Cafe of the Week: Bottega Coffee

Friday, 9 June, 2017
Bottega Coffee
Shop 2B, Victoria Centre, 3201, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal

What a little gem hidden off Victoria Road in Pietermaritzburg. We turned of the busy Victoria Road and kept our eyes peeled for the red and gold signage. It didn't take us long to spot the little patio area of Bottega Coffee. 

Friendly smiles greeted us as we walked through the doors. I had seen a chalkboard sign at the door advertising pancakes so I knew exactly what I was getting with my coffee. The coffee took us a bit longer to decide on...

The beautiful Victoria Arduino Black Eagle sits alongside two Mythos grinders on the Bottega counter. It is an impressive set-up and very unexpected in this busy, little shopping complex. Ethan was behind the machine and he set about making our flat white with the Bottega Espresso Blend and an espresso with the guest roaster coffee, a Uganda Sipi Falls single origin. The flat white was immensely satisfying on the crisp, winter morning and the espresso was light and bright, disappearing in just a couple sips. They are certainly putting the amazing equipment to good use!

They've only been open a year, but have already wedged themselves into the hearts of the locals with their fantastic coffee and happy vibes. 


Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

First 6 baristas for Nationals 2018

Monday, 5 June, 2017
The first Regional competition is done and dusted and 6 talented baristas have made it through to the National Championships in 2018. Winston Thomas said he was really nervous going in to defend his WC title having just been named National Champion but he rode the wave of pressure straight to the number one slot. That's not to say it was easy. The competition was fierce and saw a number of fantastic Cape Town institutions throw their names in the ring to claim a place at Nationals 2018. 

Winner - Winston Thomas, Origin Coffee Roasters
2nd - Dayle Visser, Tribe Coffee Roasting
3rd - Neil Gouws, Origin Coffee Roasting
4th - Christopher Abrahams, Ciro Full Service Coffee Co.
5th - Kuda Gezi, TriBeCa Coffee
6th - Lehan Venter, Truth Coffee Roasting

It's a very good start to the competition season. Check out the rest of the schedule here. You'll note the SCASA has split out the Barista Champs and Latte Art and Cup Tasters in most regions, which will give baristas an opportunity to focus on different disciplines and gives each category the space they deserve.


Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

Western Cape Regionals this weekend! Who will be competing? Find out here!

Wednesday, 31 May, 2017
The beautiful VA Black Eagle will be in flight this weekend at the Good Food and Wine Show!

Cape Town - This weekend the Good Food & Wine Show will host the first  SCASA Regional Barista Competition of the 2018 competition cycle, with some of the country’s biggest names in coffee participating. Amongst the contenders will be newly crowned SA Barista Champion Winston Thomas (Origin Coffee Roasters) who must surely be a favourite for this event. Challengers to his title come from well known establishments such as Truth Coffee, Tribe Coffee, TriBeCa and Rosetta Roastery.

Individuals to watch out for, besides Winston Thomas, include the other W Cape Baristas fresh off their Nationals campaigns, Lolly Daweti and Kuda Gezi (both TriBeCa) and the very exciting National Latte Art Runner-up , Chris Abrahams (Ciro). Others who attended Nationals for Cup Tasters, Neil Gouws (Origin) and as part of the Winston support team, Justin Groep (Rosetta) will be eager to showcase their knowledge and experience gleaned from the Nationals competition. There are also some returning to competition such as Dayle Visser (Tribe), Charles Ngwarai (Snobs Coffee) and Adrian Europa (Origin). Finally, one must keep an eye on the dark-horse contenders from arguably the most famous coffee shop in the world, Truth, in the form of Innocent Chakanyuka and Lehan Venter.

The World Barista Championship format applies with Baristas creating 4 espressos, 4 milk-based beverages and 4 espresso based signature drinks for the panel of 7 judges, in 15 minutes.

Be sure to get your tickets to the Good Food & Wine Show and don't miss the action on the SCASA Coffee Stage - action takes place from 10am daily, with coffee demonstrations, presentations and activations between sets. Finals will be held on Sunday from 10am, with the Top 6 finalists repeating their sets, and prize giving to follow at 4pm.

Last chance to win tickets here.

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

Finalists of the Almond Breeze LAVC announced!

Wednesday, 31 May, 2017

The Almond Breeze Latte Art Video Challenge will see the Grand Finals kick off in June, where one lucky Barista in South Africa will win R5000! 

Over the past 3 months 12 baristas each month have gone head to head with their own video submission of their best latte art, using Almond Breeze’s Barista Blend, a 100% dairy free almond milk, formulated by professional baristas for Blue Diamond. Over 10 000 people viewed the videos and collectively cast their votes to decide the top 6.

The Grand Finals will see each of the Top 6 receive an Almond Breeze care-package and a latte art design assignment, which they will film and submit… the barista with the most votes in during the Grand Finals voting window in June will win the prize money and the glory!

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

Cafe of the Week: Saint James Cafe

Wednesday, 31 May, 2017
Saint James Cafe, Observatory, Cape Town 

How did the Saint James Cafe team get into the coffee business?

Three friends saw a corner spot open up, just down the road from where they live in Observatory and knew there was a gap in the market for good coffee served in a well-designed space.

Tell us about your coffee and how you went about choosing what was best for your customers.
We sampled the offerings of several local roasters but in the end decided to go with Noan’s brother in law who started the Stellenbosch branch of Wings Coffee Roasters earlier that year. We realised that the long term value in being able to work very closely with our roaster would enable us to provide them with feedback that would ultimately improve the experience for our customers and help us learn a lot more about the coffee we are serving our customers. We are currently serving a blend made up of Rwandan and Brazilian beans. A complex body, low acidity and a complimentary sweetness. This blend is perfect for what our customers are currently demanding.
We also use a Moccamaster to serve some very exciting single origins in the form of batch brew coffee.

What defines your vibe? 
Warm, well designed space with an eclectic mix of people, music, art and lots of greenery.

Tell us a little known and unexpected fact about owning a cafe.
Three owners with very different personalities and skill sets makes for an amazing melting pot of ideas and strategies.

What has been your best moment so far on this journey?

Seeing the physical manifestation of something that was merely a concept/idea. Having a customer leave the premises with a truly great experience of the coffee and the space.

Describe one of your favourite regular customers that make up the fabric of your cafe community.
A local that lives in our street comes in every morning, gives the barista a nudge, handshakes and smiles are exchanged (he knows everyone including all three owners by name) ,by the time this is done his coffee is ready and waiting for him to start his day. This guy has become a friend and he is one of many.

What’s the one reason people should visit your cafe (other than the coffee, of course!)

Definitely our friendly staff and unique ambiance!

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

Brew a Perfect Plunger with Craig Charity

Wednesday, 31 May, 2017
The Plunger is one of the simplest brewing methods available. We're sure you have one at home, it's time to get it out and learn some new tricks with All African Barista Champion 2017, Craig Charity. 

The immersive method means the result in your cup should be a full bodied and rich brew, but how do you get it right every time? Take it away Craig!

Shot on location at the Franke Coffee Bar. That beautiful and convenient tap in the video is the Zip HydroTap, perfect for your home or your coffee counter.

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

Final Week Almond Breeze LAVC: Hugo Cafe baristas Face-Off!

Thursday, 25 May, 2017

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

Exclusive with Simphiwe Adams, SA Cup Tasters Champ 2017

Tuesday, 23 May, 2017

Simphiwe 'Bobby' Adams has long been a competitive barista, but over the last few years his interest has shifted into the Cup Tasting Competition, so much so that he scored 8 out of 8 at the National Champs to win a ticket to the World of Coffee in Budapest Hungary in just a few weeks!


When I started working in the coffee industry back in 2007, I was more focused on learning how to make a great cup of coffee. Initially I either liked or didn't like the cup of coffee but as my palate developed, I started tasting the subtle differences in each cup. I started tasting different coffees and making notes of what I liked from each one. I also started meeting with other baristas so taste and discuss these differences.


For both Regional and National Competitions, my team at Sumatran Coffee prepared daily tasting sets for me. Either Shaun Aupiais and/or Matt Allen did the sets with me to provide a bit of competition. We mimic the layout of the actual competition format so that it is as familiar as possible on the day of competition. Each set is timed and the scores recorded. After every 3 complete sets, the combinations I got wrong are included in the following set.

Because I am roasting now, I roast the same bean at different temperatures to really test myself. We regularly do the Le Nez Du Cafe smell tests leading up to a competition, as well as fruity palate developments.

The Sumatran Team prepare the coffee combinations for each set. Shaun and Matt train with me and the loser of each set has to do the dishes. And yes...I have had to do my fair share of dishes.

I have been working at Sumatran Coffee for almost 2 years now. The amount I have learned about coffee is incredible. I started roasting coffee over the past year and this has helped me so much in understanding the taste profiles of coffee. I look forward to learning as much as I can about coffee.


My strength is a combination of taste and smell abilities, but I continually work on improving them. As I mentioned before, I work of improving my smell by using the Le Nez Du Cafe as well as improving my palate development by tasting different fruits and spices on a regular basis.


I cannot say that any one person has inspired me. I have had so many people inspire me over the years. If I had to mention a few, I would like to mention Pauline Leschinsky and Kirsten Oosthuizen - who helped train me as a Barista; Ishan Natalie - who helped motivate me in my earlier competitions; Donovan Mc Lagan - who offered help and guidance at the Nationals; Shaun Aupiais - who supported and trained with me and Mathew Allen - for his support and motivational chats when my nerves started playing up, as well as having strict pre-competition support/rules/regime.


Proper training for a competition takes many hours of hard work, so I made the decision to concentrate on just one discipline and the obvious choice was Cup Tasters, which is also where my passion lies. The decision was also driven by the premature passing of my close friend and mentee - Sivuyile Jacobs - who always believed that I would go on to become the SA Cup Tasters Champion.

My plans for Budapest are coming along slowly as there is so much paperwork involved and so little time before I am due to leave. Having said that, I am so ready for Budapest, Hungary. BRING IT ON!

We're so proud of you Bobby! All the best for Worlds!!!

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!