Not many people would consider the space between the railway line and dusty trading store car park the ideal spot to set up a café. Michael Goddard, thought it a great find and actually, it is.
Michael is passionate about ‘garage coffee’ – “Everyone needs fuel, and coffee (human fuel) is available at most garages. Not always good coffee, often relatively terrible”, he smiles. Michael is part of the movement to reinvent ‘garage coffee’ land is setting a whole new standard, off the beaten track beside Thokan’s Store on the R103. Michael believes that Seattle Coffee is leading the charge in offering the highest standard in garage coffee at the moment.
Steam Punk Café takes coffee seriously. “Importing good African coffee is one thing, making it properly is quite another.” To ensure that the taste is a good as it can be, he carts fresh, natural water to the Café each day from the farm where he lives in Dargle. Apparently, the salts and minerals bring out the savoury flavours. Water is heated to just the right temperature (73 degrees for cappuccino) which sweetens the lactose and means sugar is an unnecessary addition. Clearly very creative, Michael sees each cup as the chance to create something new – capturing the moment – then it is gone.
Already, local coffee aficionados, including teachers, designers, chefs, cyclists, sculptors, farmers and hipsters are flocking for their daily fix. Michael Ndlovu who works up the road stops by each day. “This is the place to start the morning, with the best espresso ever to give you that voom!” he grins. Self-proclaimed coffee addict Sebastian Laccarino, agrees “You won’t get coffee this good at a petrol station for miles.” Neville Trickett pops in so often for four shots of espresso to get his day started, that there is a particular blend named after him. “I like people that think left of centre. Michael is living proof that if you do something from the heart and you do it well, people will come,” he says. Michael is thoroughly enjoying the interactions with his customers – describing them as real, gritty and authentic – convinced that coffee always attracts positivity.
Snacks to accompany your favourite brew are simple and stylish, with local ingredients showcased. Wood fired Love Bread from Lidgetton makes great toast, especially when topped with real cheese found on a foray to the Karkloof Farmers Market. On the weekends there are utterly irresistible Portuguese custard tarts too.
Michael is determined to keep things as green and local as possible. He dreams about using the coffee grounds to grow mushrooms, of opening up the back of the Café to take in the view of the tracks, of roasting his own coffee and sharing these skills with others and perhaps, creating a tiny deli filled with delectable local goodies… Certainly this is a space to watch.
There seems to be an abundance of creative young foodies emerging from Dargle. Head over to Lion’s River for a steamy interlude to add a little spice to your day, today.