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Saturday, January 14, 2017


Steampunk is retro cool--an amalgamation of sci-fi images influenced by Victorian-era antique machinery; paintings by Escher and movies like Blade Runner and Mad Max.
It’s a bold coffee house that bills itself as the world’s best.  But in an era of “who can shout the loudest” bravado seems to be working, especially in Cape Town, South Africa, where Truth Coffee’s eclectic brand is a hit.

For the record, Truth Coffee is a coffee roaster, coffee house, café and coffee realm of its own.  The “world’s best” title was bestowed on the establishment by an exuberant UK media outlet.  Nonetheless, owner/founder David Donde was thrilled with the kudos and has run with it ever since.  The world’s best title overshadows his previous claim to fame as the one who brought flat white to South Africa in 2005.  No one argues when it’s billed as the truth.  And, anyone bringing truth to the world is a hero, especially when it comes to creating the world’s best coffee. 

When asked what is his best selling coffee, David recently told the media “The Resurrection blend is by far our best seller, and it makes a chocolaty, nutty flat white with a long, lingering caramel finish.”

When it comes to state of the art marketing, Truth Coffee is in elite company with the likes of Sweden’s Drop Coffee, New York’s Death Wish Coffee and Chicago/LA’s Intelligencia Coffee.

If décor is added to the mix in judging the world’s best coffee experience then Truth Coffee gets more votes for its allegiance to steampunk interior design.  Steampunk is retro cool being an amalgamation of sci-fi images influenced by Victoria-era industrial technology, metal piping and quirky antique machinery; paintings by Escher and movies like Blade Runner, The Matrix and, of course, Mad Max.

Speaking of bravado, Truth Coffee has a wonderful blog.  It is well written, creative, great fun to read and one might learn a thing or two about running a successful wholesale and retail coffee empire.
Purveyor of The Truth
The following is an example from David Donde’s blog:


I frequently get asked:


After the mental pain subsides, I begin to construct an answer.

What causes the pain? The certainty that what is really being asked is “do you roast dark, or light or medium?” Terms that are for the caffeine enlightened among us, inane, or at least should be.

You see by dark roast they are really asking, “do you have overdeveloped, bitter, burnt flavours in your coffee?” “Can I get perceived flavour through overwhelming & one-dimensional bitterness in order to meet my pre-conceived expectations, of what I feel coffee should be like?”

For light roast, I feel I am being asked, “are you on trend” or more precisely “Can I get weird acidity and grassy notes to reinforce my idea of what is currently On Fleek in coffee” (their term, not mine, for the record)

By medium, the underlying question is “do you play it safe” or “will you leave me to stew in my perceived happiness as I float in the warm pool of mediocrity”

Damn it! no. NO. No, Always, just no.

You see extracting flavour from coffee is a matter of a few simple yet seemingly hard to achieve things.

Start with a green, unroasted coffee that has flavour, is interesting, and is fresh.

Completely develop those flavours by careful roasting
find a way to make a solution with water that exhibits only those good flavours from the coffee beans.

Today, I am ranting about that middle task. Fully developing those flavours.

You see, if you roast the coffee too slowly, or too light, not all of the flavours will develop, at all. The coffee will be to some extent, astringent, grassy tasting, with weird acidity and even taste baked, or mealy.

Roast too fast or dark and the opposite will occur, those flavours will overdevelop. Not a good thing. Not more flavour. Just burnt. Just like sugar that gets burnt, because that is exactly what happened. Bitterness is the result, and a loss of flavour. And a loss of body. Just bad.

So our goal is to have even development of the coffee bean. Thorough flavour development from the outside of the bean to the core, not an easy or linear feat.

It takes a relentless process, of roasting, graphing the development of the roast, cupping those coffees to look for flavour and to avoid both astringency and bitterness. To examine cutting edge techniques in roasting methodology and see how that relates to each origin roasted, and to develop a set of profiles (not a single profile) in order to constantly improve our coffee.

Not too slow, not too fast, not too dark, not too light, each a subtle difference between exquisite and ok, between mediocre and shit.

We are in the business of the extraordinary. No less will ever do. And it needs to bring Joy to be Truth.

That is our roasting style—By David Donde.

Interview with Truth Coffee founder David Donde

What the hell is steampunk?

Truth Coffee
36 Buitenkant Street
Cape Town


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