“Do you have filter coffee?” I ask, already knowing the answer.
“Yes,” the waitrons always say confidently and then add with some disdain, “Americano.”
The thing, of course, is that I know Americanos very well. I also know that they are a pretty far cry from the plain old filter coffee I so crave.
I mean, I’ve been ordering “an Americano with hot milk, please” for a good eight years now – since Imar first introduced me to tiny baby Deluxe in Church Street back in 2011 – and the phrase rolls off my tongue with extraordinary ease. (Amazing how nervous those baristas used to make me with their cool tattoos and piercings.)
However, in recent months I’ve lost my appetite for ‘the usual’ – no matter where I go, it’s just too sharp, too bitter and mostly tastes just a little burned.
And frankly, all I really want is a damn cup of filter coffee! Soft, uncomplicated, comforting, aromatic filter coffee. Freshly-brewed and preferably bottomless. Like they serve at diners in the old American movies.
It’s an unpopular opinion, I know. But… Is it really too much to ask?
It’s easier to find a parking spot on Bree Street at lunchtime than it is to find filter coffee in Cape Town.
In this age of espresso-based everything, it’s like every restaurant threw out their drip filter machines with the last tatters of their 2010 Soccer World Cup Paraphernalia. Used, redundant, no longer necessary. Maybe even kitsch.
In all my desperate wanderings (and they have been desperate), I have found only one place that is able to quench my particular thirst. (And also happens to have kept its World Cup trappings intact).
It’s just a tiny little nook, tucked between modelling agencies and car workshops. There are no hanging gardens or tattooed baristas, while flags and newspaper clippings decorate the bright orange walls. Here, you won’t find ad agency execs importantly hammering out campaign proposals on shiny MacBook Airs (and if you do, they’re the good kind), but rather middle-aged traffic cops seeking respite from their oft-despised tasks.
It’s cosy and wholesome and brimming with practical magic: large containers filled with home-baked rusks and beans sourced from every exotic corner of the world. The aroma of freshly-brewed coffee permeates the entire street and welcomes the Americano-weary home (not that they don’t make a mean espresso-based drink for those who still like that kind of thing).
Some places just are havens and, I guess, Anthony’s Golden Cup is one.
So, while the rest of Cape Town enjoys their R30 flat whites in industrial chic surrounds, I’ll be right here (in the queue behind Officer Visagie), patiently waiting to order my precious cup of filter – humble and delicious, fresh and fragrant.
Filter Coffee Forever!