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Our Approach To The Coronavirus

Update from Tuesday, September 8th

Dear coffee lovers,

It's been almost 6 months since I decided to start getting the CCB Team to work from home, shortly before the lockdown was announced. So much has happened since then. We faced the inability to operate for some time. We then had the much more pleasant challenge of figuring out how to keep up after re-opening. It's been an eventful time but I feel grateful to say that both our business and our team have emerged stronger. Perhaps most importantly, we're now seeing a decline in the South African numbers. While I can't claim to know what the future holds on that front, it brings me great relief to see things getting a little better.

We're facing lots of new challenges nonetheless, including skyrocketing prices due to a tumbling Rand, supply chain issues due to strained European & Chinese manufacturing, and the ongoing logistical challenge of operating a business in a new environment. Still, these are all problems that we are eager to tackle. I think I speak for the whole team when I say that we're just thrilled to have made it through this period of time as we have.

I am always conscious that there are many people and businesses that have faired worse though. Many of our partners and suppliers have had a much more challenging time as a result of lockdown regulations. I sincerely hope that everyone will see better times ahead.

In the meantime, we continue to focus on doing the best job that we can, as safely as we can. We are maintaining most of the measures that I described in detail below, taking appropriate safety precautions for the benefit of our team, our customers and our suppliers.

Thank you once again to everyone for the support during the most challenging times, which thankfully seem to be behind us. As always, the whole team is excited to continue to serve all your coffee needs.

Happy  brewing!

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Monday, June 22nd - CCBHQ is open!

Dear coffee lovers,

As regulations continue to be relaxed in South Africa, we're pleased to announce that CCBHQ is now open to customers again. You can place orders online for collection, and you can also come to shop in store, although we'd encourage you to shop online instead if you're able to do so.

We are acutely aware that the pandemic is still here, and we want to do our best to protect our employees, customers, suppliers and other members of our community, as well as our business, against any avoidable risks. As such, we've implemented some rules for visitors:

  • Visitors must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose
  • Visitors must maintain a distance of 1.5M+ from any other person including our staff
  • We are only allowing three customers in the store at a time
  • We're asking everyone to sanitise their hands when entering the store
  • If you are collecting your order, please have your order number ready to quote to the team (you won't be asked to sign)
  • We would ask that you do not visit if you have any symptoms of illness
  • If you’re able to do so, we would encourage you to shop online!

We continue to follow the latest guidance for health & safety at our workplace. We are also screening our employees every morning when they arrive at work and keeping some members of the team working from home to avoid too many people in the space.

Ordering online and courier deliveries are operating as usual, aside from the occasional delay due to strained supply chains and logistics partners.

We are incredibly grateful for the support of our community. Thank you for being our customers and seeing us through this challenging time!

Happy  brewing!

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Friday, May 29th - We're sticking to online only for now

Dear coffee lovers,

The last two weeks have been quite an experience. We've gone from unable to fully operate to incredibly busy, quite literally overnight. For the first time in our history, we had a serious backlog of orders to clear, and a mountain of customer requests to respond to. We feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have those types of challenges to tackle.

I'm proud to say that the team pulled together and pushed hard; the backlog is now cleared and we're back to something like business as usual. There are continued challenges, like limited stock availability, slower logistics and the challenges that come with most of the team working remotely, but we're incredibly happy to take those on.

Going forward, we will be trying to dispatch more quickly, and respond to all requests in a timely manner. Having said that, because of reduced roasting schedules, we still expect to do coffee dispatches on a Tuesday and Friday for orders placed by 8AM the day before. Please do allow a bit longer for orders that include beans.

We continue to try to operate in as safe a manner as possible. Only two people are at CCBHQ by default. We screen for symptoms every day, and we're taking the best available guidance on social distancing, mask wearing, disinfecting and contactless interactions with our couriers.

As of Monday, June 1st, it is technically legal for us to open our store, but I have taken the decision not to do this just yet. I am acutely aware that Cape Town has become a hotspot, and it is much more difficult for us to control transmission risks when there are couriers, customers and staff members coming and going. I feel confident that we can serve everyone via our website and courier deliveries and would ask our local supporters to use those channels and bear with us while I continue to assess the situation. I will definitely revisit this decision frequently, but for now it's online orders for courier delivery only. Our HQ is closed to the public for the time being.

I want to thank our community once again for the incredible support. A month ago I was very worried about our future, but things are looking much better since the eCommerce restrictions were lifted. Whatever the future holds, we're thrilled to be able to continue to serve all your coffee needs.

Happy (home) brewing!

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Thursday, May 14th - We are back to dispatching everything!

Dear coffee lovers,

It is with great relief and more than a bit of emotion that I can announce today that we are now legally allowed to dispatch our full range of products! Government Gazette Number 11113 published this afternoon confirms that eCommerce businesses are no longer restricted in what they can sell, other than cigarettes and alcohol, but who needs those when you have coffee?!

The short version is that you can now place any order you would like. If you've made a pre-order, you can be assured that we will dispatch your order as soon as possible. We do have a backlog of orders to pack and send with the couriers, so please do give us up to 1 week to clear it. We have been preparing for this announcement and we have put several safety measures in place. Customers are now also required to wear masks while receiving orders. Please feel free to read on if you'd like more details.

Dispatch of orders already placed

If you placed an order already that we were not able to legally dispatch, please be assured that we are going to do our best to get your order out as soon as possible. We do unfortunately have a backlog of orders to send, and we will tackle them from oldest to newest starting tomorrow (Friday, May 15th). We anticipate it may take us up to 1 week to fully clear the backlog. If you're waiting for an order, we appreciate your patience for just a few more days. You will have it soon!

Dispatch of new orders - equipment

You should now feel free to place any new orders you would like to, but for the next few days, please do allow up to 1 week for dispatch as we address our backlog. We appreciate your patience and will do our best to get you your items soon.

Dispatch of new orders - coffee beans

We will be continuing our twice per week dispatch schedule for coffee bean orders. This is mainly based on our partners' current roasting schedules, as most of them are still operating at a limited capacity. We will try give priority to dispatching these orders as they are perishable. We will also do our best to make sure all coffee beans are less than 2 weeks from roast at the day of dispatch.

Coffee bean dispatches are scheduled for Tuesday and Fridays, with the order cut-off being 8AM the day before. In other words, orders placed by 8AM Monday should dispatch Tuesday, and orders placed by 8AM Thursday will dispatch Friday.

Health & safety measures for us

As we are a company of less than 10 people, the government's regulations that apply to us are less stringent than those for larger companies, but we have already chosen to put in place stricter controls to protect our team and our customers. As of right now, these include:

  • Only one person working in the office to pack orders by default
  • No more than three members of staff in the office at any one time
  • Contactless delivery by couriers
  • Contactless dispatch to the couriers
  • We only work with courier partners who have their own strict hygiene and safety protocols in place
  • We are regularly cleaning and sanitising surfaces
  • Staff members arriving at the office complete a safety screening questionnaire including taking their temperature with a contactless thermometer and reporting on any symptoms every day
  • All staff members are wearing masks supplied by the company
  • Most staff members are working remotely from home
  • Our physical store remains closed to the public
  • All meetings are carried out remotely

Health & safety measures for you

The new regulations actually specify certain requirements for the recipients of orders as well:

  • It is now required by law that you wear a mask while receiving your Cape Coffee Beans package (or any other delivery).
  • Please also ensure you maintain at least 1.5m distance from the courier delivering. 
  • Do not physically sign for any packages. Tell the courier your name and allow them to sign for you.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling any package received

We also recommend that you take a few additional steps as an extra precaution:

  • Consider leaving your items aside for 24-48 hours if it has been less than 48 hours since dispatch
  • Use a soap-based cleaning product on any items that are washable
  • You can wipe the outside of aluminium coffee bags with an alcohol-based disinfectant (at least 70% alcohol)

Last but not least - thank you!

I can't even begin to tell you what an important milestone this feels like for Cape Coffee Beans, but I know we've made it through the restrictions thanks to the support of our customers and community. You placed pre-orders. You bought gift vouchers. You helped to see us through. We are eternally grateful for that support, and we're looking forward to serving all of your coffee needs again, during lockdown and beyond!

Happy (home) brewing!

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Tuesday, May 1st - We are now also dispatching spare parts and other cleaning supplies

Dear coffee lovers,

Please refer to the previous update from April 28th below for details of our upcoming dispatches, as well as allowed products during Level 4. This update is just to let you know that after the publication of the final Level 4 Lockdown Regulations, I have taken note of the addition of "Hardware, components and supplies" to the permitted goods. I believe we can interpret that to include spare parts for coffee equipment and so these have been added to the list of items that we can dispatch.

This seems to be a moving target, and I will keeping a close eye on the rules, to ensure that we are dispatching everything that we are legally allowed to. There does seem to be an aim to open up more broadly for eCommerce, so we are hoping we may be back in full swing soon.

Stay safe, stay healthy, #brewathome & #supportlocalbusiness.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Tuesday, April 28th - We are now dispatching filters as well as beans

Dear coffee lovers,

I have been monitoring the developments with regards to the South African lockdown with great interest in the hopes that we, and other players able to sell online would be allowed to operate in full again soon. Unfortunately, based on the current regulations, it appears that we will only be able to resume full online operations and dispatch all types of products when we reach Level 3. As we are currently at Level 4, we are still operating under restrictions.

The Level 4 regulations do provide for the dispatch of cleaning products and chemicals, and as such, we will start dispatching orders that include chemical coffee cleaning products from Monday, May 4th. I would ask that wherever possible, that you combine these orders with orders for coffee beans. We will also continue to dispatch coffee filters, since those are allowed, even at Level 5, as ancillary products within the food category.

In summary, we can dispatch the following from May 4:

We've created a collection page for all the items that we can currently dispatch other than coffee beans to make things a bit easier.

We are still accepting pre-orders for all other items, and hope to be able to dispatch them soon. As our revenue is severely impacted by the restrictions, we would be grateful for any and all pre-orders made. Any orders including items other than those allowed will be dispatched as soon as the restrictions allow it. We also will continue our discounted gift voucher promotion, which allows you to get a discount on future purchases while helping our cash flow.

We will continue offering multiple dispatches per week from next week. At this stage we anticipate dispatching as follows:

  • Orders placed before Monday, May 4th 8AM should be dispatched on Tuesday, May 5th.
  • Orders placed before Thursday, May 7th 8AM should be dispatched on Friday, May 8th.
  • Orders placed before Monday, May 11th 8AM should be dispatched on Tuesday, May 12th.
  • Orders placed before Thursday, May 14th 8AM should be dispatched on Friday, May 15th.

Thank you for your continued support. Here's to hoping that we will be back at full online operation again soon. Until then...

Stay safe, stay healthy, #brewathome & #supportlocalbusiness.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Wednesday, April 20th - We are now dispatching filters as well as beans

Dear coffee lovers,

This is just a short update to let you know that we are now dispatching paper coffee filters. Other than that, everything is as described in our last update.

For those interested in the reasons for this development, The Disaster Management Act refers to "ancillary products used in the production of any food product" as an essential good in Annexure B, Section A1. We understand this to include coffee filters, and knowing that many coffee lovers have now been on lockdown for almost a month and may be running out, we want to make these available for purchase.

I would encourage and ask you to combine your filter orders with coffee bean orders wherever possible, and we will happily dispatch orders including those items for as long as lockdown continues.

Stay safe, stay healthy, #brewathome & #supportlocalbusiness.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Wednesday, April 15th - The lockdown has been extended but we will continue to dispatch coffee orders

Dear coffee lovers,

The lockdown has been extended so we will continue to dispatch coffee orders. If you'd like to know more about why we're doing this, please feel free to read the previous update (below).

Not much has changed about how we will be approaching this, except that we are making provision for one extra dispatch. As of right now, order cut-offs and dispatch days are as follows:

  • Orders placed before Friday, April 17th 8AM will be dispatched on Monday, April 20th.
  • Orders placed before Tuesday, April 21st 8AM will be dispatched on Wednesday, April 22nd.
  • Orders placed before Friday, April 24th 8AM will be dispatched on Tuesday, April 28th.
  • Orders placed before Tuesday, April 28th 8AM, will be dispatched on Wednesday, April 29th

We will continue to monitor the situation and schedule additional dispatches as required. In short, you should feel free to place your order for fresh beans, and we will dispatch them to you within a few days!

Any orders you place will go a long way towards supporting us and our roasting partners. Each one will be sincerely appreciated!

A few important notes still apply:

  • Only orders for coffee beans with nothing else included will be dispatched. All orders containing equipment, accessories or any item other than coffee will be dispatched after lockdown. This is based on our best understanding of what is legal per the current regulations.
  • We will mark the coffees available for purchase as in stock on our website. Some may be marked out of stock either because no stock is available or because our roasters will not be roasting them during lockdown.
  • Please expect that there may be some delays due to couriers operating at limited capacity

I would like to thank everyone that has supported us and our roasting partners by placing orders so far. We really appreciate it and feel privileged to be able to serve you during these difficult times.

Stay safe, stay healthy, #brewathome & #supportlocalbusiness.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Friday, April 3rd - We are now dispatching coffee orders during lockdown

Dear coffee lovers,

The last week has been quite surreal for the CCB Team, as I'm sure it's been for you. While we've taken the opportunity to get set up from home and find other projects to work on, I have also been trying to figure out if we can and should dispatch coffee bean orders during the lockdown. It is not a decision I've taken lightly, which is part of the reason I've taken a week to make it, but I have decided that we will do one coffee dispatch per week going forward. This is the best answer I can come up with to balance the legal, ethical, economic and personal safety considerations at play. If you'd like to read more about my reasoning, please feel free to read on, but first, please let me summarise our approach:

Any orders you place will go a long way towards supporting us and our roasting partners. Each one will be sincerely appreciated!

How we will dispatch coffee orders during lockdown:

  • We will only dispatch once per week
  • Orders must be placed by 8AM on the first working day of the week
  • Orders will then be dispatched within 2 working days of that
  • Only orders for coffee beans with nothing else included will be dispatched. All orders containing equipment, accessories or any item other than coffee will be dispatched after lockdown.
  • We will mark the coffees available for purchase as in stock on our website. Some may be marked out of stock either because no stock is available or because our roasters will not be roasting them during lockdown.
  • Please expect that there may be some delays due to couriers operating at limited capacity

Why are we dispatching during lockdown?

As coffee is a beverage, it falls under the essential goods category of the lockdown regulations (Regulation 11A, Annexure B, Section A1). This does appear to make it legal to sell coffee. I have attempted many times to get confirmation of this interpretation from the DTIC but haven't been able to get a response in writing. One person I spoke to on the phone did support the interpretation however. We also have been issued with a CIPC certificate as an essential service provider. While I feel confident that this addresses the legal question, I personally don't feel that is the only important part.

The other things I have had to consider are the potential economic impact on my team, whose salaries I want to be able to pay later in April, the economic impact on our coffee roasting partners who are in a much more difficult position than we are, as well as the public and personal health risks associated with operations during the lockdown. The last thing I want to do is put anyone individual at risk, nor to contribute to the impact of this pandemic on our society.

Factoring all these things in, I've come to the conclusion that doing one dispatch per week, with only one member of staff working in the office to pack the orders seems like a reasonable approach. That team member will engage in no physical contact with anybody delivering or collecting orders, and will take the necessary precautions based on public guidelines. The rest of the team will only work from home. The couriers we use will only be couriers that were already operating during the lockdown. We will also not open the store to any potential buyers or visitors, because that is much more difficult to control.

I imagine that some may consider this approach overly cautious and that others may disapprove of CCB operating at all. I believe it's the best compromise, and I hope that our community will support us.

With all that said, I would be happy to answer any questions that anyone has about any of this, and I wish you, your families and your loved ones a safe, healthy and hopefully well-caffeinated lockdown period.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Friday, March 27th, 12:30

Dear coffee lovers,

We are now on lockdown with the rest of South Africa. Our physical store is closed, and we are not able to dispatch any orders until the lockdown is over. We are online though and would love to hear from you. You can chat to us, email us, call us or find us on social media channels. If you'd like to place an order during the lockdown, you are welcome to, and we would be grateful for the support. We will dispatch your order as soon as the lockdown is over.

Thank you for your support in the last few days and over the last few years. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay isolated & brew at home. We'll be doing the same.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Wednesday, March 25th, 13:00

Dear coffee lovers,

I hope that your preparations for the lockdown are coming along well. We have had quite a crazy 24 hours at CCB, dispatching more than twice as many orders in a single day as we ever have before!

I'm writing to let you know that any new orders placed online may not make it before lockdown. We are not entirely sure if couriers will be allowed to complete deliveries dispatched on Thursday, but we'd like to err on the side of caution in this regard.

If you have already placed an order and it has not arrived yet, we feel quite confident that it should still reach you. We will be following up and checking on every dispatch over the next 24 hours and corresponding with the couriers to troubleshoot any issues.

If you feel like taking the risk and would like to place a new order online and have us dispatch it tomorrow (Thursday), in the hopes that it will still be delivered after the lockdown, you are welcome to, but please understand that we cannot accept responsibility if it does not make it to you in time. If you want to try this option, please make sure to include an order note to this effect.

For those in Cape Town, we will be open 9 to 5 on Thursday for in person shopping and order collections, though stock may be somewhat limited. Nevertheless, we will have plenty of options.

Thank you again for your support. Stay safe. Stay healthy. #brewathome

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Tuesday, March 24th, 10:45

Dear coffee lovers,

I want to keep you informed of what  we're anticipating here at CCB.

While we have not been able to specifically confirm this (details have not yet been published), we are being led to believe that we will have to shut completely during the lockdown, including online orders.

At this stage, this does not pose a concern for any orders placed today up until 12:00. Thereafter, any orders placed must be put on Express Delivery to make it by Thursday to main centres. Outside of main centres, it will be less likely the orders will arrive if dispatched tomorrow.

Unfortunately this means that we will probably not be able to dispatch any new orders on Thursday, as they may not make it to you. However, we will be taking orders for collection and selling in store.

Thank you for your support. Happy (home) brewing over the next 3 weeks!

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from Tuesday, March 24th, 07:15

Dear coffee lovers,

I've been up since 3:30 this morning (thank goodness for coffee) trying to get my head around the implications of the President's Speech last night. As I'm sure you are, I am worried for those close to me and for society at large.

I am also trying to figure out exactly what this will mean for our operation before and after the lock down starts. As of right now, I'm inferring that we will not be able to operate after lock down, but we will be definitely be operating through Thursday.

While I can't say this for certain just yet, I also do believe that orders we dispatch through Thursday will still be delivered by our couriers, even if that happens after the lockdown begins, and I will do my best to confirm that as soon as I can this today.

Nevertheless, planning for worst, I would highly encourage you to place your orders as soon as you can, and if you live outside the Western Cape, please choose the Express Delivery option if you can afford it. We have three full working days, and we had already started stocking up as much as we could in anticipation of such an issue.

We still have time to source more beans from our roasters to fulfil your orders, and we have stocked up significantly on equipment. If anything isn't available, it has been marked out of stock on the site. Should you order anything that we can't dispatch for any reason (though this is unlikely), we will of course inform you, and refund you if we can't find a substitute. The team's priority will be dealing with orders today.

The store in Claremont will be open every day until lockdown. Please do visit, but please maintain a safe distance and follow the public guidelines on how to minimise the risk of virus spread.

We're committed to making sure that you have the coffee supplies that you need during the lockdown, and I'm sure you realise that with what's ahead, we could use your support right now. We will be very grateful for every order placed.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

Update from March 20th

Dear coffee lovers,

There’s no question that we’re at the beginning of a very uncertain time with the arrival of the Novel Coronavirus in South Africa. Like everyone else, I have been watching the news, trying to figure out what it means for my family, my team, our business, and our community. Clearly, we need to take this situation seriously, and I’m doing my best to find ways to address the immediate health risks, the broader public health risks, as well as the economic risks, specifically to the people whose livelihoods depend on what we do.

While I can’t claim to be completely confident of the right path forward, given all these variables to consider, we have put in place a few measures which I believe should help, which you’ll find outlined below.

The short version

Here is a basic summary of what we’re doing at CCB:

  • For the time being, business continues as usual:
    • The store is open
    • Online orders continue as normal
    • Order dispatches continue as usual
  • But we are taking certain precautions:
    • Most of the team is working from home
    • We’re regularly sanitising our space, following public guidelines
    • We’re finding ways to minimise physical contact and proximity to our customers, couriers & suppliers when we interact with them
    • Our couriers are taking further precautions in handling of customer packages

If you’d like more clarity on what we’re doing, please feel free to read the more detailed information below.

The team at CCBHQ

I’ve asked 4 of the 7 team members, who don’t necessarily need to be in the office, to work from home. I and two other members of the team, whose physical presence is required for their work, will be at CCBHQ.

My hypothesis here is that permanently splitting the team will be the best way to achieve social distancing in the long run, while still continuing to operate. If anyone who is working in the store shows any infection symptoms, all of us can move to working from home, and those who were at home can come in and take over.

The people who are at home have also been asked to minimise their social contact to whatever extent possible.

Visitors to CCBHQ

For the time being, I am keeping our store open, but I would certainly encourage everyone to use our online channel if they are able to. To keep everyone as safe as possible, we’re doing a few things:

  • We’re trying to minimise physical contact and keep a safe distance from everyone that visits. This includes:
    • Not shaking hands
    • Allowing people to use our Yoco card machines independently
    • Allowing people to sign for their own orders
    • Allowing our couriers to pick up packages without physically interacting with our team
    • Not sharing pens and not signing on digital devices
  • We’re following the best advice we can find in terms of sanitising our space regularly including:
    • Using high alcohol hand sanitiser
    • Washing hands after handling goods and dealing with outside visitors
    • Regularly cleaning our surfaces and any objects that people need to handle
  • We’re minimising in person meetings at CCBHQ and unnecessary physical proximity

Online orders & deliveries

Our courier partners have been quick to act, implementing many measures to protect their drivers and avoid them contributing to the spread of the virus. We are avoiding all physical contact between couriers and our team. When the couriers come to collect, they pick up the boxes independently and load them into the vehicles.

The members of our team receiving stock and packing orders are also regularly cleaning the surfaces used and washing their hands periodically.

Other measures

We’ve cancelled planned offsite meetings with suppliers and customers, moving them to digital platforms when we can. We’ve also put a hold on scheduling any client site training for the time being.

We’ve cancelled our weekly cuppings, and we’ve stocked up on paper disposable cups for visitors to use.

We’ve also cancelled our cleaning service for the time being and will be sharing that work between the team members that need to be onsite anyway.

What’s next?

In truth, I have no idea. Much will depend on how the situation evolves here in South Africa. I intend to follow public guidelines, and if it becomes necessary to shut the store, I will. My hope is that we’ll be able to continue to operate online one way or another.

We may have sourcing or logistical issues in the future, but for the time being, I’m relieved to say that most things are on track.

We’ll do our best to keep everyone in our community apprised of any changes in our operations. In the meantime, I hope everyone stays safe, stays healthy, stays relatively isolated and continues to enjoy some good coffee, wherever that might be happening.

Best regards,

Founder of Cape Coffee Beans

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