Deluxe Coffee Works: In it for the coffee

Church Street is a Cape Town favourite. In the centre of the business district it offers a pleasant change of scenery and a happy, holiday-like atmosphere. If businesses do exist in the cobblestoned, treelined street, it’s certainly not obvious. Here people walk slower, not because they’re told, but because instinct forces them to. It’s difficult not to stop and look at the antique vendor’s tables, even if you’re not into broaches and old jewellery. This short little pedestrian only street is also a welcoming lunch stop or to browse around a few more interesting looking stores. And then, when you get to the end of the cobblestones, the buzz seems to tone down naturally to a quiet hum and the people dissolve back into buildings and become just average pedestrians again, dodging traffic, focused and determined on reaching their destination.

But what a lot of Church Street explorers probably never do, is walk straight on when the cobblestones have ended. The bottom part of Church Street is open to cars, but you won’t find many here. It’s narrow and it seems to lead nowhere. At first glance it might even seem that there’s nothing interesting to do or see further down. And that’s where they’re mistaken.

At number 25 Church, just below the cobblestone crazies, hidden between similar looking buildings lies Deluxe Coffee Works. In what seems to have been a tiny shop of some kind, it’s hidden from the normal obscurity browsing eye. But with the top to bottom glass paneling, the big wooden door and the three stone steps leading up to it, this cosy coffee house will definitely have you coming back for more.

This is not a big franchise-like business. All the seating is either by the window counter or by the bar. That is, except for the two more laid back chairs in the limited space between the window area and bar. It is absolutely perfect for loners who like staring out over the street, readers of books and papers or friends eager on spending an afternoon catching up. The atmosphere caters for these types perfectly. And what makes the atmosphere? Well, partly the interior and partly the people.

The interior

The dark wooden floors seem to have been there for years and the wooden window bar is cleverly crafted to match. Seeing as the outer ‘wall’ is entirely made of glass, the sturdy counter hovering halfway up looks pretty nifty. A row of coat hooks and some shelves against one wall hold everything from actual coats and coffee products to helmets and interesting looking bottles. Propped against the wall there’s a skateboard. Scattered around the floor and on some other shelves there are plastic crates, wooden boxes and empty juicebox bottles.

Then of course the shop’s centre piece: The coffee bar. Marble tops, thick porcelain cups and saucers and a classic coffee machine. The stools are higher (and heavier) than your average bar stool. But they’re more comfortable than one too. And once you’re up, it’s the perfect excuse not to get down too soon. To the back of the counter there’s a seriously old-school coffee grinder, used in conjunction with a vacuum cleaner at times. It may seem strange, but the smell and the coffee that resonates from it is just wonderful.

My favourite decoration by far, however, fills almost an entire wall. It resembles the pieces of a model motorbike, still connected to the plastic frame. And it’s gigantic, grey and has every tiny detail, up to the labels with the number for every piece. Absolutely fantastic. With all this stuff you can’t help but feel welcome to throw down your bag, hang up your jacket and take a longer than planned coffee break.

The people

After hanging around for about an hour, I had the Cheers theme song playing in my head. It felt like all the people who came into Deluxe Coffee Works knew each other. Sometimes I had a hard time distinguishing who were the people making the coffee and who were the ones selling sandwiches outside from a huge basket (adding some great character to the street). I don’t know if all these people are regulars, whether the people that come here are just plain friendly or whether it’s the staff that make everyone feel so comfortable. Either way, the people definitely up the vibe a lot. A keen example of this is the moment a couple came in with their fluffy white dog. While they were waiting for their coffee and chatting to some people, the friendly dog stretched itself out on the floor and enjoyed all the attention such a beautiful pet deserves.

The coffee

Deluxe Coffee Works serve the classics. Espresso’s, Flat White’s, Cappuccino’s, Latte’s etc. Nothing fancy, but absolutely delicious. And for these bright summer days, they will surely make something icy and caffeine infused enough to survive the heat too. They sell many different coffees, all of which are certified organic and they will even ground the beans in a way that suites your method of brewing. Their stockists include Field Office, Cafe Mozart, Yourstruly and Jason, to name but a few. All round, friendly guys that are in it purely for the coffee.

So maybe it’s a good thing that Deluxe Coffee Works is so hidden and so tiny. The quiet of the street and the size of the store makes it what it is. As they say themselves, you won’t find fancy wi-fi and food here. Because what they do is coffee, and they certainly do it well.

Deluxe Coffee Works

25 Church Street, Cape Town

Carl: 082 681 5740

Judd 072 903 0319


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