The Bootleggers ethos, its about who you know and how much you care

The Bootleggers ethos, its about who you know and how much you care

A brand that started with the desire for a cup of good coffee after an early morning cycle has turned into a franchise dedicated to pleasure through perfection, to sustainability through good ethical and fair price practices – making sure that their customers who range from seasoned professionals to avid cyclists – share their passion and come back for more.

Seeking coffee after their morning cycle, and no coffee shops open at that hour, Pieter Bloom, De Waal, and Antonie Basson, who have been friends since their high school days in Franschhoek, decided to start their own coffee shop that would be open at 6h30 so that they could have coffee after their rides.

Pieter’s love for coffee put the wheels in motion when he started roasting coffee on a Giesen roaster in Riviersonderend in 2012. At that time, the sidewalks of Cape Town had already seen its fair share of bespoke coffee shops and magical baristas. It was going to be tough to stand out and gain market share in such a competitive coffee culture. That’s when the signature Bootlegger Roast was brought to life and in November 2013 the first store was opened in bustling Sea Point’s Regent Road where their signature roast was served to the local market. Six years later, Bootlegger now spans 18 stores and roasts 90 – 100 tons of its beans per year.

Environmental Efforts

Bootleggers, who source their coffee beans from Guatemala, Costa Rica and Tanzania are the only coffee company in South Africa that is pushing towards getting a 100% Rainforest Alliance (RFA) certified coffee blend by the end of 2019. Currently, 33% of their coffee is RFA certified which ensures coffee farmers get paid a fair price for the raw coffee they purchase and in return, pay their employees a fair wage. A percentage of the premium they pay on their raw coffee goes to ensuring the sustainability of rainforests in those countries.

Passionate about environmental issues, the Bootleggers philosophy is organic, real and solid and the group has introduced extensive measures to reduce their impact on the environment. They are one of the first restaurants to be fully Ocean Pledged Certified adhering to a strict set of environmental rules regarding material use in-store and for takeaways, food options, and alternatives as well as being water-wise.

  • Their takeaway coffee cups are locally sourced, made from paper and are 100% biodegradable and compostable
  • Unlike other takeaway coffee cups who use plastic, their inside liner is made from corn starch and is thus 100% plant-based.
  • Their lids are made from recycled plastic. They implemented a #refusethelid initiative in 2017 which caused a drastic decline in their lid procurement amounts.
  • In 2016 they launched a branded dash cup to promote and incentivize the use of reusable mugs.
  • A large percentage of their used coffee grounds are supplied to Wurmbosch to create compost that is used again in good farming practices. Coffee chaff from the roasting process is supplied to a company that produces environmentally friendly fire-lighters (Blitz) which are sold throughout South Africa.
  • They encourage clients to return all of the used Bootleggers pods to any of their stores which they then have recycled.
  • No expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam (aka Styrofoam) is used in-store or for take-aways and no plastic bags are offered for take-aways. They use branded brown paper bags.
  • Only reusable tableware is used in-house, and take-away containers are made of paper, while take-away cutlery is made of corn starch.
  • Only Bio-Degradable paper straws are used in their stores to reduce the impact plastic has on the environment. They also implemented a #refusethestraw initiative in 2017.

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