JOBURG FOR INTROVERTS is a guide for those of us who hate crowds, and who just want to find a quiet spot and be left alone (if you’re looking for a ‘vaaibe’, you won’t find it here). This is a guide dedicated to My People, the introverts of Joburg. Next to feature is a real hidden coffee spot called Hello Love in Waverley… introverts, enjoy!
Hello Love is a tiny cafe that most people have never heard of. I only know of it because of an Instagram account called @jozicoffeespots (follow this account immediately if you like coffee, and you live in Joburg). Hello Love was featured on @jozicoffeespots a while back and it piqued my interest because it was described as “a little coffee shop on a quiet Street in Waverley”.
You had me at “quiet”.
Hello Love is around the corner from the Waverley shul, and below a block of flats. Framed by palm fronds, it’s wedged between a shoe repair shop and an equally unknown Italian joint. It’s the kind of place that’s a little easy to miss, as it’s on a side street with limited parking.
The first time I went to Hello Love was on a Friday afternoon, around 3pm. The parking was full and I almost didn’t go in, as it looked a bit too busy for my introvert liking. But I decided to give it a chance as the background music was inoffensive and the atmosphere wasn’t frenetic. I ordered a toasted chicken mayo bagel at the counter called ‘The India’ (R45): bagels feature prominently on the menu (you get the choice of health, sesame, plain or poppy), and it’s a kosher set-up.
I sat outside at a tiny table with a low, wooden stool. It was the perfect size for me but it should be noted that I’m practically a midget. There are a couple of small tables outside on the pavement, which is peaceful as no one hassles you (there aren’t many passers-by because of the side street thing). Also, because it has an order/collect system at the counter, if you sit down someone will bring you your food, but they won’t bother you after that. There are a few additional tables (higher ones with bar-stool type chairs that overlook the street), a couple of larger wooden tables inside, and a really cool couch. The tables are a bit close together but for some reason it didn’t bother me; I just eavesdropped a lot.
My following visit was early: 7am on a Tuesday. The only other people were a group of women in running gear at a table, as well as two businessman-types who got coffee to-go. This time I ordered a regular Americano (R24) and sat semi-inside, at a table facing the street. I felt at ease: there was no music, and the only major sounds were birds chirping from a nearby park, and the hum of the M1 highway. It took a while for my coffee to arrive but I wasn’t in a rush. According to their Instagram bio they have fast Wi-Fi, but I always feel like it’s a massive imposition to ask for a password (am I the only one who has this issue? Is this an introvert thing? Let’s talk about this). The menu has a bunch of interesting/weird latte options, like charcoal, matcha, beetroot, and turmeric. There also seems to be a strong health focus, as you’ll find smoothies and juices, as well as heinous things like a kombucha raw vinegar shot.
My third visit was on a Saturday morning at around 9:30am. The minuscule parking lot was practically car-free, and there were lots of people walking to the nearby shul (pro-tip: come on a Saturday morning, when most of the neighbourhood seems to observe the sabbath). A UK radio station was on, with Tears for Fears and Toto vibes. The only other person in the cafe was a bald guy, scrolling on his phone and drinking an espresso. By 10am there were more people, but they filtered out again by 10:30am.
I found out that the barista’s name is Lee, but he’s also called “The Beast”. I forgot to ask what coffee they use or who the owner is, but they’ve been open for about a year. I also met Fiso, aka “The General”: a man of few words, but, when pressed, he’ll coyly admit that he’s, in actual fact, the best at what he does, which appears to be taking orders, instead of giving them.
Hello Love is a great little place, and I have a sneaking suspicion I might become a regular…
You can find Hello Love below the block of flats called Zappion Court, 62 Knox Street (on the corner of Knox and Scott streets), Waverley. They’re open Mon – Fri from 6am to 6pm; Sat 8am to 4pm; Sun 8am to 3pm. Call or WhatsApp 071 146 5032 for more info. Find them on Facebook and Instagram.