- Pretoria has a blooming coffee culture.
- Cycling and good coffee enjoy a strong relationship.
- Plato Coffee, situated in the leafy suburb of Irene, is a must-visit.
Cyclists love coffee, that is a fact. Nothing beats a post-ride coffee, or even a mid-ride caffeine top-up.
The coffee ritual is a big part of the social aspect of cycling, whether you are a weekend warrior or world tour pro.
Cycling’s relationship with coffee goes back a couple of decades. In the late 1960s Italian espresso machine manufacturer FAEMA sponsored the team of Belgium’s legendary Eddy Merckx. In the decades that followed famous coffee brands such as Saeco, Segafredo, and others have adorned jerseys in the pro peloton.
Pretoria has only seen the coffee ride culture develop quite recently.
Outdoor coffee and space to social safely
Five years ago, there were only one or two options when it came to a pavement style coffee, where you can sit and admire your steed while sipping on a brew. Fortunately, the local coffee culture has improved drastically in recent years.
The criteria remains simple: good coffee and adequate parking out front. Taking inspiration from the European Pavementista society, this allows for the conversation to flow out into the parking area, as riders check out each other’s bikes, socialising with fellow riders and other interested patrons.
One of the best coffee stops in the nation’s capital city, is found at 11 Stopford road, in Irene.
Plato Coffee is a container style coffee bar that has opened in the leafy, historic suburb of Irene. With an extensive coffee menu, different coloured cups and an interesting setting they are a breath of fresh air in the Pretoria coffee scene.
The setting for this caffeine fix is unlike any other, being located in the Irene Concentration Camp Cemetery.
The site was a concentration camp opened in 1900, to house women and children during the South African Anglo Boer war. Today the Irene concentration camp is a national heritage site where more than 2000 people were buried.
I had ridden past or through this space many times and it was always eerily quiet, receiving very few visitors, as is often the case with such sites.
The addition of Plato coffee has made it a destination, becoming a hub for the local Irene community as well as cyclists from the Centurion area.
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Another spot to check out: The Park’s Croft & Co