W Café

Overall Rating: 7.100

Address: 72 Longmarket St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Corporation & Plein Sts.
City, State ZIP: Cape Town, 8001
Neighborhood: City Bowl
Phone: +27.21.461.0984
Hours: M-F 8am-4pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 6.20
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 6
Presentation: 3
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: Nuova Simonelli
Coffee Rating: 8.00
Aroma: 7
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Woolworths
Cup Manufacturer: Paper
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 12/06/2010
First Reviewed: 07/12/2010
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Woolworths is an odd name to an American, representing a dying chain of discount chain stores that were once something more respectable. While this company has no relation to the U.S. company (other than legally reusing their name in the 1930s), in South Africa Woolworths is a chain of clothing stores that has since evolved into a rather fancy food store as well. Furthermore, their chain of W Cafés has earned some notoriety for the quality of their cappuccinos (not flat whites, mind you) and for being home to the reigning South African barista champion. This W Café is located in their corporate flagship store. There are a number of W Café parasols along the Longmarket St. sidewalk for sidewalk dining - but who really wants to here? Inside there's loud music and a festive staff with a limited number of stools to sit at along a short window counter facing Longmarket. The shop specializes more in "to go" food (that's local fancy talk for "take away"), which leaves few options for breakfast and more for lunch. But using a three-group Nuova Simonelli and a worn, three-group La Marzocco Linea behind the front counter, they pull shots of organic espresso with a richly textured brown crema in a short paper cup (R14). The cup offers more than the usual paper design: with a grippable spiral like the inside of a Hario V60 dripper. And the resulting cup is surprisingly good: with a full crema of real thickness, and very good body, and a rounded and smooth flavor that's mostly a blend of herbal pungency. The cappuccino comes in the same short/tall/grande sizes as anything else. A healthy microfoam with latte art (rosetta, a heart, and sometimes a bunny) makes this a true cap in town. Still, it's a good place to go for coffee, but not too much else.