Get revved up for a good cup of java in Umhlanga

Duke and Dutchess Café in Umhlanga. (Supplied)

Duke and Dutchess Café in Umhlanga. (Supplied)

The Coffee Tree serves only vegetarian, gluten-free fare along with a single-origin Kenyan coffee. A spin-off of Judd Campbell’s famed Corner Café in Berea, Durban, this hole-in-the-wall joint in Glenwood follows the same sustainable principles, aiming to minimise its carbon footprint as much as possible. The exposed brick interior and exterior, use of upcycled enamel cups as hanging lights and the chrome-legged chairs and pockmarked floor add to the industrial-chic ambience.

The strictly vegetarian fare includes gluten-, dairy- and egg-free options.
All food is locally sourced and seasonal, with delicious treats such as a polenta and pear cake, a sugar-free honey and almond tart as well as nutritious savoury breakfast and lunch items to eat in or take away. Your takeaway won’t be in plastic though, and if you need a copy of your bill they’ll email it to you rather than printing it out. 

Despite this commitment to green principles, the ambience is relaxed and patrons are encouraged to stay awhile and take advantage of the free wi-fi at a table outside or to cosy up in the stylish interior.

Duke and Duchess Café is distinguished by its trendy setting in Duke and Dutch Motorcycles in Umhlanga. On the coffee menu are novel names and crowd-pleasers such as Punch in the Mouth or Aggressive Chocolate Flat White, a blend by Colombo, and a selection of Terbodore coffees. The java is served by trained baristas who add to the experience by using the pour-over method – an old-fashioned way of hand-filtering coffee. For breakfast nibbles there is egg baked to oozy perfection in a bread and bacon cup, among other delights.

Duke and Duchess is a destination concept store that encourages motorcycle enthusiasts and coffee lovers alike to pop in and browse or buy. “We have consciously created a space which is reminiscent of the biking scene of the Sixties and Seventies,” says owner Sven Jurgensen, who started out in advertising for the automotive industry, which conveniently indulged his love of motorcycles. 

And his passion is evident in the décor: vintage motorcycles and helmets are on display, furniture is sourced from antique stores and biking murals adorn the walls. The glossy black subway tiles and pressed tin panels on the counter add to the distinctly masculine feel of the space. 

Duke and Duchess stocks a wide-range of imported motorcycling merchandise including Davida, Biltwell, Edwin Jeans, Neuw, Redwing, Vitesse, Aviator Goggles, Pashley Bicycles and the custom motorcycles for which they have become renowned. After purchasing a few accessories from overseas for himself, Jurgensen soon found that there was a demand for premium riding gear from around the world and so the retail side of the business began. 

“We look for ‘best of the breed’ merchandise,” he says. “Quality and longevity are really important to us.” 

The team soon began customising motorcycles and offering coffee to friends when they popped in and when new premises with space for a coffee shop became available it seemed like the natural next step. 

The Coffee Tree, corner of Alan Paton and Cato roads; Duke and Duchess, Shop 1, 46 Meridian Drive, Umhlanga Rocks. Phone: 031 584 7411

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