’s also en route to the neighborhood grocery stores (Pick n Pay and Woolworth’s), so you can grab a pick me up on the way to or from!

And lastly… the best coffee on campus? While answers differ (and options are limited), I think the filter coffee from Campus Café in the cafeteria is the strongest. I hope this helps, from one sleepy student to another!

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Gwen Marquis

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:2.35pt; margin-right:10.3pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.0pt">Hi all! My name is Gwen, and I’m a junior majoring in Political Science and Anthropology with a concentration in Global Health at the University of Vermont. I love taking photos, being outside, and pretty much every dog I’ve ever met. I’ve never been to the Southern Hemisphere before and am looking forward to studying abroad in Cape Town and escaping New England mid-winter. This semester abroad, I look forward to traveling as much as possible and (hopefully) learning to cook for myself. Wish me luck!</p>

2018 Spring
Home University:
University of Vermont
Walpole, MA
Political Science
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