Paul Kilfoil's World of Travel, Technology & Sport

Posted on  by Paul Kilfoil.
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On a recent visit to Green Point (an inner city suburb of Cape Town in South Africa), my wife and I chanced upon Shift Espresso Bar. They had a board outside advertising speciality coffees, and the ingredients of their "Rebellion" mix immediately caught Karen's eye.

The interior of Shift Espresso Bar in Green Point (above)
Karen surveys her Rebellion with delight

"A double shot of espresso, Lindt chocolate, whipped cream and caramel sauce! I have to have one of those" she said.

That sounded like the ultimate in decadence, and I was amazed at the price - only 25 SA Rands (less than 2 US Dollars)! So we went inside, sat down in their sunny courtyard and ordered coffee and breakfast. I had my usual (an Americano with hot milk) but Karen opted for the Rebellion. When it arrived it looked more like a milkshake than coffee, but my wife's eyes lit up and she let out a sigh of pleasure after the first sip. I also had a taste and can confirm that it was absolutely incredible.

My Americano was also excellent, as was the croissant and scrambled eggs I had for breakfast. So we sat there in a state of gastronomic and caffeine-induced pleasure, enjoying the food, coffee and pleasant surroundings. The place was full of hip and trendy inner-city residents, enjoying the September sunshine in their ultra chic gym gear or busy on their laptops or tablets.

I noticed that "Black Insomnia" was scrawled on the board inside. This is a South African brand of coffee that claims to have the highest caffeine content in the world - just one standard 12-ounce cup of Black Insomnia contains 702 milligrams of caffeine, almost double the recommended safe daily dose of caffeine the average adult should consume! They achieve this by using Robusta coffee beans, rather than the milder but more flavourful Arabica bean that is used in most coffee blends. By comparison, a 12-ounce dark roast coffee from Starbucks contains "only" 195 milligrams of caffeine [Aside : An American brand, "Death Wish Coffee" has recently challenged Black Insomnia and claims to average 728 milligrams of caffeine per cup, but their figures have been disputed; further laboratory tests will be needed to establish whose coffee is deadlier, I mean stronger].

Shift Espresso Bar's speciality coffee offerings

I fell into conversation with a guy sitting nearby, and he confirmed that Shift Espresso Bar does indeed serve Black Insomnia. I didn't try any though. Perhaps another time - I like my coffee too much to limit myself to one cup a day, which I'd have to do if Black Insomnia contains as much caffeine as they claim.

So I don't know about Black Insomnia, but if you enjoy experimenting with your coffee, then Shift Espresso Bar is the place to go to - they have a whole range of speciality coffees which, if the "Rebellion" is anything to go by, are well worth trying.

  Shift Espresso Bar
  47 Main (Somerset) Road
  Green Point
  Western Cape
  South Africa
  (Phone) +27 21 433 2450

  © Paul Kilfoil, Cape Town, South Africa