Tuesday 22 March 2011

A Shitty Espresso & My Bucket List

(Peter and Ali in front of Haas)

(the gorgeous grey of Haas interior)

(The R80 a cup Kopi Luwak espresso)

I'm no coffee connoisseur. I grew up on Frisco, and used to froth the milk and the caramel-colourd powder before pouring in the boiling water. But I drink coffee and I like it. And I'd like to think that my taste has improved somewhat since my pre-teen days. And we now have a coffee machine, but we buy whatever beans we can find at 9 pm when we've discovered we've run out of coffee. And sometimes I'll buy coffee solely based on the nice packaging. So no, I cannot claim to have a had a lifelong fascination for the stuff, or to have known about Kopi Luwak before I watched The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
So for those who don't know what Kopi Luwak is or who have not seen The Bucket List: It's the world's most expensive coffee and it's made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet ( or other coffee- berry-eating-civets). These berry/beans then pass through the civet's digestive tract. Yeah, yeah, and then defecated, conveniently keeping its bean shape.These are then washed, dried, roasted, packaged and PR'd and then sold on to
the rest of us. (Thank you Wikpedia) So in other words Kopi Luwak is coffee made from shit.
And it's available from The Haas Collective is in Rose Street , Bo Kaap, which is where I took my lovely friends Peter and Ali. Or rather they took me, as they picked up the tab for the R80 Kopi Luwak espressos.
We ordered the Kopi Luwak espresso, as it would surely be wasted in any other milky form. And it was a fine espresso. A nice way to start the morning. But as for the merits thereof, in all honesty I doubt that I could really tell the difference between the R2580 a kilo cup of Kopi Luwak or another fine ordinary (and much less expensive) coffee. But then I can't blind-taste wine either. However, the brilliant (yes, really, in the true sense of the word: he also understand maths) Neil Pendock can and also advocates it, so I would defer to his taste buds and opinion on this matter.
I like Haas, I like its style, I like their crockery, I like their packaging. I like their shop/gallery of beautiful things. I like their grey velvet antique sofa on the Bo-Kaap pavement. (I also like that it's next to Rose's corner cafe where I buy great samoosas and around the corner from Atlas Trading where I buy cinnamon sticks and cardamom in brown paper packets.) So I would go there again, because their iced coffees were divine and a fraction of the cost of my not-so-completely-shitty-kopi-luwak-espresso.

So, hyped-up on caffeine, here is my (partial) Bucket List
(this does not include my desire to lose weight/have a baby/live happily ever after/ or revisit any wonderful places I may already have been to)

Swim with dolphins in the wild (Very hippy-hey-chi-wow, I know, but I'd really-really like to)
Slurp noodles on the streets of Vietnam (Anywhere in Vietnam, I'm so desperate to go there, I'm not going to be picky)
Go horse riding on a beach (Perhaps need to learn how to ride a horse first)
Learn to play poker (Well. I need to learn how to play poker well)
Write a children's book (It has to be a good non-patronising one with great illustrations - obviously I'm not illustrating)
Dance as if nobody is watching (Because I still, stupidly, care what people think)
Chat to Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Wouldn't you?)
Go kayaking someplace where the seas are calm and the water is warm ( And the sharks are scarce)
Watch Tim Minchin live ( Because barefoot, mascara-wearing, messy haired boys can be surprisingly hot)
Drink icy G&T''s on the deck of Singita Lebombo (Because modern-glass -architecture and safaris are so appealing)
Finish Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy before the sequel comes out in 2013 (3 copies, 3 attempts later, I have to do this)
Perfect the art of making pancakes ( Hope springs eternal)
Celebrate the colourful festival of Holi in India ( And eat lashings of palak paneer with garlicky naan bread)
Own (and be able to walk in) a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutins.

Haas Coffee Collective ( you have to make your own Bucket List)
67 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap
Tel: 021 422 2239
Open: Monday to Fridays 7am -5pm (or 6pm if you're still finishing your coffee)
Saturdays and Sundays 8am till early afternoon (best get there in the morning)


  1. I am trying to catch up with all of your writing that I had missed.

    These one is good and I am focusing on the Bucket List. I think our bucket list as individual as they are could be so much better if we share then with our friends, love ones, our families or even strangers.

    Ellen Elmore (our mutual friend) and I share our bucket list while on that Princess cruise that we all meet. And that took us to South Africa where we got to explore your country and enjoy your mom's company once again.

    I could have visit SA on my own and it would have been a great experience but I it wouldn't have been as good with out Ellen and your mom on it. So: share your bucket list with someone perhaps you will find something in common. Do that together... it will give you a wish and a moment with a friend, love family stranger.

    I will have noodles with you in Viet Nam if you come on a boat ride with me there.


  2. Love your blog. I have a website that I have just started and I would love us to link up to eachother. www.parmesancheese.co.za

    Looking forward to your comment.


  3. What a shame...your Bucket List does not feature Gorillas, a la Dianne Fossey, and volcanoes on it...! So it seems like I will have to make my long overdue trip to Cape Town to catch up with you instead...have some friends currently in Nigeria visiting CT in April...will have to send them to this coffee shop...sounds gorgeous! Rwanda has great coffee too, by the way...Hope all going well?Karina

  4. I have a bucket head but it will never include shitty coffee!

  5. Donner, but I love your blog and especially the bucket list. I think I should start thinking of my own...

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  7. Someone Sometimes with visits your blog regularly and recommended it in my experience to read as well. The way of writing is excellent and also the content is top-notch. Thanks for that insight you provide the readers! My First Espresso