The Beard struggle….



Well, since I don’t have hair on the top of my head, there is no illusion of baldness on my chin.  Thus, I have grown to love my furry chin.  The only thing is, I had a couple of bad hair days.  Yes, hair days, those on my face!

So how do one tame the beard?  Or is it overrated to say that a bearded person need to have someone to tame his (or her [let’s not discriminate]) beard?  Well, I have learned that being fortunate enough to grow a full beard is more than a science than I anticipated.  It’s not just about shaving your beard and voila you’re done, it’s a technical thing.  It’s about shaping, moulding and touching up where needed and putting the right products, oils, balms on your face.

So how do I go about my beard?  Well, apart from shampooing it in the shower, I do need to make sure that it looks good and smells good.  The beard-market erupted with products specifically for one’s beard.  There are beard shampoos, moisturisers, oils and yes, some beard balm.  Spoiling myself however, gives me the opportunity to have  someone take care of that FOR you.  I have experienced a variety of Barbers but my favourite still is Sorbet MAN located in Cape Quarter in De Waterkant, Cape Town.  They know their trade.  Soon I was in the plush leather barber chair, my face was cocooned in  hot towels, lathered up, trimmed, shaved, shaped (yes, that happens too) and treated with exquisite beard products.  Did I mention my JW on the rocks? Jip, they can “man-handle” me any time! I walked out there with my chin looking, feeling and smelling sophisticated, healthy and shining!  Reality is though, that you do pay an arm and a a leg for some of these treatments.

Arriving back at the capital I also enjoyed Sorbet MAN in Menlyn Maine and was equally impressed with their whole set up and the experience did not fail in my expectation.  One day in casual conversation with one of my (non-bearded) friends, I heard about a Pakistani gentleman that had a barber shop not far from where I am staying.  So I gave it a go!  I arrived there sitting in front of my steering wheel thinking.  The shopfront was not appealing at all but hey, it’s all about experiences.  I entered.  He walked closer, without greeting and nudged me to the chair in the far left corner.  He wasn’t very talkative either.  I think his name was Sindha. There were no expensive tiles, aromatisers, masculine decor or flush ambient lightning and immediately knew, this was going to be a different experience.  Well, the barber knew what to do.  Trimmed my beard, shaved my neck, shaped my beard and although he didn’t have all the cutting edge equipment (see, I used a pun… cutting… **goofy smile** ….. ok, moving on swiftly), expensive oils, balms and moisturisers he did his thing.  I was equally impressed with his skill and yes it was a different experience.  A good one I might add and paid a third of what I should’ve paid at my favorite spot.

The question then lingers….”Do one need expensive stuff around when going for a trim and shave?”.  The answer is a combination really.  Yes, I love the finer things in life.  I love the ambient lightning, I love that the staff are all uniformly dressed, looking hip.  I looooooooove especially the fact that I get swirled and treated with the best beard and face products (even the JW on the rocks…. well… it rocked).  Thinking about my two experiences though, one needs a barber with a good steady hand, with skill and when you subtract all this whirly pearly swirleys, you just needed to have your beard trimmed. That’s all.

If you are a bearded fellow. Instead of hacking away on your own, why not go and explore your neighbourhood and see what works for you.  Sorbet MAN might be your thing, the Pakistani around the corner might be your thing, or you like to go about it on your own, but most of all make sure that you care for your chin the right way and make that your priority-thing! Go! Now!

PS. My favourite Beard Balm & Oil is the Hairy Eye range and they are available at Sorbet Man here in Menlyn Maine Pretoria


Run Rabbit Run Coffee Roastery

Being fortunate enough to attend a coffee experience , I wasn’t sure what to expect (well duh, apart from tasting amazing coffee).  So, not being Capetownian, I made my way from Blouberg into the city.  The maps application on my phone had other plans, we are not going to the trendy city centre, but rather took a sharp left towards Observatory.

Driving on, you get a sense that you are entering a very old part of Cape Town and seems almost industrial to some extend.  I arrived.  A beautiful building that looks almost like a theatre, the Bijou building.  I did some digging and found out that it was in fact a theatre, almost a forgotten era gem, but this is not the focus here….. coffee.

Run Rabbit Run micro coffee roastery is based in the foyer of the Bijou building.  From the moment you enter through the wrought iron doors, you get a sense that this is going to be a good one.  Talking to Phillip (the owner), you immediately know this guy is passionate about coffee.  You see, I love coffee, but I am not nearly as passionate about it as he is.  Being busy within the hospitality industry, Phillip told his story of moving from the restaurant sphere to what he loves best, coffee.  14 months being at it, roasting, trying, getting it right, getting it wrong, until he got to a point of perfection.

First up, was a bit of history and the way coffee was grown and harvested and one thing that strikes me as odd, was that he referred to it as actually being coffee seeds.  Well, technically it must be, because the bean is actually enveloped by fleshy fruit.  Ok, but that’s besides the point.  We moved on to coffee cupping.  Different blends, absorption rates, colour, acidity the whole shebang.  We even roasted a batch ourselves and that only in a few minutes while Phillip looked like a crazy Alchemist, turning knobs on the roasting machine, monitoring the graphs and constantly explaining the process.

I must admit that I got a little lost there as I couldn’t stop staring at the green coffee beans turning a deep, rich, brown and smelling the change and fragrant air that developed.  Done with the roasting it was time for a cup and he treated me to a pour-over of one of his special blends.  Taking it all in, being narrated by Phillip around every sip.  We closed the session with a trip to a nearby roastery called Espressolab and closed with a nice Kenian espresso and having a chat about consumerism and how we seldom don’t grasp the bigger picture at play.

Nearing the end I’m confronted with multiple messages, the dominant being coffee, but more so, enjoying your cup ethically.  Knowing what we consume haven’t caused harm to anyone, the environment and the industry at large.  Being able to buy a product that is of top grade and having a guilt-free experience is for you to decide and sadly we are dictated to what our wallets allows us.   One thing that we can exercise however, is a choice over how we speak about or what we say about those things we consume.  Being knowledgable and aware of what our purchase will do and what change we might affect by taking that glorious sip.