By Ori Cohen
The journey of a coffee bean – from the farm to your café – is a lengthy and complex one, passing through hundreds of hands and travelling thousands of kilometres. When a barista serves you your next espresso, consider the fact that they are the one person in a long series events, that gets to represent all of those hands. Indeed a great honour, but simultaneously, a huge responsibility.
The Barista Guild of South Africa (or BGSA)
has just launched, and it is with the irreplaceable importance of the barista in mind, that it was started. In the US, the Barista’s Guild is credited with raising the level of speciality coffee in the States by placing focus on baristas and ensuring they are constantly learning and improving.
This past Monday saw the Gauteng launch of the BGSA, hosted by Alessandro at the Morrico showroom
in Parkhurst, filled with beautiful espresso machines and Alessandro’s impressive museum of vintage espresso machines that have been collected over many years. But the standout was the beautiful new Black Eagle from Victoria Arduino – the new World Barista Championship machine that has recently arrived in the country.
The stated goal of the BGSA is to unite baristas and do more for them. With that in mind, Ishan Natalie, who will be representing SA at the 2015 World Barista Championships, gave a workshop for competition baristas. These were his top 3 tips:
1. When choosing a coffee for competition, find a coffee you love and get to know your coffee very well.
2. Practice, practice, practice – plan everything ahead on a timeline and stick to it so that you’ll have enough time to practice.
3. Read the score sheets and rules properly. They can be confusing at times, but if you understand what is being judged, you know what to focus on.
Guests were asked to submit ideas of what they’d like to get from the Barista’s Guild in the future, ensuring that it will always be about the baristas, who represent the coffee industry every day.