Coffee culture takes flight in Mauritius

Tuesday, 6 February, 2024

Words by Kate Burnett

Images supplied by KIND Coffee, unless otherwise stated.

The Le Morne ocean system that makes it one of the most sought after kitesurfing destinations in the world. Photo by Xavier Coiffic on Unsplash

Mauritius has long been a holiday destination for people around the world. The island is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It offers many all-inclusive resort experiences and with the exceptional weather and stunning water, it boasts countless activities for tourists and locals. But you’re here, reading the Coffee Magazine, so what’s worth the trip for the coffee lovers in Mauritius?

Well, things are evolving! For South Africans, the recognisable red of vida e caffe can be found in the capital of Port Louis. But there are also a couple of specialty coffee shops on the island that have made valuable inroads in developing a coffee culture around flavour, chief among them is KIND Coffee. They have launched with the mission of “bringing a different approach to coffee in Mauritius. Making it not just about the cup of coffee, but the full experience from the moment someone walks through the door, the knowledge of the barista, the cup itself and the community we hope to provide for permanent residents and tourists alike”, says owner Taylor Holl.

Taylor Holl and Willow-River Tonkin are the two Mauritian locals who have started KIND Coffee. Willow owns and operates Willow Surf Center, a kiteboarding school in Le Morne, one of the holy-grail destinations for kiteboarders worldwide. Willow and Taylor have been hosting tourists from all over the world for years and couldn’t help but notice something they all asked, “where can we get a great coffee?”, which was always followed by trips home from the beach for a brew. 

A couple of kilometers up the road from Willow Surf Center, KIND Coffee was opened on the 2nd of December 2023. The café is in La Gaulette, on the southern coast of the island. KIND serves high-quality single origin coffees roasted in South Africa by Bluebird Coffee Roastery as well as having a filter coffee bar where they brew coffees on an April Brewer. The team have hit the ground running and the island has responded with excitement and support. Not to mention, the team no longer have to drive home for a coffee after surfing.

Starting a coffee shop in Mauritius isn’t quite the tropical dream you might imagine. There is very limited access to many fresh products, one of the most prominent being dairy products. “There is not much livestock on the island of Mauritius, especially in terms of dairy cows. With the amount of milk drinks, we serve at KIND, we had to look at alternative options. We worked hard to find the best milk available locally, an imported UHT product, using techniques to get the best out of the product that was available.”

Additionally, taking the lead into a niche market is daunting. Taylor notes that “the most challenging thing about opening KIND was taking an idea based on a passion and turning it into something tangible. Opening in a place that is very limited in ‘café culture’ posed a risk that there was a limited demand for a coffee shop like KIND in this area.”

Taylor and Willow have an uncompromising vision of what they want KIND Coffee to be, “we hope that by opening KIND we are inspiring the next generation of coffee lovers to bring their ideas to the island. Or, that we can inspire through our coffee Mauritians to explore their own coffee journey by bringing excellent coffee to their island.” The idea is that as soon as you walk into the shop, you feel that you are about to have an exceptional experience, not only with the coffee in the cup but the dedication of the baristas, the customer service and the evident community that is paralleled in the island culture. 

“Until recently, there wasn't much of a culture on the island at all, other local places have been showing locals a different way to experience coffee than they are used to. At KIND, we want to grow that experience even further.” 

It is a café that should be on anyone’s hit list when visiting the island. They have invested heavily in their equipment and barista training, in line with their mission of excellence in every part of the KIND experience.

KIND Coffee is open from 08:00 to 16:00 from Monday to Friday and 07:00 to 16:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. 

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