“I have to tell you about this amazing place that I have found!”
Yes, that is usually how it starts. One of the things I have found true in my years (short though they may be) is if someone displays genuine enthusiasm about telling you something, it is worth listening to. Usually it will tell you about who they are and their story, but also, if they are genuinely excited, you may be interested in ‘it’ too. That enthusiasm with me often comes down to people, places and experiences. Maybe it is also because I enjoy travelling that I enjoy sharing the stories about people I meet and the places I have been to. My life seems measured by the next adventure and the stories I can tell about them.
Admittedly, I am no connoisseur of travel, but I love finding amazing places. To be able to say “I know this little place down this road that has the most incredible ….” And know that whoever you are sending in that direction, or going in that direction with, will be as delighted as you were to find it, gives me much satisfaction.
Talking of delight … there is very little in this world for me quite like the smell of a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I find that even when I have had satiated my desire for finely brewed caffeine, the smell of another cup being brewed seems to draw me into temptation time and time again. This is often the case at my favourite stop off. If you are in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands this place is most certainly a gem. Steampunk Coffee has opened up a whole world for me by introducing me to some very fine artisan coffee. Something that is growing increasingly popular and trendy world over. Not only that, but due to the fresh décor, relaxed music, not to mention the owners meticulous attention to each perfectly brewed cup of coffee and customer, I cannot seem to drive by without stopping in at my #happyplace. The owner, has even taken the time to introduce me to different facets of coffee for no other reason than he seems passionate about chasing the perfect espresso and sharing this passion with everyone.
I have already been fortunate to have tasted coffee from all over the coffee belt including Ethiopia, Kenya, Guatemala, Peru, Cape Town and our very own Midlands. All roasted differently, different flavours all. I now find myself reading blogs about coffee and roasting, grinding, extraction and so much more. True story. It is addictive that way. To quote a visiting Barista I encountered one day, “coffee is Romantic”. Now, what girl couldn’t use a bit of romance every now and then? For that matter, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for a guy either.
But to be honest with you, it is not just the amazing coffee that has (almost literally) blown my socks off, but the whole concept of Steampunk. Michael has taken a unique ‘hole in the wall’ approach and a rather unusual venue for it by our SA standards. A petrol station on a road which is located to the left of ‘off the beaten track’. Essentially although there are chairs and tables, this is not restaurant. Coffee lovers, travellers, locals all stop in to grab their choice of delight and brief chatter and are on their way. Sevice with a smile! There are some baked goodies (savoury and sweet) to tempt you away from the rush of fast food and to let you linger briefly in a haven away from the grind of life or as you perambulate along your Vay-Kay. The décor follows the Steampunk meme which is yet to really take hold in South Africa but is growing in stature globally. My favourite way to describe it (and I am open to correction here should you feel otherwise) is romantic Victorian mashed together with an Industrial edge and smattering of Punk. So uber fresh and different while being a little old school. If you really like the idea, you might be lucky to even find some Steampunk inspired art for sale. One of a kind pieces manufactured in a seemingly fantastical world to remind you to dream. This is all accompanied by tunes that are catchy, laid back and altogether likely to induce a mood most suitable for… well… chilling out.
On top of all this you may even get to run into some local wildlife in the form of Decaf. A local dog that has more or less adopted the Café and the owner. Strange but true. It seems the Midlands has coffee shops where the pets choose the owners… but more of that in another post.
All in all, if I go a week without popping in for my ‘fix’ it is a long time. If this does happen however, I always feel like I am returning home to my happy place.
I guess the question I would like to ask is… Where is your happy place? Why don’t you tell me about it…..