Stop… and smell the South African Coffee Culture

For many people their morning coffee is a treasured daily ritual, helping them get ready for the day or a chance to relax with friends. Coffee is very ingrained in our everyday lives and more and more people globally see themselves as “coffee snobs.” The coffee culture and coffee industry continues to grow in South Africa, in which the average coffee shop sells around 300 cups of coffee a day. Customers find appeal in the instant, convenient and social nature of these ventures.

Even though instant coffee is still very popular in South Africa, the demand for freshly brewed coffee has been on the rise in the last few years. South African consumers want quality and are happy to pay a bit more for a good cup of coffee.

In 2019, local coffee brand Seattle Coffee will open its 210th store in South Africa, whilst global coffee mega-brand Starbucks is sitting on only 12 stores and are expected to leave SA within the year. It seems that the high maintenance costs and South African consumers’ tight budgets and apperception for local brands have greatly hindered Starbucks’ expansion into the African continent.

It is clear that South African consumers have become pickier when it comes to the quality of coffee that they consume. They want coffee that has a distinct flavour and greatly value the whole coffee-drinking experience. A second comparison by 24/7 Wall Street for USA Today in 2018 found that the average South African consumes roughly 83 cups of coffee per year.

All about the Coffee Culture experience

South African coffee consumers are becoming more and more interested in the full coffee experience. A good example of this is the fact that the Coffee Festival is making its South African debut in Cape Town at The Castle of Good Hope in June 2019.

As of the last decade, the demand for premium and speciality coffee has increased in South Africa as the interest in Nespresso and other capsule or pod-based coffee offerings has increased and consumers can now make quality coffee in the comfort of their own homes. Speciality coffee preparation methods, such as Aero press or Drip Coffee makers are also attracting the attention of many consumers.

Even though the South African coffee market is still fairly small in comparison to the global scale, it has developed to create its own identity to match South African consumers’ needs. This rise in the demand for premium coffees has fuelled growth in the number of coffee roasteries and coffee shops across the country. In short, despite increasing competition and sustained demand for instant coffee the local coffee market is still thriving off this caffeine kick.