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Coffee shops with a cause

As we head towards the end of a year that hasn’t been filled with a whole lot of good news, and as festive season approaches, we’re spotlighting local coffee shops that are not only serving up excellent cappuccinos, but also giving back to their communities or worthy causes.


Ubuntu Ground Café

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Ubuntu is an isiZulu term meaning ‘humanity’ and is essentially about togetherness and how our actions have an impact on the lives of others. It is also one of the core values of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT) who, last year, were awarded a grant by the Old Mutual Foundation towards the start-up and development of Ubuntu Ground Café. This is the organisation’s first social enterprise initiative under their newly registered company, HACT Biz. A fully converted, 12m container, sponsored by Container World, literally gave the project a home and the team proudly opened the café doors to the public in January this year. All about inspiring change one cappuccino at a time, Ubuntu Ground Café not only sells delicious coffee, great food and is a natural add-on to HACT Centre’s existing Plant Nursery and Woza Moya craft shop, but will be providing skills development, training and work experience placements to local, unemployed youths, equipping them with the skills, experience and confidence to gain meaningful employment. On top of this, all profit raised through this unique venture go directly towards the long-term sustainability of HACT’s 24-bed Respite Unit. From 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays, Ubuntu Ground Café offers a delicious menu, spacious undercover and outdoor seating, a clean and safe play area for toddlers and kiddies and children’s play area. This café is certainly living up to its tag line of ‘so much more than coffee’.  Details: Ubuntu Ground Cafe, Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, Facebook and Instagram: UbuntuGroundCafe

Marilyn’s Tea Garden

A hidden gem situated at 29 Village Road, The Kloof and Highway SPCA is a fun-filled family adventure for both regulars and newcomers. While no visit is complete without a visit to their charity shops and nursery, popular highlights include restful refreshment at Marilyn’s Tea Garden or an on-the-go cuppa Paws for Coffee. Currently, due to Covid-19 restrictions, Marilyn’s Tea Garden (which operates from the SPCA’s beautiful grand old house, with its wrap-around veranda, that is one of the first farmhouses ever built in Kloof), serves take away meals and sweet treats only, which you can enjoy in their gardens while adhering to social distancing rules. The menu includes toasted sandwiches, chips, their famous lemon meringue pie, fresh scones and daily specials. Last year, the SPCA’s rusty trusty Horse Box was too rusty to transport animals, but in true SPCA style – re-using and recycling – they transformed it into an awesome Paws for Coffee unit, extended their menu, and partnered with Coastal Coffee Roasters, to include vegan hot and cold drinks as well as other speciality hot and cold drinks for on-the-go visitors to enjoy. All of the funds generated by the Tea Garden, Paws for Coffee, nursery and charity shops are used to continue their fight against preventing cruelty to animals, their mandate as an SPCA. They are closed on a Monday and open from Tuesday to Saturday, public holidays and the last Sunday of the month from 8am to 3pm. Details: 031 764 1212, Marilyn’s Tea Garden, Kloof and Highway SPCA, 29 Village Road.

Pilgrims Rest Tea Garden

Seven years ago pastors at Frontier Church, Mike and Paula Strydom, founded Heartstrings Community Project – a registered non-profit organization through which they aimed to uplift and empower people through job creation, skills development as well as providing practical help in the form of food, clothing and so much more. More recently, they opened the doors to their tea and coffee garden, Pilgrims Rest, to raise funds for their initiatives and provide a sanctuary for people to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. With a glorious view over Inanda Dam and the rolling hills that seem to carry on forever, as your coffee and cake is served to you at rustic tables under a flat crown tree, this truly is the perfect place to pause, take a deep breathe, listen to and watch the birds singing and soar and ultimately be at peace. They serve the most delicious gluten-free chocolate and carrot cake (which will keep you coming back for more), tea, coffee (French pressed with your option of hot or cold milk and a lot of love), a small selection of fruit juices and cold drinks as well as ice cream.  And their humble menu continues to grow. They are also so much more than a tea garden – you can shop for clothes in their ‘gently worn’ clothing store, Calico Heart, and other items like wooden decor created as part of their upliftment program Heartstrings Trading Co. You can also shop for plants at Livingstone Nursery and they have a selection of pre-loved books on sale, with all proceeds going directly into the project. Tranquillity and genuine warmth is what this wonderful coffee experience is all about. Open every Saturday from 9am to 12.30pm. Details: Pilmgrim’s Rest Tea Garden, 85 River View Drive, Forest Hills, 083 782 4531 or visit www.heartstrings.org.za.


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