Alessio La Ruffa

Most don’t believe me when I say I’m an introvert. You know that guy, the life of the party. The conversationalist. The crowd magnet.

That’s not me.

So I don’t meet many more people beyond my small, tight network. Until coffee.

Coffee’s changed all that. I’ve met more people through coffee in the last 2 years than I’ve met through any other social medium in the last 10.

I want to introduce you to them. So I started an initiative called Humans of Coffee. And the first human I’d like to introduce you to is Alessio La Ruffa.

Who is Alessio La Ruffa?

Alessio La Ruffa is an introvert that doesn’t like taking phone calls. He’s also a photographer and social media marketer. He’s made many bad decisions, some good ones and likes the direction that his life is currently taking.

What is your best childhood memory?

I would have to say my birthdays. They were always in the school holidays, and they were days all about me, having fun, being with my friends and eating my favourite foods. They’re still my favourite days now.

If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. The decisions I made growing up resulted in me being the person I am today, and I kinda like the guy I’ve become. I think I’m finally in the space to say that I don’t have any regrets and I’m at peace with myself. With that being said, I probably should have taken photography a little more seriously as a subject in college. And bought Apple stock back in the nineties.

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What do you feel most proud of?

My photography makes me ridiculously proud. It started as a hobby with an iPhone and a little app called Instagram. It has created so many opportunities for me. I’ve met wonderful people, got to travel around the country, exhibited my photos a couple of times, worked with local and international brands, all while doing something I love.

If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

My camera, my laptop and my iPhone. They’re the basic tools that I need to make a living.

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What do you want your tombstone to say?

I’ve been thinking hard about how to answer this, and it makes me a little emotional.

I’d want it to sum up who I was to the people that I cared about, so ultimately what it says would be in their hands.


What is

It’s the home of my personal brand on the Internet. It’s a showcase of my work, but it also includes my personal projects, which include plenty of photographs about pigeons. I also write blog posts about the kind of things that I would like to read online.

What’s your favorite kind of coffee?

I fell in love with cortados on my first visit to Father Coffee. The thing is, they’re not available everywhere, and not all coffee shops make them well. When cortados aren’t on the menu, the next best thing for me is a flat white.

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Where are we likely to bump into you?

In Joburg you’ll find me at vida e caffè in Parktown North, Dolci Cafe and Warm & Glad in Craighall Park, Father Coffee in Braamfontein, Seattle Coffee Company in Woodmead, Motherland Coffee and EB Cafe in Rosebank, and Bean There and Salvation Cafe at 44 Stanley.

In Pretoria, you’d probably bump into me at Grounded at Echo, Grounded Work, the hidden Seattle at the Caltex in The Moot, Urban Eatery in the CBD, Lucky Bread Co in Brooklyn Mall, +27 Cafe in Hatfield, Aroma on Lynnwood Road, Seattle Coffee Co in Menlyn, or BICCCS in Waterkloof.

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What does a perfect day look like?

The perfect day involves waking up next to my girlfriend, going for a walk around the park, and having breakfast all before 8 am. It’s amazing what a difference waking up at 5 am makes. You get to go out and achieve things before most of the world have even gotten out of bed.

After that, I could go do a little bit of work from a coffee shop, followed by a healthy lunch.

Ideally, I would go shoot whichever city I’m in at sunset. There’s just something about shooting a city winding down after a long day at work in golden sunlight.

Once that’s done, gin and tonics are always a great way to finish a day, followed by Mexican food or sushi.

Cover image by Alexi Portokallis