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Johann Sebastian Bach once said that without his morning coffee he is like a “dried up piece of roast goat.” While there are indeed some mornings that I feel the same, it is my view that coffee is far more than just a drink, coffee is an occasion, whether this is an early morning caffeine rush or a twilight moment around a campfire.

I fondly recall an experience some years ago when a fly fishing buddy of mine and I enjoyed a lovely wooded chardonnay along the banks of the Bell River near Rhodes. I cannot for the life of me remember the brand of the wine but I certainly remember the moment – taking the slow lane is something we should consider more often.   

It has been said before, but coffee is far more than merely a drink. Yes, the drink itself is indeed most enjoyable but let us for a moment take a look at the other pleasantries of enjoying ones coffee. In a nutshell it’s about how, how the coffee was prepared, who prepared it and the enjoyment of the preparation. The where being the environment where you enjoyed the coffee, was it while around a campfire or while watching the sunrise enjoying some ‘quiet time.’ My last of three important characteristics is who, who did you share the moment with, a friend perhaps, your child or a beloved partner. Was it a business meeting or merely a pleasant gap in your working day.

It would be easy for one to question why a good cappuccino might set you back R25 in a restaurant or coffee shop, after all, how expensive is it to make one cup? Let’s forget the actual cost for a moment and rather take a look at the lovely surroundings in which you are sitting. The well laid tables, comfortable seating and the friendly service from the waiter. Add a special friend and the excellent taste of a professionally prepared brew and you’d surely agree that the value of that coffee was way more than the small amount on your cash slip.   

It is wonderful to see the growth of our local coffee industry. The so-called coffee culture is growing throughout South Africa and our tastes are being drawn towards good coffee. There also seems to be a renewed commitment by locally owned restaurants, many of which are offering speciality coffee which can be enjoyed in lovely surroundings. Take the slow lane with a friend and share the experience, you’ll love it!


Alan Hawkins is a the chief roaster and founder of the East London Coffee Co. www.elcoffee.co.za

Taking the Slow Lane

                         … a highly recommended option

The enjoyment of coffee

How - how was it prepared, where did you source it from.

What - what was your brew of choice this time?

Where- where did you prepare your coffee or where was it prepared for you.

When - A morning rush, a lunchtime break perhaps?

With whom - was it a friend, you child,your partner or a colleague?

Life in the 21st century has become fast and frenetic - take a break, you deserve it!

Work demands in a struggling economy; being a committed parent; struggling to balance a check book … these things are all set to try us and to break us down. Those who love you would far prefer you to just take a ten minute coffee break twice a day - you will be amazed how this will charge those tired batteries.

“My dream is to have a house on the beach, even just a little shack somewhere so I can wake up, have coffee, look at dolphins, be quiet and breathe the air.”

      Christina Applegate