It’s the smell that hits you first; then the view. You’ve stepped into another world, fragrant with roasting coffee beans and freshly baked cakes. You’re confronted with a manicured green lawn that rolls down to the river. Tables are dotted picturesquely under the spreading branches of glorious old trees. Already you know it will be hard to leave.
Luckily, this part of the world is nicknamed the ‘slowveld’, so there’s plenty of time to have a coffee or three, enjoy a light lunch or delicious slice or cake and relax in the charming surroundings.
Sabie Valley Coffee has been in business for more than a quarter of a century. It’s a family owned and run business. Tim and Kim Buckland have been producing Arabica coffee since about 1980. They started with just 15 hectares of coffee orchards, building their own roaster and developing their signature roasting technique over the years. Their coffee has now become a house-hold name. They supply lodges, shops, restaurants and individuals with their popular bushveld blend, dark and medium roast coffees and espresso. They’ll even post it directly to you.
Today though, people not only want to drink and enjoy their coffee; they want to know how it’s made. To cater for this, visitors to Sabie Valley Coffee can go a coffee tours. During the course of the tour, Tim will explain a bit about the history and business of making coffee, as well as the history of the farm and its day-to-day operations.
You’ll learn about growing the plants and harvesting the beans as well as the more than 1500 chemical processes that take place during roasting, a delicate process that breaks down the starches in the beans and releases oils like caffeol, which is largely responsible for coffee’s aroma and flavour. You’ll get to see Tim or Kim roast a batch of fresh beans and hear about how soil and climate can influence the taste of your coffee. You’ll finish the tour by tasting some of the coffee at the Espresso bar – it’s impossible to resist.
Tours are every Wednesday at 2pm and you need to book in advance. You’ll generally find Kim and Tim round and about about on the other days of the week too, happy to chat and answer your questions. Even if you skip the tour, this is a worthwhile stop for a lazy lunch or a long, lingering coffee along the beautiful banks of the Sabie River and when you leave, you’ll be planning on coming back for more.