Ntaba Coffe Haus exterior
Ntaba Coffee Haus opened in Clifton last week. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Ntaba Coffee Haus, newly opened in Clifton, wants to be an African safari in your cup.

The new business opened Friday in a space that was for many years a Pizza Hut restaurant, roasting African coffee in-house and selling various treats.

Interestingly, owners Robin and Stella Mountain also own a safari business under the same name Ntaba African Safaris (“ntaba” is a Zulu term that means “mountain”). That business, which began operations in 2005 in the couple’s basement, ultimately led to the opening of the coffee house. Both businesses will now operate in the Clifton location.

The owners are natives of South Africa, and as they traveled back and forth several times a year with tour groups, Robin began importing food and coffee. Those import channels turned into the offshoot business.

Ntaba Coffee Haus owners
Ntaba owners Robin and Stella Mountain | Photo by Kevin Gibson

At the counter, customers will find several styles of coffee, cappuccino, latte and more made with beans that originated in various African regions, from Tanzania to Rwanda, along with African-style snacks like sausage rolls and chai muffins.

In addition, the rear part of the coffee house is set aside for what the chalkboard menu calls a Taste of Africa store. The store space is small, with five shelves lining three walls, filled with sauces, spices, snack foods, canned jams, chutney and more, all products of South Africa.

The store also stocks rusks, a dried bread often served with tea in South Africa, and biltong, dried meat that is similar to beef jerky.

“Nobody specializes in one country’s coffee,” Robin Mountain says. “So we’re biting the bullet and only roasting African coffee” with a “farm to cup” focus.

The goal is to make the place a neighborhood gathering spot, while also offering something special for the South African community in the area. A Ntaba employee is a native of the South African region of Congo.

“I had locals walk in here Saturday and cry,” he says.

Ntaba also stocks local items, such as Kizito Cookies, snacks by True North Catering and locally made BEG’s Honey.

Another aspect of the business, which intersects with the safari business, is a charitable partnership that benefits ZABRA, AfreeBra Initiative. The charity collects gently used and new bras for women in South Africa who can’t afford their own.

Much like a toy charity at Christmas, a bin sits inside Ntaba marked with the ZABRA logo where customers can donate bras. The Mountains then will transport them to South Africa to donate during a forthcoming safari trip.

Ntaba Coffee Haus, located at 2407 Brownsboro Road, is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Below are more photos of the space.

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Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]