African Decadence at Afrikoa Café

A lavishly designed space with pieces by MaXhosa by Laduma and Anatomy Design, Afrikoa Café is the first chocolate concept store in Joburg's art district.

Sarah de Pina

Afrikoa Cafe | House and Leisure

The inspiring story of two young entrepreneurs, who were determined to create South Africa’s first bean-to-bar chocolate, is manifested in the bold and bright colours employed in the design of their newly opened Afrikoa Café. Located at the Trumpet Building on the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank, Johannesburg, their new space aims to showcase the best of African coffee and cocoa. You can expect beautiful pastries, delicious brews of all imaginable coffee variations, and an impressive list of sparkling wines by the glass – all of which works to celebrate and complement their award-winning chocolate bars. 

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Afrikoa Cafe | House and Leisure

The space itself is an exciting mix of local design brought to life by Andrea Kleinloog of interiors firm Hesse Kleinloog, and features beautiful pieces by Anatomy Design as well as bespoke woven elements by MaXhosa by LadumaHouse and Leisure caught up with Afrikoa directors Sibo and Lebo ‘Lukewarm’ to learn more about the space, their vision behind the chocolate and the future of Afrikoa. 

A Quick Catch-Up with Sibo and Lebo of Afrikoa Café 

Afrikoa Cafe | House and Leisure

The new Afrikoa Café is less of a showroom and more of a concept space. What was the thinking behind it?

Afrikoa Café is designed to hero Afrikoa Chocolate, and is centred around three pillars: chocolate, coffee and Champagne. We wanted to create a space where people can come and enjoy African decadence in a luxurious setting.

For those of us not so clued-up on choco-speak, what is 'bean-to-bar’? 

'Bean-to-bar' means from cocoa bean to chocolate bar, and Afrikoa is the first South African chocolate that does not leave the continent before reaching consumers. The cocoa beans are from Tanzania and they are shipped to Cape Town, where they are roasted and turned into chocolate.

You are now also introducing coffee to the Afrikoa product line. What’s on offer? 

Afrikoa Café has amazing single origin coffee from Lake Kivu, and we are pairing that with amazing plated desserts using Afrikoa chocolate, tartlets, bonbons and truffles.

How did you go about finding the perfect coffee? 

We believe in dealing directly with the farmers, so when we went to Rwanda on a business trip, we found a coffee farm at the base of Lake Kivu surrounded by the Virunga volcanic mountains. It had arguably the most amazing coffee that either of us had ever tasted.

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Afrikoa Cafe | House and Leisure

Why is it important for you to keep it single origin? 

It’s important to us that all our suppliers have a face, because we are not a faceless organisation and we care for those we work with. By only having single origin we can protect the integrity of our products, and our suppliers. While almost two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown in Africa, most of it is exported to Europe and America, where it is turned into chocolate before being returned to our African shores. We believe in growing the art of chocolate-making within Africa and supporting the farmers and their local communities, which is why we’ve made a promise that our chocolate will always be made in Africa, for Africa, using cocoa beans that have never left the continent.

You are quite young for such dynamic business people. What got you into the chocolate business? 

It literally fell into our laps. We went to the DRC on business and they brought out our food on a tray. There was chocolate and coffee, and I think that’s when we had our light bulb moment.

What should first-time visitors to Afrikoa Café absolutely try? 

One of the most sought-after items on our menu is definitely our melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles. Our coffee is also fast developing a reputation of being the best in town. 

Afrikoa Cafe | House and Leisure

Afrikoa Cafe | House and Leisure

What’s on the cards for the future of Afrikoa Café and the brand's presence in Joburg? 

We are really looking to cultivate Johannesburg’s dessert palates, so we are going to be promoting that in a big way. But the space also lends itself to hosting various functions, such as kitchen teas, high teas, taste experiences and corporate events, so we’re hoping Joburg catches on to that quickly.