Coming to South Africa, I have my reservations about whether I am likely to find any coffee culture whatsoever. So it is easy to imagine having limited expectations for the smaller, less populated Namibia.
With this pessimism in mind, we landed in Windhoek and were forced to wait an extra day for our bags to catch up with us. I took the opportunity to add the only roaster I could find into our day’s itinerary. It was located downtown on Independence Avenue (so named for Namibia’s own independence in 1990).
We saw it from across the street, with a large patio of chairs spilling onto the walkway and with few empty spots to sit. Their big modern snail-based logo above the shop entrance.
We entered and I saw coffee equipment for sale along the wall on the right, a modern barista station and attentive staff. Picking up the brown non-descript bags, I did my usual first criteria check to see they had roast dates. Not only that, they had been roasted within days. This was totally unexpected, but I knew I needed coffee for the next two weeks as we would be nowhere near decent coffee during that time.
In addition, I grabbed an espresso as well as a flat white to sit and enjoy on their massive patio.
The beans, as expected, were darker than I like. However they were pulled longer which mellowed out the acidity that would otherwise be there. This resulted in an espresso which was smooth and drinkable but without much character. This might seem negative, but it was much better than I expected to find today, so I was happy.
As we travelled around I realized that Slowtown has already become quite a successful Namibian coffee chain. They have two more locations in a single shopping mall in Windhoek as well as a (much larger) location in Swakopmund. This location was massive inside, with space to spare and tons of seating.
Needless to say my worries about finding coffee in Namibia were unfounded. I had plenty of beans for the cold mornings camping.
And if you can believe it, we even came upon a second Namibian roaster while in Swakopmund.