By Meg Kritzinger
It was in 2018 that I left the corporate world as a legal advisor to seek greener and brighter pastures. I always knew I wanted to create something fun and make the world a little better, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do this – until Stella came into our lives. Stella is a courageous, joyful Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Her high energy, fearless attitude, and her love for ALL people got me inspired. It gave me the idea to create a bright, fun espresso bar that reflects the same joy and excitement that Stella (and all Staffies) bring to our world.
From a very young age, I have been a frequent visitor of Cape Town’s coffee shops (thanks to my mother’s daily need for her caffeine fix), and throughout the years I have found much happiness in espresso bars around the world, both on my travels, and whilst working in Cape Town. I knew I had the right experience in creating a coffee bar that could make a positive difference. At this time, and the rise of the hipster coffee scene, I found that most coffee bars in Cape Town had the similar black, wooden, smoky, masculine feel, with the coffee culture becoming quite intimidating to the average person on the street. I wanted to solve this problem by creating a brighter, more fun coffee bar that was accessible to people from all types of backgrounds.
And so, after a full year of searching for the right location to open our first Stellski Coffee Bar, I found a tiny space on the bottom floor of a bright red building on 59 Loop Street, right in the heart of the CBD. With access to pedestrians of all types of backgrounds, I just knew this was the right spot to launch our brand! With the help of my good friend and interior designer, Cara Masureik, of d0tdesigns, we created a space that was bright and bold – with red and pink walls to match. Local artist, Care one Love, of Muizenburg, helped us replicate Stella’s massive smile and good vibes by painting an extra-large mural of her on our espresso bar walls. This mural has now become the face of our coffee beans.
This brings me onto our coffee beans – the star of our show! We started our mission for the perfect blend back in 2018, when the concept was first born, and after months of experimentation (and a large amount of Stellski joy and enthusiasm), the African Blend was created. Ethically sourced from Burundi and Ethiopia, through direct fair trade partnerships with the coffee farmers, we can assure you that each bag of beans purchased is the best of the best in terms of quality and makes a positive difference to the coffee community – something I am really proud of.
We have now been open for nearly a year and have established a loyal customer base which we are extremely grateful for. The Inside Guide has quoted us as “A vibrant new coffee bar on bustling Loop Street, where everything – from the bright, colourful interior to the great tunes and smiling staff – is aimed at adding a little joy to worker bees”, and News24 has described us as “A chic espresso bar with some mouth-watering toasties. Pop in for a coffee and sit in awe of the stunning decor that makes this coffee shop so very special”.
We are extremely grateful for our customers and the media’s continued support. Opening a coffee bar in a competitive market and a tough economy (not to mention closing for 3 weeks due to COVID – 19 !!!), has been challenging to say the least! However, our reason for being – to spread joy to all South Africans one coffee cup at a time – continues to build our resilience and determination to keep going despite these challenges.