For too long, the country’s finest restaurants have ruined stellar dining experiences with very average coffee. But at long last, specialty coffee is where it belongs – amongst the finest dining in Cape Town.
Why is it that a restaurateur who flies in his salmon from Norway twice a week is still happy to serve bland, stale, cheap coffee, palatable only from beneath a thick blanket of milk and sugar? Could it be that a diner who pays ZAR500.00 for a marbled slab of Wagyu beef fails to notice the deathly scent on his steamy black and watery post-beefy brew? “Nay, nay”, said one rotund comedian. And finally the more avant gard of culinary pioneers are beginning to understand this.
Excellence insists on excellence
Fine dining demands every element of the meal to be extraordinary. There can be no weak link. The best chefs in the world send teams of truffle treasure-hunters, guided by only the most discerning of semi-naked face-painted pygmies to find the very best truffles to accompany their dishes… which, of course, are made with beef from cows that are given daily massages, beer baths, and a bucket of organic grain, before be lulled to sleep by classical music in the misty mountain heights of Kobe, Japan. And so it is that the best chefs in the world will employ only the most committed coffee sourcers and roasters to find single origin beans that match the level of excellence and precision that they apply to their butternut, brulee, or brinjal pate. Or so it should be.
A new saviour afoot?
Yet, despite the abundance of highly demanding restaurateurs, there are very few gifted enough to extend their pursuit of excellence beyond dessert. Pioneering master chef Harald Bresselschmidt, however, is exactly one such man. Joining forces with Woodstock’s Rosetta Roastery, Bresselschmidt’s award winning restaurant Aubergine has now launched it’s own specialty coffee menu, which boasts four single origin coffees, sourced and roasted by the Rosetta team.
Showing its disregard for the mal-impression that espresso is the only way to enjoy good coffee, Aubergine’s specialty coffee menu consists of elegant french press servings, straight from an incredibly sexy stainless steel plunger. Each portion of coffee is ground on demand (naturally) and where requested, the coffees are also available in espresso form.
Around the world and back for dessert
Probably one of the most impressive things about the menu is that it not only boasts coffees from Africa and the Americas, but also offers beans sourced from Cup of Excellence-winning estates like Honduras’s Finca Santa Marta. With a bright, exquisitely citrus Ethiopian Yirgacheffe leading the way, supported by smooth dark smoky Brazilian Tijuco Preto, the menu certainly doesn’t lack variety. Also featured is a Colombian El Jordan with some delightful green apple acidity, ensuring the Central American coffee giants get a mention.
This guy is the limit
Aubergine’s specialty coffee menu is an incredible step forward in the journey to permanently cement specialty coffee in the realms of fine dining. But the standard of coffee in fine dining restaurants will only change on a larger scale when discerning diners’ refuse to patronise poor coffee. Otherwise, restaurateurs will continue to cut corners where they think their clientele (the very individuals who keep them in business) won’t notice. Only once they realise that the discerning diner is no longer satisfied with a generic coffee solution will we begin to regularly see a five-star meal finished by a five-star coffee.