The coffee shop that doubles as an office for its patrons is so common these days there’s even a neologism for it – the coffice. This term has a slightly funereal ring to it, however; maybe we should rather label them woffees? Whatever you call them, they’re often a second home for freelancers.
With so much WiFi around, Marie-Lais Emond selected the locations on this list for their outrageously good brews or excellent facilities for freelancers. Drag your laptops to one of these coffices, with a choice to suit all moods and deadlines.
This branch trumps others for its work-conducive vibe and calming spaces. You can even have a conference in one of the two barn-like rooms alongside. It’s a good place for peeking at what fine artists do on their Macs or overhearing which TV scripts are being wrapped up a table away. There’s a cute, creeper-festooned courtyard with French-style wrought iron and glass tables for sunny days. Even if you’re not a cappuccino fan, this fresh-off-the roaster, creamy-bean cup will delight. It’s worth checking if they have slabs of Madagascan chocolate next to the other goodies under the cloches.
There’s always a must-have coffee of the day to dream about en route to Doubleshot. Even though the space is small it feels inspiring; the coffeemaking ambience is like a fun steam-train journey. Why diffuse the headiness of the best pour-over coffee in the city with food? Well, because you can complement it with coconut French toast with mascarpone or other brunchy munches like trout cottage pie or old-school fridge cake.
This spot is a block away from Doubleshot; they say the signal’s better. The seat arrangement and table height are slightly more work-conducive, kind of scholarly in a cool, Scandi-efficient way. The father himself, Andy, often sits out on the front stoep, but his hipster son is the coffee expert with the very best, shiny equipment. Of course, the coffees are outstanding – you have only to check the crema on the espresso. Accompany your cups with pecan-nut tart slices or Florentines, but be warned: they go fast. A good time to be productive is morning or midday, before the lazy afternoon sun slants in.
Guru always seems ready and prepared for the workers, and it opens at dawn. There’s a fair number of IT types here, which is handy if you need advice about why your cursor is suddenly doing something funny. The rest of the mix is academics and young business people. The coffees far outclass any food offerings, but you can snack on fresh sandwiches like a rather tasty tuna on rye, or their famous muffins. It’s always busy, but it’s still a good place for meetings.
Don’t you love those logos with rays shining out of Africa? They’re on the mugs and cups of Motherland’s delicious brews and blends, all hailing from this continent. This is a quiet and nurturing space in which to work, and the staff are happy for you to do that over a very special Ethiopian treat. (Some days you can be the only person there, with your avo on toast.) The muzak might not be to your taste, but that’s why you brought those earphones. Bonus: it’s close to the Rosebank Gautrain station.
This place works in a different way but, my gosh, it works. It gets our vote as the very best coffice for a wide choice of different spaces, styles and levels of lighting. You can have things printed out, read the real books along the library wall, and even play a round of mini golf on a contoured carpet green, where two wire-and-bead sheep watch your progress placidly. This, friends, is a networker’s paradise. Things just happen without you even trying. The catch is that you pay a sort of membership, by the month or by the day even – a bit like at the gym – but it’s worth it for the contacts alone. Right in the centre is the coffee island, but it’s not the stuff caffeine dreams are made of. Cast your eyes up for inspiration and be entranced by Kentridge-style figures made of lamp flex. This feels like the future.
Expect to encounter poets and scriptwriters galore in this unpretentious, calming atmosphere, among the owners’ collection of plaster Madonna statuettes and pictures. Take up a restaurant table as a workspaces in- or outdoors. Harmless Italian jazzy sounds are good working tunes. The Illy espresso coffees from the bar are excellent, and the filters good from the kitchen. Breakfasts are available all day and there are snack platters, as well as perfect work fuel in the form of a thin, crispy-based pizza called Al Cantina, with no messy sauce and loads of rocket and parma ham. The place gives off a strange calming feeling, no matter what the deadline. Everyone smiles.
This location is loud with hard surfaces, but it’s productively buzzy rather than distractingly noisy. The service is great and laptop workers are treated with reverence. Service Station is a fine place for client meetings, with just the right amount of impressive sass and edge. Best of all, Love Books is just through a doorway. The place has a fine deli and enticing sweet goodies at the counter. (There’s fall-faint fudge if you’ve done enough to earn it, or chocolate truffles to be had with the very fine coffee.) Otherwise, lunches are the leafy by-weight sort.
There’s no arguing that this luxurious spot is the very most useful in this area, especially for big business. From the station you can get to the airport, Rosebank or the city. (You need to have a BA or Comair card, be an FNB Platinum holder with an air ticket, or bank with RMB.) The coffees are superbly hot and perfect, the service excellent, and the spaces perfect for working. There are plenty of healthy wheatgrassy drinks too. Snag a cubicle for intense work, or settle in the extra meeting- and workspaces downstairs. Slogging has never felt this pampered.
This restaurant’s chef produces lovely food and the breakfasts are famously brilliant. Everybody, but everybody, is working inside on weekdays; TV production folk and authors will surround you. There’s a serious air to the place and you may feel guilty just having a good lunch. The coffee is sublime, specially blended by the masters at Doubleshot in Braamfontein. (You can buy it by the packet.) Homebakes are delicious: try the blue-velvet cupcakes, the melktert, and any of the excellent mince things. The area outdoors features a little more levity.
Did one of your favourite coffices not crack our top 10? Tell us about it in the comments below.