Ard Matthews, solo artist and lead singer of Just Jinjer, owns supercool coffee shop, iwantmycoffee, complete with its own radio station, on Umhlanga Ridge
By Tracy Gielink
Opening a coffee shop was very impulsive. My girlfriend Deborah Good and I went from concept to open doors in less than six months. I had nothing to do with the design other than the studio window – Deborah has an amazing eye and visualised everything in one go. She had a very clear idea and we encouraged each other to stick to it.
iwantmycoffee came before the radio station. My solo album wasn’t as well received at mainstream radio as I would have liked – that’s life; no sour grapes! But it did contribute slightly to me wanting a radio station of my own. It’s an online station. You can tune in from any browser or from a free app called TuneIn Radio. The motto is to only play good music; no top 40 ever. We play full albums at a time, the way it was originally intended by the artists. It’s all about character, good music and mainly fun!
Our coffee blend is The Bluff Bru. Before we had a shop of our own we used to drive across town to get the coffee we loved at Bean Green (roastery and coffee shop) in Glenwood. The owner, Peter Winter, is a Bluff guy like me and the blend he roasts himself is award-winning. What more was there? It was a no-brainer. I enjoy a good, specialised cup of coffee but I’m not a snob. I’ll just as easily enjoy an instant coffee around a campside fireplace with long-life milk if need be.
You actually have to see our sandwiches to appreciate them. They had to be way thicker than the average supermarket pre-packed wedges, and had to use the freshest possible ingredients – and lots of them. We do a sandwich happy hour between 4 and 5pm where all the sarmies are half-price – we don’t keep them for the next day. We also make fresh muffins and pastries.
My first food memory must be my mom’s spag bol. It’s also my ultimate comfort food. I don’t cook as much as I’d like to, but I definitely dominate a spag bol. And my rock salt rump braais have been known to bring a tear to a glass eye! I would be really bleak if all braai options were eliminated from my life.
The most evocative food smell… Hmmm, the smell of prawns being cooked in garlic or lemon butter is something I love.
We serve the racemosa coffee bean, which is only found growing wild in the coastal forests north of Lake St Lucia and up into Mozambique. It’s so low in caffeine we can call it caffeine-free. We randomly happened upon the unique story of this naturally occurring decaf bean through a friend of ours and – even more randomly – managed to secure a unique partnership with them. As far as I know, we’re the only people who serve the pure bean as a decaf option.
5 Park Lane, Parkside, Umhlanga Drive, Umhlanga. Call 076 366 8390. iwantmycoffee