If you’re a coffee lover then you know what it’s like to wake up in the morning and crave the sweet relief of the beloved hot beverage. What a sense of satisfaction the taste brings to your pallet! Find out where you can get your dose at The Academy of Coffee.
It’s Saturday morning in Cape Town and the city is slowly waking up from the previous night’s slumber. The EduConnect Team, on the other hand, is ready for another coffee adventure. We head out to Woodstock to suss out The Academy of Coffee, a new joint that recently opened its doors in Woodstock at the Cape Town food Pirate Market. Luckily for us we have been invited to join The Academy of Coffee launch. As we arrive, we’re welcomed with Sheldon Muller’s acoustic beats, the scent of pastries and freshly ground coffee beans. Upon entering the market area people browse different food options from stall to stall.
Further, in the corner of the market area, we lay our eyes on busy baristas bustling away and perfecting flat whites, café lattes and many other delightful goodies. It was The Academy of Coffee. To our delight we are given a free taste of warm croissants, our choice of any coffee, and a free performance from Sheldon Muller.
EduConnect Team Feedback
We take our time to carefully choose our coffee flavour. As you can assume by now, we love coffee. Read all about our coffee experience below.
Ben Rath (Founder & COO)
“I really wanted to have one of the iced coffees, ‘cause after I had some of my colleague’s, I was hooked. But the coffee was brilliant and super tasty!”
James Kieser (Founder & CTO)
“Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the Academy of Coffee, the blender had broken so I wasn’t able to order an iced coffee. However, I ended up getting a cappuccino and I was by no means disappointed. A superb cup of coffee at a wonderful, little market! Thank you :)”
Robyn Tichauer (Journalist)
“I had the yummy Iced Mocha. In general, I’m not a huge fan of coffee. This mix of icy milk with a chocolatey coffee blend had a really good balance between the coffee taste and the chocolate goodness. I actually thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Wesley Roos (Key Account Manager)
“It tasted a lot like a good ‘cuppa joe’! I had a cappuccino and it was a good tasting coffee. I even had two. I wanted an iced latte but their blender broke.”
Kristin Bredenkamp (Editor in Chief)
“Once you become a coffee snob you never go back. The Iced Latte truly touched my soul (as cliché as it sounds). I’m definitely heading back to Woodstock for more soon.”
We went straight for the kill and chatted to Derek Gardiner for some extra insight about what The Academy of Coffee is all about.
- Where did the idea come from?
The Academy of Coffee has three founders: Tim Vieyra, Flip van der Merwe and myself. Together we consume liters of coffee on a daily basis. Tim found an opening for a store in Pretoria and pulled Flip and me in to start the business together. During that process we discovered a great neglect towards the majority of baristas in general within the industry and wanted to create something to solve that problem.
- What is the ethos behind The Academy of Coffee?
At The Academy of Coffee we define ourselves by being students of life and coffee. We generally have a hunger to learn new things.
- Is AOC involved in any skills building projects?
We have skills building on 2 levels. Firstly, we send our baristas on regular training. We desperately want our baristas to develop their full potential while they’re with us. For example we send Sello, on our Pretoria campus, for specialised barista training on a monthly basis.
The second level of training is towards the public. We have a free mailing list on our website that customers can sign up for. The mailing list sends out regular tips and tricks to make great coffee at home and we’re busy setting up coffee appreciation sessions for customers to sign up for, which will take them through the basics of being a specialty coffee drinker, teaching them about taste profiling and what to look for when drinking coffee.
- Any advice for students looking to start their own business?
Businesses that provide real value in society will always succeed. My advice is to focus on finding solutions to real problems. In the coffee business there is a lot of extraction from the large coffee companies through the entire supply chain, from the farmer all the way to the barista. Our beans are completely fair trade and we’re interested in building people up through knowledge. If baristas at the Academy are built up through knowledge, they’re going to do a better job and produce a better cup of coffee for our customers.
- What is your favourite coffee & what do you recommend trying at the Academy of Coffee?
My favourite coffee is an espresso. I like the strong, simple flavour followed by the burst of energy. I would recommend the Cortado. It’s a half expresso, half steamed milk drink which makes it creamy but allows the espresso to punch through the milk.
- What makes The Academy of Coffee unique in comparison to other coffee shops?
The Academy of Coffee is more than a caffeine institution. It’s a place to feed your mind and your body. Everyone is welcome to visit our Woodstock store and read one of the books in our library for as long as they’d like while sipping on some of the best coffee available in the city.
Upon our departure we left wanting to order not only seconds but thirds. Yep, that’s how good the taste satisfied our pallets.
There you have it folks. Many things are possible with the right attitude and a decent ‘cuppa joe’. After chatting to the founders we are inspired to continue finding solutions to bigger problems, just like them. Teaming up with like-minded people makes creating change a whole lot better, especially over a cup of coffee. Find The Academy of Coffee in Pretoria and in Cape Town. Check you there!