Buzzed about, shared online, gawked at in countless photoshoots – welcome to the mechanized steampunk madness of Truth. Coffee in Cape Town, South Africa. Put on your old timey goggles as a new Sprudge contributor, Charlie Stewart, takes us there.
Stepping through the ‘Goods Entrance’ at Truth. Coffee Cult’s lair in Cape Town is like walking onto a film set. You choose the film: Fritz Lang's “Metropolis”, “The City of Lost Children”, “12 Monkeys”, “Van Helsing”, or even Will Smith's ill-fated “Wild Wild West”. All are hallmarks of the “Steampunk film” genre, and cultural touch points for the gob-smacking interior design at Truth.
David Donde is the General ‘Bloodbath’ McGrath of the operation, the crazed mastermind and steampunk enthusiast behind the giant mechanical beast that is Truth. The inspiration for this fit out came from Truth's 60 kilo 1940’s era Probat, complete with cast iron roasting drum. Mr. Donde and his team have dubbed this roaster “Colossus”; it looms proudly in the center of the space, with Truth’s other facets radiating out from it.
Situated in the front right corner of the café, the Truth barista school operates as the take out window with a Mazzer Super Jolly, 3 group Synesso and revolving cast of other modded and steampunk’d machines including Wegas, an old lever la Pavoni and a couple of La Marzoccos. (When I visited, it was a Linea with a totally transparent body).
Besides an espresso menu, they offer sandwiches to go and batch brewed filter. The school is Truth’s barista incubator, with coffee from the school sold as take away only and at a lower price point. Standing in front of the roaster and clad in pressed tin, the main bar is home to a 3 group Slayer and a couple of Anfims serving up the “Resurrection Blend” and whatever else is going round, poured into vintage ceramics and served to you by staff wearing bespoke steampunk uniforms.
Besides a few vintage pieces, all the furniture was designed and built exclusively for the venue. The most impressive piece is the communal table, over 7 meters long, made from reclaimed pine from the buildings ceilings and industrial piping. Every detail has been considered, and the end result feels equal parts cafe and steampunk theme park. Should mankind's technologies fail us – reducing the human race to the basic technologies of yesteryear – in Truth. Coffee I believe we've found a safe rally point from which to fight against the advancing hordes. Or you know, to have a coffee and check your email.
Originally from South Africa, Charlie Stewart today lives in Perth, Western Australia, where he manages the Australian Barista Academy. This is his first feature for Sprudge.com.