Hipsters in Cape Town are flocking to The Old Biscuit Mill, a former – you guessed it – biscuit factory that has undergone a revitalization of sorts and perhaps the key reason for Woodstock’s rapid change. The brick-red façade of the former mill is well-preserved; clean white lines frame it crisply. While many shops have flamboyant store fronts, one stands apart due to its distinct lack of colour.
Espresso Lab Microroasters is all black and white with occasional spots of crimson to draw your attention. Indeed, its “laboratory” ambience – think: beakers as coffee pots, a snowy-white Diedrich roaster and a tiled map of bean-producing countries around the world – is meant to invoke a very precise and technical passion for specialty coffee.
Yet the café is far from cold and clinical. Jovial baristas are happy to converse with us and offer recommendations. Espresso Lab’s founders, Renato Correia and Helene Vaerlien, believe in sourcing green beans from sustainable, organic farms and roasting them in small batches to allow their flavours take centrestage.
Their current coffee selection spans the globe, from Costa Rica to Kenya. For single origin filter coffee, we try their Ethiopian heirloom beans from Sasaba, Guji; these are harvested at approximately 1800 metres above sea level. This natural processed coffee had a delicious floral aroma and tasted of Medjool dates and pineapple, a most winning combination.
Lovers of a good cappuccino should try their Alpha 2016 espresso blend – now into its version 3.0, according to the barista – that is a mix of 50% Fazenda Recreio (Brazil), 25% La Union de Narino (Colombia) and 25% Konikona (Ethiopia). Its caramel-almond and cherry blossom flavours cut through the milk to create a balanced cup. Their Black Ice – espresso, crushed ice and natural sweetener – is a cool favourite during the summer months.
Old Biscuit Mill 顧名思義的是一家舊餅乾廠，
Espresso Lab Microroasters
The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa
Mon-Fri 8am-4pm / Sat 8am-2:30pm / Sun closed