You needn’t travel the world to get a slice of the sort of global influence that can be found in coffee. Sometimes it just takes a trip to a single cafe. And there is such a coffee shop in Sakskøbing, Denmark by the name of Ubuntu Coffee Roasters. With Namibian roots, the Danish cafe and roastery blends Scandinavian coffee culture with a deep appreciate for African heritage and the vibrant coffees that come part and parcel with it.
From Swakopmund to Sakskøbing, Ubuntu brings together two great coffee traditions under a single century-old roof.
As told to Sprudge by Caryn Koepp.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
We are Namibian born and raised and grew up in the town of Swakopmund. Our love for coffee was born here, as we witnessed first-hand the rise of a distinctive, unique, and vibrant coffee culture that captivated locals and tourists alike.
We immigrated to Denmark in 2019, and inspired by the blend of global influences, local flavors and traditions of the Namibian coffee industry, as well as the social aspects of coffee consumption, we recognized the potential and need for great specialty coffee on Lolland Falster.
Ubuntu focuses on roasting small batches of specialty coffee beans that are carefully sourced and selected for their specific rich aromas and flavors to portray our bold and vibrant African heritage.
Our name reflects our core values and beliefs—the concept of a common humanity, the universal bond of sharing, mutual respect, giving back and playing a role in community and environment.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
As space was limited in our previous premises we were in search of a new building for our roastery and coffeehouse that would offer more space for our community and our vision of showcasing and sharing our African heritage and culture. Finding a building with character, historical value, cultural significance, charm and a cozy atmosphere were very important to us.
The old horse stable built in 1901 at the Sakskøbing Sukkerfabrikken turned out to be the perfect new home for Ubuntu with its rich history and rustic vibes. Back then the stable housed the horses that would transport the sugar to the sugar factory until 1991, when the sugar production was discontinued.
Giving new life to this forgotten and unused building was an exciting project, as we focused on preserving and protecting the original features, as well as the old charm of the building, while adding our own modern and African inspired flair.
In the second phase we plan to expand up into the stables ceiling to make further use of the wonderful building and create more space for our guests and coffee products.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We believe that great coffee holds a significant social value that goes beyond its taste and aroma. Coffee has the power to bring people together, foster connections, and create meaningful social interactions.
As a result coffeehouses and cafes are important social hubs that provide the space for people to gather and socialize, engage in conversations, strengthen ties, work, take part in cultural events, or simply enjoy a moment of relaxation.
We want to create a welcoming and comfortable environment that supports these core values and offers individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures a space to interact, share ideas, and form meaningful connections that in turn encourage and cultivate a sense of belonging and social unity.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are constantly working on expanding our coffee flavors and offerings. Just recently we collaborated with amazing people from Burundi to create a new coffee, which will be for sale very soon.
We are also planning to introduce some seasonal coffee flavors to keep our menu fresh and exciting.
We also see more growth in the future and hope to expand the roastery with a small learning/tasting room where we can educate people around us on specialty coffee… also an industrial grinder would be next on our wishlist so we can approach more local businesses to use our coffee on their filter machines 🙂
We hope to expand the coffeehouse with further coffee equipment so our customers can enjoy various coffee experiences in-house.
Above all we want to bring the coffee culture closer to our customers and strive to educate those that are interested about different brewing methods and flavor profiles, and how they can enhance their coffee experience and foster a deeper appreciation for the nuances of specialty coffee.
How is your project considering sustainability?
As we strongly believe in the sustainable and preservational approach and definitively wanted to keep the charm and historical value of the old stables, we renovated and restored the building to keep the original structure and walls intact.
We prioritized the recycling and reuse of construction materials wherever possible and focused on reclaiming materials for our flooring, countertops, and furniture. The old cobblestone floors were washed, grooves and cracks were filled and then sealed for protection. The barns original wooden posts and beams were sanded down and restored to their former glory. As a result we reduced the waste generation significantly while bringing the old building back to life.
To enhance the energy efficiency of the building we installed high-quality eco-friendly insulation materials in the ceiling and replaced the old single glazed windows with new double glazed windows to provide proper insulation and protection for the interior, and create more natural light. We took great care to recreate the original windows structure to preserve the historical value of the building.
We also invested in a heat pump for an efficient, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly heating system during winter. In the summer months it is used to keep the old cobblestone floors, thick walls and open loft above the ceiling cool.
We switched to energy-efficient lighting fixtures, to reduce our electricity consumption, and our coffeehouse tables and chairs were sourced from second hand furniture dealers.
Our décor incorporates authentic and traditional artworks, crafts, artifacts, textiles, and meaningful pieces we brought along from our home country, Namibia. Our beautiful African country is known for its breath-taking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant traditions, and we want to give our customers the opportunity to learn more about us and our heritage.
By considering all these sustainability factors, we have and will continue to transform this old charming horse stable into an environmentally conscious and efficient space that offers a unique experience for local and international coffee enthusiasts.
Our left over coffee rest like the coffee pucks and the chaff from roasting gets donated to local farms and gardens as fertilizer.
We love to support our local market, producers, artists, and craftspeople, only by doing this can we help each other grow and be part of the local story. We source our fresh breads and delicacies from bakers in our vicinity. Our apple most is also from a local apple farm and our talented local potter has created custom made Ubuntu cups that we use in-house and now also have for sale to support her.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We have opened the coffee house on the 4/2/2023 and hopefully further expansions in the next year or two.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
These companies assisted us with the renovations:
Skibsted ejendomme, Obelitz electricians, MJ VVS, Erik Frederiksens Etft Aps, Pejsemontøren, and Camping & Maskinsetvice.
Our graphics, web, and marketing lady in Namibia, Aflynx, helped with ideas for our décor and interiors. She also created unique Ubuntu posters to adorn our walls with.