Starbucks set to open 6 coffee shops in Cape Town

Canal Walk, Cavendish Square, Stellenbosch, Tyger Valley Shopping Centre, the V&A Waterfront and Camps Bay will each soon be boasting a Starbucks in their centre.

After what many felt like a three-year snub, thanks to the popular coffee shop brand opening branches in Durban and Joburg, Capetonians will finally have a taste of what has made Starbucks a popular brand around the world. Gauteng will also have two new branches – Castle Gate Mall in Pretoria and Rosebank in Joburg.

Starbucks’s launch into Cape Town was initially intended to take place in June, but was hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing the brand to hit pause.

In a statement released in June, Adrian Maizey, chief executive of Rand Capital Coffee, which is the custodian of Starbucks in southern Africa, said the Cape Town stores would offer an experience consistent with the values and store atmosphere that Starbucks is known for globally, designed to reflect the most beautiful city of them all.

“Starbucks is an iconic global brand, and when the opportunity arose to expand it into my home country, particularly as this is one of few remaining scalable regions where Starbucks is yet to have a strong presence, I grabbed the chance,” he said.

An artist’s impression of what the Canal Walk Starbucks will look like. PICTURE: Supplied

“Starbucks delivers great product innovation, world-class customer service, and quality coffee, while living its commitment to do good, socially and environmentally. The group has a proven track record in delivering on its promises, which is why it appeals to such a wide-ranging customer base around the world, including in South Africa.”

While Starbucks may be a popular brand worldwide, one does wonder what Capetonians, will make of the news.

Coffee culture has exploded in Cape Town in recent years, thanks to a number of boutique cafes that have opened across the city, selling their brews at premium prices.

This is coupled with a growing café culture that continues to influence the positive trajectory of the coffee industry.

Consumers are increasingly demanding better quality coffee, with organic and ethically sourced “Fair Trade” products, showing how well informed coffee drinkers have become over the years.

There has also been a general increase in the demand for speciality and more premium coffees such as origin-specific coffees, with a gradual shift from instant coffee to more authentic or speciality coffee consumption.

As more people become educated in coffee, Starbucks will do best to win the Cape Town market by making sure that it prioritises its Reserve Bars, which will entice people to leave their favourite coffee shop and give Starbucks a chance.

The same coffee bean under different brewing methods, will give you a different taste. The lighter coffee was brewed using the chemex method, while the darker coffee was brewed using the French press.

Starbucks recently had a launch of their two new coffee beans – the Ecuador and Christmas blends. This launch was hosted at the flagship Florida Road branch and saw their coffee masters showcase the many ways you can enjoy their coffee.

Using the Ecuador blend, the coffee masters used the chemex, French press, clover and syphon methods prepare the coffee. And with all four methods, the same coffee blend tasted different and even looked different.

It is always fascinating to see and taste, just how different brewing methods have on the same blend of coffee. The experience left us with newer information about how best to enjoy coffee and how many different ways you can enjoy the beverage.

The syphon method of brew coffee.

It was educational, especially for those who are serious about upping their knowledge of coffee – from the sourcing of the beans, to the roasting, packaging and how to get the most out of your beans.

These kind of presentations are what will give the US brand an edge over local coffee shops, especially if their baristas are as good as Teddy Nzama, the Durban-based coffee master who was crowned Starbuck’s best barista of 2019 in London, UK.

It will have to do more than just rely on the clever marketing of its signature frappuccinos and pumpkin spice latte’s to impress the Cape Town market.