With the re-branding of everyone’s favourite mainstream bookstore comes one of the most incredible artisanal coffee experiences I have been able to experience, ever: EB Cafe.
To begin, there is no such thing as a cappuccino at EB Cafe. Depending on the mood of the Baristas and the time of day, when you attempt to order one you might be treated to an explanation of why the formulation cappuccino destroys the flavor of a coffee or they might just leave you to it but surreptitiously sneak you a flat white. Either way, you’ll probably be left wondering why this is the best “cappuccino” you’ve ever had.
A flat white is similar to a cappuccino in that both contain espresso and hot milk but that’s about it. Cappuccino’s are characterised by their scaldingly hot temperature and foamy caps. A gentle counterpoint, a flat white contains a gradually heated and frothed milk. Allegedly, this allows the milk’s proteins to remain intact while emphasising the natural sweetness of milk.
I’ll hasten to add, this is not the place for someone in a rush. Nor is it the place for someone who relishes the hot, bitter coffee that encapsulates our modern day rat race. No, everything is about the sweetness and natural beauty that can be coaxed out of a single, perfectly roasted bean.
At the moment, the three blends being served up at EB Cafe, Rosebank are the EB Signature Blend (delicious in any milky coffee such as a flat white or, for the more daring, a cartado), Burundi (an intense and strong blend, not for the faint-hearted) and the El Salvador (a chocolaty and delicately bodied bean, my personal favorite).
While you’re waiting for that perfect cup of joe, you’ll have ample time to notice the little touches and details that truly make the cafe beautiful and laced with the beauty of literature. The table outside contains knick knacks and trinkets arranged into the titles of iconic books while the rustic look is echoed with famous quotes hanging above the coffee bar.
If you really have time and an appreciation for the more intricate flavour of coffee, you can have a go at one (or both, at R20 a cup, you can definitely afford to splurge ) of their slow-brewed coffees. The barista’s at this particular branch specialise in the brewing methods using Hario V60 and Chemex filters and carafes. The slow brewed coffee is distinct from traditional filter coffee because there are no machines involved. Instead various pouring devices and specialised filters are used to create an intriguing cup of coffee.
In the 10 minutes it takes to product a cup of the above, you will be treated to an intensive course in all you need to know about coffee by one of the incredibly knowledgeable barista’s crafting your cuppa. Each barista is a craftsman, artisan and artist.
It all begins with selecting the blend, I personally have tried all three in variations of the above and find favour with the El Salvador, others prefer for the Burundi. Just don’t pick the Signature Blend else the manager might freak out.
Next, the barista, while giving you a detailed back story to whichever of the methods you opted for, will carefully measure out either 21 grams (Chemex) or 19 grams (Hario V60) of your selected bean and then grind it for you.
While regaling you with almost scientific dissertations on the impact of milk on coffee and it’s flavour, your barista will carefully fold a filter, possibly asking you to touch it and place it in either a super fancy porcelain conical or a super fancy flask. The filter is then wet with warm water and the filter water is discarded.
Now comes the good part. The coffee is again carefully weighed out and then placed in the filter. The first pour takes about 20 ml of water to wet the coffee. 30 seconds later comes the second pour. As you watch the molten brown liquid seep through the filter, you are treated to the most incredible aroma that begins to fill up the entire store.
Finally, it’s time to drink from the warmed shot glass presented to you. You can ask for milk but I wouldn’t recommend it. Sit back, relax and enjoy coffee as it was somehow meant to be.
Of course, it’s not just about the coffee despite all of the above. There is a wide selection of artisanal goods availiable for you to either sample there or take home such as poppy seed chocolate and vanilla moon fudge spread though what vanilla moon is, I could not say.
There are also number of baked goods though these seem to change regularly. I particularly enjoy tarts and have taken a go at the Lemon & Raspberry, the Double Chocolate and the Blackberry Macaroon (note that it’s Macaroon with two “o”s in case you were expecting something else). These tarts are perfectly reasonable and those who work there have a good sense of humour about accomodating a request for five forks.
Overall, the place just seems to be about good books and good coffee as they were meant to be enjoyed, together. If you’re in the area or near another one (I hear tell of similar cafes in Hyde Park and Woodstock, Cape Town), do yourself a solid and go check it out. Drag a friend with even, I swear it will be the most interesting coffee date you’ve had in a while.
Verdict: the best coffee place to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon or Sunday brunch
If you went to check out EB Cafe, Rosebank please share your verdict with us by commenting below or through instagram using #bakedlawyer.