Luxury Cafe With a Coffee Library

Coco Safar
Conceived in New York, designed in Toronto and made in Cape Town – Coco Safar has been a 10-year global journey. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Cape Town is totally dreamy. Once you step off the plane, you see the blue skies touching the tip off the Table Mountain. Surreal, as though a painter created this scenery.

Being home to billionaire Johann Rupert, the chairman of Richemont Group that owns Cartier, Montblanc and Piaget, South Africa has attracted many luxury brands, including high-end restaurants.

But it is Coco Safar, a cafe and coffee capsule company that will give you a new luxury experience. The word Coco is from Coco Chanel, known for all things sophisticated and Safar is coined from the Kiswahili word safari. The cafe takes you to a new coffee world from its making, smell, taste and packing.

Coco Safar’s interiors are all about escapism. Inside the cafe, you feel as if you are about to become a star on a vintage train stage, indulging in the chocolate patisseries beautified with an orange blossom ganache. Or you can pop the chocolate bonbons in white milk. These are eaten while drinking a green Rooibos capsule or Napoli coffee or whatever suits your palate.

Rooibos, a caffeine-free herbal infusion, is usually steeped in hot water to produce a tea-like beverage. But at Coco Safar, it is served as a capsule.


Coco Safar is attracting savvy consumers who want to experience the premium drink while sitting in a place that houses the world’s first botanical coffee and rooibos brewery.

It also has a capsule emporium, an espresso bar, a couture patisserie, and a cafe.

The capsule emporium has an industrial-style mezzanine library displaying the eye-catching capsule collections, retrievable by ladders and secured by floor-to-ceiling oxidised-steel columns.

Saddle-stitched linen panels bring an element of timeless elegance to the space. Nearly everything was handmade in Cape Town from the leather seating, solid oak counters and hand-blown light fittings.

“Everything here is handmade, from the furniture to the coffee, to the pastries. Like Coco Chanel, we are elegant and provide that elegance through our cafe,” says Wilhelm Liebenberg, the co-founder of Coco Safar.

“We have botanical mixology which is where we brew with plant based materials. The Rooibos tea is brewed for 76 hours or six days like beer. Our tonics are infused with Rooibos and we serve it on tap like beer. You can sit by the bar and watch the brewery doing the brews. It is a rare experience,” he adds.

Coco Safar is the first to make biodegradable coffee and Rooibos bio-capsules in Africa. The capsules decompose after 160 days and must be dissolved in the ground.
This is crucial for consumers who are conscious about protection of the environment.

To give travellers a taste of home is the naming of blended coffee capsules. You can drink a Manhattan, Napoli, Kaapstad, Havana, Stellenbosch, Saint Tropez and upcoming names will include Marrakesh, Jakarta and Lisbon.

Mr Liebenberg opened his first shop a few years ago and plans to expand to New York this year, followed by Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai or Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and London.

You really don’t need to get onto a plane to Paris or Havana or Lisbon, you are fine at Coco Safar, it has all the Coco Chanel, Eiffel Tower, London, Havana or New York that you will ever need. Just sip on the coffee or tea and feel the luxury.

Ms Maina is luxury consultant based in Paris, France