The art of Coffee

coffee E Vida

Don’t dare view an espresso as a quick caffeine fix. It’s ritual that soothes the soul.

Coffee was once believed by some Christians to be the devil’s drink. When Pope Vincent the third heard about this, the story goes, he decided to taste the "evil" drink before banishing it. But he ended up enjoying it so much, that he baptised it, saying, "Coffee is so delicious it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it."

Hailed for its simulative qualities rather than its flavour, coffee was once associated with plesbian taste. But that has changed and the coffee revolution has also come to South Africa, turning ordinary drinkers into coffee cognoscenti. These new converts understand that drinking a cup of coffee is so much more than a caffeine fix- it’s a ritual.

There’s a huge difference in opinion amongst coffee aficionados around the world as to how to make the perfect brew. The Moroccans add whole peppercorns for added kick, the Ethiopians take it with a pinch of salt and the Turks drink it with extra sugar at weddings, and without sugar at funerals.

For Brad Armitage and Rui Esteves of Vida e Caffe – the coolest boutique espresso bar on Cape Town’s Kloof street – it’s a complete sensory experience. "Coffee has many faces… the plant, the berry, the bean, the roasted blend – and finally the beverage. Coffee soothes the soul. It’s not only about savouring the taste -it’s about savouring the experience," says Brad.

Brad and Rui travelled the world together, and returned brimming with inspiration and the desire to create the perfect espresso. "Espresso is only good when it’s perfect. And there are so many aspects of an espresso that you need to get it right," says Brad, counting them off on his fingers. "There’s the blend, the amount of coffee you use, the pressure used to tamp the coffee down, the temperature, pressure and hardness of the water.

Add to that how you grind it (not too fine or it will burn, not too coarse or the espresso will be watery) and the size of the filter – too complicated to go into – and one can understand that making the perfect espresso is nothing short of a miracle. To prepare the perfect espresso you need to be an artist!"

"Keep it simple but do it right," is the secret to vida e Caffe’s success. Brad understands that perfect coffee should be accompanied by perfect pastry, which brings us to the pasteis de nata, a sumptuous, traditional Portuguese baked custard pastry.

Muffins are freshly baked every morning, and if you haven’t been to Vida e Caffe, you haven’t experienced a real muffin. A Portuguese "mamma" helped Brad and Rui perfect the recipe, and the unusual, combinations include banana and pecan nut, apple and cinnamon, espresso and choc chip, sun-dried tomato and feta, and savoury sausage.

story by Maja Bezuidenhout. from Eat In

image by of coffee


7 thoughts on “The art of Coffee

  1. LAIRD

    Nothing wrong the English egg custard which apparently has been passed onto our oldest ally! I think I had best return to tea drinking as I am now almost as afraid of brewing a cup of coffee as opening a bottle of wine!!!! 

  2. Peter

    Hi KateThanks, yes, getting along fine, weather too good to be true, busy with papers and a few coffees do help to keep the momentum going ! One of the perfect partners to a coffee is a lucuma sweet .. they have them in Ginza … Hope you have a good week tooPeter

  3. Judex

    Hi Kate,
    Someone said that Coffee is good against liver cancer. Is this true ?
    Keep enriching us, Kate.

  4. Monica

    I’ve got to make a point of coming over here more often to see you. Your posts are awesome ………I love the coffee news, and I absolutely loved the previous one about moms and grandmothers…….Excellant…..
    I just have not been on spaces much this summer………just been a busy little girl ( Big girl, actually ) and enjoying life.
    There is never a dull moment in my life…………and I think that’s a good thing. Don’t you ??
    ~~~~~Hugs ~~~~~~~~  Moni xo 

  5. Delete52Mitch

    Interesting article. I got used to drinking dark-roast coffee working on Louisiana-based towboats. Thought I’d really miss it when I went to live in Venezuela. I didn’t — there was an expresso machine on every street corner. I was wired all the time! Best wishes from Alabama. Mitch 

  6. Suki x

    Hi Kate,   Yes coffee is ment to be enjoyed slowly and with friends if possible, I have been drinking pure coffee since I was a small child and rarely drink instant.   Please always try to buy Fair trade Coffee, it just seems to taste better as well doing your concience good
    Love Suki x


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