Over the past few years, major food brands like Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and more have come to our shores, bringing excitement to many who had seen these brands from afar.
That’s the effect of globalisation – we live in a world where having all things foreign is favoured. Hence you find people shelling out their hard-earned money to have a taste of the latest offerings from foreign brands, whether it be food, beverages or clothing.
However, thanks to the craft and artisanal movement, South Africans are starting to realise that there are some really great local brands that need as much support, if not more, than their favoured foreign brands receive.
Enter Kahvé Road, the coffee company that has started making inroads around the country and getting all coffee fans excited.
Co-founded by Durban-born and raised Rithen Ramlal, Kahvé Road is a premium South African coffee brand that was launched in 2016.
“Innovation is everything with our brand. It’s about that premium experience when you are having our coffee,” Ramlal said during a recent visit to Durban.
As an investment banker, Ramlal went through “ridiculous amounts of coffee, sometimes eight to 10 cups a day”. So it made sense for him to branch out and create his own coffee brand. It was important for him that they made sure they delivered coffee that was of a premium quality and could compete with the best in the world.
And so Ramlal and his wife and co-founder, Nazreen, decided to go to basics.
“We have experienced coffee culture from various countries and we were tired of the dark, bitter brews that South Africans were exposed to. We knew there was a massive gap in South Africa when it came to great coffee. So the starting point was that – wanting to get great coffee for South Africans.
“It was important to pay homage toa true journey of coffee, which is why we have made sure we have the best coffee, from crop to the perfect cup of coffee. The journey starts with the sourcing of our beans, which is a great distinguishing factor between us and many popular brands.”
Around the world we are experiencing a coffee revolution and it’s called the Third Wave in Coffee. The first wave is understood as when Italians introduced espresso to the world; the second wave is when major brands took coffee to the world, where the consumption of coffee increased, but the quality decreased.
So the third wave is all about celebrating the coffee bean and going back to the artisanal way of producing coffee, how you source your beans and roast them.
“We are part of this third wave and we are committed to giving coffee-loving South Africans world class coffee.”
I tried all five of the Kahvé Road coffee capsules, which are compatible with Nespresso machines.
It’s a blend of coffee beans from Ethiopia, Columbia and Guatemala, and it’s ideal for an everyday cup of coffee. It’s not intense and it’s great as an espresso. I had it black and with milk and could taste the berry notes.
This is an intense blend, suitable for when you need a caffeine fix in the morning.
It’s a strong blend sourced from Brazil, Indonesia and Columbia, giving you the aroma of hazelnuts and the taste of dark cocoa.
It’s the one I enjoyed the most and is ideal for busy people. And yes, you can have it with milk, it doesn’t take away from its intensity.
The after dinner coffee. Well, that’s when I would have it. It’s light, not as intense as the Petra and Babylon. It really goes down well as a coffee to drink when you are just relaxing. A blend from Malawai, Burundi and Uganda, you get a slight citrus-y taste.
I find decaf coffee to be pointless, but I was pleasantly surprised with the Troy blend, which was as intense as the Petra, without the caffeine. The blend smells really good and still gives you that rush you get from coffee. A blend of beans from Mexico and the DRC.
The surprise star of the Kahvé Road capsule collection, it’s rooibos! It’s deliciously sweet and why no one had thought of making rooibos capsules before, is mind-boggling. The fynbos aroma, which is expected with rooibos, is intense in Chan Chan.