About Abby Berman

I'm a coffee drinker by choice who has become quite obsessed and immensely interested in learning more about the drink we consume daily. I'm an inquisitive anthropologist who longs to live along the bean belt, pick ripe red coffee cherries, partake in processing, and follow the coffee bean journey. I live to travel, discover new people, become friends with strangers, engage in a conversation about Fair Trade, laugh a lot, admire the world we are part of, the endless possibilities and the cups of coffee with which every journey begins.

one month with you

It’s been one month of having you in my life and it still sometimes doesn’t seem real.

I often think how different life would have been if I still lived in Joburg; still hanging out at my favourite coffee shop with the guys tasting coffee behind the bar, being with friends who i loved and spoke often about my dreams and aspirations, shabbos dinners at my parents with Ed and Matthew and hugs and licks from Harvey underneath the table. Despite it all there was a continuous void that lingered inside me, and for so long I just don’t think I knew what it was or what it meant or represented. The constant chase to be truly ‘happy’ and fulfilled and thinking I was when I really wasn’t, or perhaps only properly realising how unhappy and alone I felt when acknowledging how far down the rabbit hole I actually was.

But, with neither of us knowing it, we are here now, coming from two very different worlds into one new one.

you in your new home.

me, with a new companion.

we’re both learning how to live with each other.

I thought a few months down the line I had filled the void I once experienced in Joburg. I do without a doubt know and feel that I am happy here; so much more content, grateful and at peace, less anxious and stressed; I feel like I am a better version of myself -specially with new friends, new experiences, and finally a work life I appreciate and feel appreciated at. The immense change of environment; the sea air and seaweed smells, mountain trails and South Easterly winds have completely changed my life; but I didn’t know I could feel happier, more content and at peace, grounded and centred, more fulfilled





you showed me how I could be even more grateful, and after so much tsores that there was still place in my heart for someone to make it’s way in. Someone as small as you are has taught me so much about life; moving on from hardships, allowing yourself to shift between experiences and people until being settled in a space where you (hopefully and finally) feel at home, to being strong after your trauma and leaving the past behind you, to no longer cowering when your heart skips a beat as you hear skaters on their boards, cars backfiring or crazies screaming and acting foolish around you. You are strong, and you have taught me how to be stronger and conquer fears, fighting off the night terrors with a husky growl and sneaky cuddle.

It has been one month of early morning bathroom breaks on the promenade, obsessing over how small your teeth are, walking for hours and hours across the Atlantic Seaboard, tagging along for iced americanos and many coffee dates, and an endless amount of reassurance of ‘good girl’ and ‘yes Shoshi’ accrediting how amazing you are and how you’re doing better each and every day.

here’s to one month with you,

the sweetest most precious little lady,

my Shoshi

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that moshi moment 

it’s early in the morning and I’m awake. 
birds are chirping and that rooster is making his morning call. I wonder if mount kili is making her appearance but as I peak through my mosquito net the cloudiness and overcast skies quickly answer my question. 

kids are arriving at the nearby village school. their playground is basically right next to my bedroom window. they’re running into class, their feet slamming into the hard dried up ground after last nights thunderstorm.

they start singing:

their 1,2,3’s
their a,b,c’s 
they get louder 

they laugh 

they scream

their enthusiasm is electric 
moshi was magical 

that cup of coffee

when your first thought of any day is that cup of coffee. 

that one cup which enables you to properly open your eyes, embrace a new day, take it by the horns and conquer anything or anyone. 

that cup of coffee which feeds your soul, comforts, soothes and just nourishes your being. 

that cup of coffee that enlightens you, makes you feel more alive, more awake, so much more apparent in this world and in this day. 

that cup of coffee you share with friends which turns frowns upside down, chitchat into deep meaningful conversations and brings you so much happiness and joy.

that cup of coffee that makes you laugh and smile and forget about those grey days and turns them into bright sunny ones. 

that cup of coffee that just is. 



[ bean to cup magic ] 

amidst all the coffee chaff from the probat roaster, beautiful ground coffee smells from the la marzocco strada, and the hustle and bustle of cafe life at Bean There Coffee Company in Johannesburg, there’s a small bit of magic happening; a coffee tree is slowly growing… 

there’s honestly something truly special and magical watching a coffee tree grow, from the moment white blossoms spring and smell like jasmine, to their cherry development and colour change. magic is everywhere across our coffee chain, we just need to look hard enough to see it… 


in my cup 

Over the last few years I’ve learnt to really appreciate single origin coffee. 

The term ‘single origin’ describes the specific place where coffee comes from. It refers to the specific coffee producing region where the coffee cherries are processed, at a specific coffee washing station in a specific region or place along the ‘bean belt’, a term used to describe the areas around the world in which coffee is grown and produced. By knowing a coffee is ‘single origin’ we as coffee drinkers are able to distinguish that it is not blended with other coffees. It also has certain characteristics and flavours akin to the region of processing and country of origin. 

Single origin, also referred to as one of the best ways to taste a country’s coffee flavour profile. 

This morning I am drinking a coffee produced in Ethiopia from the Sidamo region from the Fero Coffee Cooperative. There are hints of sweet citrus flavours and a smooth rounded body. 

What’s in your cup today? 

International Women (in coffee) Day

Today I’m remembering the amazing women I met last year while in Rwanda and Burundi.

The ladies who are part of a coffee community who are so often neglected and not appreciated. The ones who bear children, look after their homes, cook, clean, go out into the fields and toil for their livelihoods. The ladies who wear brightly coloured kitenge roaming the small villages outside Kigali and ones wearing their igetenge upcountry in Burundi.

The women who early in the morning go out to pick red ripe cherries off their coffee trees. The ones that gently let the cherries slip through their hands into woven baskets before they’re taken to coffee washing stations to be weighed and processed. The ladies who carry their children on their backs, ripe red cherries in bags on their heads while holding up their igetenge’s making their trudge along the roadside look ever so graceful.

Here’s a shout-out to the ladies who sift through coffee parchment while coffee is on drying tables. The ladies who sing together, laugh together, eat lunch together, dance together, create a livelihood together. The ones who look out for each other and form part of their own coffee community.

The women who work hard to bring coffee to us.

I’m honoured to have met these women, I wish one day you could meet them too.

Happy International Women’s Day to the many women in our world wide coffee community.

Female farmers walking in North Burundi

Female farmers walking in North Burundi

moody yet magical monday..

it’s currently pouring with rain, one thing I seem to love/hate about summertime in Joburg… Today’s rain fits Monday perfectly. I always seem to get excited that it’s the start to a new week, it means new possibilities and exciting times ahead, but today not so much. I’m not quite sure we’re there yet, exploring my emotional side with you all, but in some ways I’ve needed to resort to writing on this gloomy Monday, I guess also since this blog is in part about me sharing myself with you here it goes…

Today was rough in more ways than one. It’s never nice waking up to bad news and I guess waking up to bad news on a Monday could even be worse right? The way it sets you back for the week; making Monday feel like forever and Friday feel so far away. Monday traffic is the worst, it’s like somehow people forget how to drive on the weekend!

Despite all of this a few things made Monday magical: coffee and friends and comfort zones. Coffee for one; because no matter what kind of day you’re having, no matter the weather or the mood you’re in, your cup of coffee just understands! The first sip (whether you burn your tongue or leave your cup to cool for too long), always just somehow replenishes something that’s been missing. It hits that spot, that void and just fills Monday with a little bit of magic. Todays cup of coffee sponsored by one of my favorite baristas – Simphiwe – was made with a great big smile, a few chuckles and an amazing single shot of coffee from the DR Congo. My second dose of magic came from people who are able to make me laugh daily, who I share multiple cups of coffee with and no matter what day of the week, are able to truly make magic happen. Friends are the best people to share a cup of coffee with, multiple cups of coffee with in fact! Today was no difference. I cherish the easiness I have being able to talk and share things with friends when we drink coffee together, specially my dear friend Cuth. We share many cups of coffee together, chat endlessly and laugh a lot. Cuth your wisdom and coffee knowledge and eagerness to always listen to my long long stories (today specifically) was (and always is) totally appreciated. What is it that this cup of coffee plays in friendship circles? Maybe that’s another post for another day… My comfort zones on a moody Monday like today involved the gym and my second home – Bean There Coffee at 44 Stanley – https://www.beanthere.co.za. That magic moment you walk into gym, turn up your music and let your workout just fix your mood is the greatest and a definite Monday fix! After a good gym workout I resorted to my happy place; where I feel entirely at ease, calm and collected and utterly at home at Bean There – it is where I spend most days in fact. Like any other Monday being greeted by the baristas, the familiarity of the roastery, the green couch, pink and white marshmallow jar and of course the amazing aroma from the Probat roaster made me feel completely comforted. Today was an all encompassing comfort day.

Today on moody Monday I cherished a cup of coffee more than any other Monday.


First Sip

I guess this post has been in the works for quite some time. I’m not quite sure where to begin, and I guess this is where the ‘first sip’ comes from. It’s a bit of an overwhelming feeling taking the plunge, me writing, in essence taking that first sip from a piping hot cup. In more ways than one it’s where this journey begins, it’s where most of mine have begun; with a cup of coffee. Follow my journey, one cup at a time..