AFRIKOA is a self-described “chocolate concept store”, opened earlier this year in Johannesburg’s glitzy art district, the Keyes Art Mile. Focused on “the three Cs” – chocolate, coffee and champagne.
While the majority of the world’s cocoa grows in Africa – 70% of all cocoa comes from just four African countries – almost none of it stays there. African farmers sell cocoa to middlemen, who transport the beans overseas to be processed and turned into chocolate. Most of the chocolate bars in South African supermarkets are made from chocolate that originated in Africa, travelled halfway across the world, then returned as a finished product for purchase and consumption.
AFRIKOA disrupts this cycle, sourcing beans directly from a small group of Tanzanian farmers and producing single-origin chocolate at its factory in Cape Town, South Africa. AFRIKOA’s chocolate, as the labels say, is 100% African from “bean to bar”.
The chocolate is made in Cape Town but the Jo’burg café is AFRIKOA’s first brick-and-mortar location. The café’s founders chose the site with African luxury in mind. “Cape Town may be where the factory is, but Johannesburg is the business capital of Africa and we needed to ensure that we were playing the game at the highest level,” says AFRIKOA Café co-owner Lebo Lukewarm. “We needed to create a space that would immediately speak to luxury and sophistication, and there is no better place in Johannesburg than Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank.”
The small café on the first floor of Keyes Art Mile’s Trumpet Building exudes luxury — with a wide marble bar, sleek furniture and lighting, and an entire wall lined with AFRIKOA chocolate bars and champagne (sold only by the bottle). The menu offers creamy, decadent hot chocolate in several flavours, as well as a curated menu of beautifully presented desserts. Designed by Belgian pastry chef Laettia Van Waeyenberge, AFRIKOA’s chocolate creations are a sight both to behold and to taste. The menu will change seasonally.
Since not everyone can splash out on a thousand-rand bottle of champagne with dessert, AFRIKOA also serves coffee that is as authentically African as its chocolate. “The coffee is beautiful,” says Lukewarm. “Not only is it single-origin, but it is single estate – meaning it is from one particular farm” in northwestern Rwanda. AFRIKOA sources the beans directly and roasts them in Jo’burg.
AFRIKOA Café is at 21 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank, on the first floor of the Trumpet Building.
Source: Lonely Planet