On my recent trip to the Kwazulu Natal South Coast, I came across pamphlets for a Beaver Creek Coffee Estate “Crop to Cup” coffee tour. Being a coffee junkie I was quite intrigued by the prospect of learning about how coffee was made. So I promptly dragged my husband and kids away from the beach in Margate to another coastal town, Port Edward, for the tour. We plugged Beaver Creek Coffee Estate into the GPS, which gave us an estimated trip time of 25 minutes and set off to our destination. As we entered Port Edward, we started seeing signboards indicating directions to the coffee estate.
Tours are held daily at 12pm. We got there with about 10 minutes to spare. It was a rather cold day for that part of the world – which is known for its warm climate. There were about 20 people gathered around for the tour including kids.
At 12pm, Robbie arrived and introduced himself. He is the MD of Beaver Creek. The estate was started in 1984 by his grandfather and has been a family owned business since. It started with 4 trees and has grown to over 60000 trees currently. More than 40000 guests visit the estate every year. Robbie began by giving us a ripe coffee bean, as picked from a tree.
We were surprised to see that it looked like a red berry. He asked us to squeeze it and remove the bean which was a light green colour. A slimy liquid was also secreted from the bean.
Robbie then explained the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee to us and gave us a few other interesting facts about coffee and coffee plantations.
- Did you know that Robusta has almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica? However the additional caffeinemakes Robusta coffee more bitter and therefore not as pleasant as Arabica. Have you noticed coffee bag labels brag about the fact that their coffee beans are 100% Arabica?
- Did you know that most instant coffee in South Africa consists of very little actual coffee and is made up mainly of the chicory root?
- Did you know that most coffee is grown near the equator in the area between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, known as the Coffee Belt? Beaver Creek is the Southern-most coffee estate in the world. Their coffee is the only 100% South African locally grown, harvested and roasted Arabica coffee.
- Did you know that freshly-ground coffee beans are the best way to enjoy coffee?
We saw coffee saplings in black plastic bags, young plants and older trees.
We were then taken to the processing machine which removes the coffee beans from the pods. In some places this is done manually.
Thereafter we were shown where the coffee is roasted. Robbie’s father is the Roastmaster.
There was a collection of coffee memorabilia including antique coffee grinding machines.
Our final stop was the coffee shop where we were treated to bottomless coffee tasting. I had an espresso and a cappuccino. The espresso was too bitter for me but I enjoyed the cappuccino. My kids had coffee too and were really impressed when the barista “drew” Kung Fu Panda on my son’s cappuccino (See photo at the top).
The tour costs R45 for adults and is free for children aged 12 years and younger. It includes the Crop to Cup tour followed by bottomless coffee tasting. Barista Courses are also offered.
The estate also consists of a restaurant and a shop where coffee and other items are sold. We bought some to take home. Beaver Creek also delivers freshly roasted Arabica coffee as well as roastery blends countrywide.
For more information, visit Beaver Creek Coffee Estate .
I love a freshly-ground flat white. How do you like your coffee?