Another quirky coffee experience while in Durban started with us following the GPS into an industrial section of town. We stopped the car outside an old 1930’s factory building and walked the stairs up to the first floor and location of the Colombo Coffee Roastery. Inside, with all the working equipment is a large industrial space that doubles as a music venue and has even hosted a few weddings. We stopped for breakfast at their in-house coffee bar, the Factory Cafe.
Afterwards I read a bit more about the history of the place. It started with a man called James Brown Richardson, an Australian who moved to South Africa early in the 1910’s. He was employed by Thornton Tea and Coffee, but during his service in WW1, the company went under and on his return he opened his own shop in Johannesburg in 1917, providing tea and coffee to the miners. But during the Rand rebellion and the strikes by the miners, he was forced to pack up. He moved to Durban and established the Colombo Tea Agency with his son in 1923.
Now many, many years later, Colombo Coffee can still be tasted in many of Durban’s coffee shops.