SCASA Nationals is upon us! 7-9 May in JHB

Wednesday, 3 May, 2017
Alicia Bulter is competing again this year and we know she has her sights firmly set on being Champion! Photo: Erin Wulfson

Well it's that time of year again!

We've been feeling the excitement building across the country and now the week of Nationals is finally here.

You can see the full Schedule here.

We'll be providing LIVE updates via Twitter and there will be so much going on at Hostex beyond the competition stage that we're excited about.

The amazing news is that we already have one South African represented at Worlds this year. Rory Rosenberg, a Durban boy living abroad, went ahead and won the Norwegian Barista Champs earlier this year!

The judges are in training honing their skills and the competitors are on their way to Joburg! It's all happening!!!

Judges! Judges! Photo by Erin Wulfson

This article (5 Reasons we love Coffee Competitions) stills holds true! We can't wait to hang out with the craziest of coffee people!

Hopefully see you there!!!

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REVIEW: Nuova Simonelli Home Espresso Machine

Thursday, 4 May, 2017

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II - beautiful and easy to operate!

If you’re wondering what espresso machine to buy or you’re looking to upgrade your old single group machine for something new, the Oscar II is a very good option.

When I first started making espresso at home I didn't think there was any difference in what equipment you used…WRONG!

Everything is important, and as with most things in coffee, the variations in anything will affect the final flavour in the cup - from the beans that you choose, to the grinder, to the water and so on….this blog is just about the machine and what you should be considering before you outlay hard cash.

Yes, there are cheaper machines on the market for home use… and like cars or anything else, you get what you pay for. I started on the Oscar I, and it’s a machine that a lot of home baristas start with mainly because it’s a reputable brand (Nuova Simonelli has been the supplier of the World Barista Championships for the last 6 years with the Aurelia II) so you know the technology is excellent and the build quality is top. The group-head is the same as the professional / commercial machine with the same 58mm portafilter (the part that you grind the coffee into and tamp) so no different to the one in your local cafe.

The upgrade from the Oscar I to Oscar II are significant - being Italian, the sexy metallic panels make it more durable and more similar to a cafe look than a domestic appliance, but it’s still very sleek and compact at 40cm high x 41cm deep and only 30cm wide. (This is important, as space is at a premium on kitchen counters which are usually 60mm deep, and usually there’s toasters, kettles and other things fighting for space!)

Back to pulling shots - the Oscar II has borrowed the volumetric interface of the Professional model, the Musica (the upgrade from the Oscar and a semi-professional machine) which means you can lock in your portafilter, hit the “double shot” button and the machine will run the exact right amount of water through the coffee and into your cup - you can multi task with other things without having to worry about the shot. (If you don't get 60mls of espresso after pressing the double shot volumetric button - you need to dose less, make the grind a tiny bit courser or tamp with slightly less pressure - but these three variables are the subject devoted entirely to espresso extraction! )

This is the Musica, the semi-professional machine. Previously one had to go straight from the Oscar I to the Musica (and double the price!) but now the Oscar II is the perfect in-between step in terms of machine and price. Win-Win!

Then onto the milk, so you can perfect your silky, smooth cappuccinos! In the words of All African Barista Champs, Craig Charity, cappuccinos are all about experience - and by this, the texture of the beverage is everything - The Oscar II has a lever instead of a wheel to open and close the steam wand (which on the Oscar II is extra long and straight, which I love!) This means more control and precision when steaming milk.

Other technical things that I like - The boiler has excellent insulation and thus uses less energy and builds pressure much quicker than other espresso machines (especially when you’re making for more than 4 people at a time!), the water tank is a 3l reservoir (up from 2,5l), so you you can make quite a few coffees without having to re-fill, and it’s super easy to remove and drain the drip tray.

All in all, it’s a great little espresso machine - I take this and it’s partner in crime, the Grinter Grinder with me away on weekends (I kid you not) as they are small enough to pack into the van and make the weekends away so much more enjoyable, knowing you’re going to enjoy a perfectly crafted cappuccino in a magical setting.

Delicious coffee in a magical setting - even at the beach cottage!

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Roastery of the Week: Pause Coffee Roastery

Thursday, 4 May, 2017
So excited by all the great coffee things happening on the Garden Route! I personally love Wilderness, I have so many fond memories there with friends and family through the years, very happy to see they now have excellent coffee in the shape of Pause Coffee. Wessel Kruger has put a lot of energy and capital into making this a destination roastery. As you can see by the photos below, no expense has been spared in making this space beautiful and making sure that the coffee is sublime (just look at that gorgeous San Remo Opera and fantastic Genio Roaster!). We look forward to visiting ourselves soon!

Pause Coffee
Timberlake Village, the road between Wilderness and Sedgefield
Contact: Wessel Kruger
083 411 7372

Former popcorn machine coffee roaster launches most technologically advanced coffee establishment in the Western Cape. Pause Coffee Roastery and Café officially opened its doors at Timberlake Village, between Wilderness and Sedgefield, on 8 April 2017 and boasts the first Sanremo Opera espresso machine in the Western Cape.

Pause Coffee Roastery is excited to announce that the dream of serving the most perfectly crafted artisan coffee possible is becoming a reality at their new roastery in the heart of the Garden Route.Coffee lovers can come and experience public roasting demonstrations and coffee prepared on what is very likely the most advanced espresso machine ever created: Italian company Sanremo's flagship machine, the Opera. This machine was developed by a team that includes world barista champions. The Mahlkonig EK43 grinder is used for the espresso preparation, which produces unparalleled conformity of grind, resulting in smoother coffee.

Moreover, Pause Coffee Roastery has gone to such lengths that they imported, what is considered to be the best water remineraliser in the world, from BWT in Germany, the first one in South Africa. This ensures the ideal water composition for optimum aroma extraction for coffee preparation. Besides this, the roastery also offers excellent pastries, cakes, and light meals, including vegetarian and gluten free options, all prepared in house under the leadership of Stephan Henning, also owner of Zucchini restaurant.

Founded in 2016, Pause Coffee Roastery is the result of the passion of Wessel Kruger, the Roast Master and owner. Wessel, who is a mechanical engineer and coffee lover, experimented with micro-roasting at home for seven years. After moving down to the Garden Route from Johannesburg in 2014, he eventually invested in a computer controlled roaster with full roast profiling capability, quit his job, and began living out this passion full time.

The roastery is simply the logical next step in this quest to share coffee excellence with coffee lovers everywhere. Wessel says, “With some basic skills and equipment, everybody can enjoy the luxury of drinking good coffee at home.” The new website and online shop includes great tips for home coffee brewing, as well as a coffee subscription service is where fresh coffee can be delivered to your door on a monthly basis. This service is a cancel-or-pause-anytime service, and offers great value for money.
Currently, when Wessel runs into a gifted and ambitious young person he says, "We have the resources to make you a world champion barista, are you keen?" However, the most eager candidate currently seems to be Benjamin, his almost two-year-old son, after which one of the Pause blends are named.

Pause Coffee Roastery is “home of speciality coffee in the Garden Route”. "Speciality coffee" in this instance is used in its technical sense for coffees grown in ideal microclimates and consistently graded more than 80 points on a 100-point scale with little to no defects. Pause Coffee only makes use of ethically sourced green coffee beans. Pause Coffee is also the wholesale coffee supplier to a growing number of good coffee shops and restaurants in the Garden Route area and beyond.

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Week 9 Almond Breeze LAVC: Simba vs Thabo!

Tuesday, 2 May, 2017

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Keeping it in the Family: Coffeeberry, PMB

Thursday, 20 April, 2017
 One of our favourite things about the coffee industry is the collaboration factor. There are so many skills involved in getting you, the paying customer, the best possible drink, that businesses are always searching for and investing in the best possible suppliers and artisans that suit the desires of their regulars. So when an established cafe makes a change in their coffee bean supplier, they do not make that decision lightly. Nor do they put a new manager in position when it is not the best possible person for the job.

In Coffeeberry's case, this has meant keeping it local and even closer, keeping it in the family. They have collaborated with Steampunk Coffee Midlands to produce a new exciting dimension to their coffee offering at their successful cafe and Con Malherbe’s son, Mark, has seen the potential and is stepping in to help his dad fine-tune the concept as the freshly overhauled Coffeeberry sets its sights high!

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Build Up to SCASA Nationals: Barista Competitor Dennis Zakhele

Tuesday, 25 April, 2017

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Cafe of the Week: City Roast

Thursday, 20 April, 2017

We first noticed the small sign in the door saying coffee would be brewing soon, then a paint job, then the outside counters were installed, so eventually when we saw the door to City Roast open we took the first chance to pop in!

We bumped in to Wesley van Eeden(Resoborg), the illustrator behind our Issue 16 cover, working on an 'Ode to Durban' mural on one of the walls. We ordered two cortados from Brian and settled in to watch him work. He seems to have become the unofficial coffee artist to Durban cafes with his works in Lineage and Boiler Room and we love seeing his awesome work!
As we were sipping on our the smooth Bean Green coffees, Wayne one of the owners arrived. He has a background in hospitality and certainly knows what he's doing (just look at the picture of that scrumptious toastie below!!!). He has kept the food menu simple yet effective and they are going to take their time to decide on which coffee their customers enjoy having sampled Science of Coffee to their patrons as well, welcoming feedback and making quality the priority whichever roastery they decide to use.

A welcome addition to the Durban coffee scene! Good luck gentlemen!

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The TriBeCa Community Project

Thursday, 20 April, 2017

We love to see Coffee Companies making a difference to their communities and TriBeCa Coffee are doing just that with their Community Project which offers an entry level barista training course free of charge to willing applicants who need a leg up in the industry.

We chatted to Shannon Venter from the Coffee Quality Department of TriBeCa who is spearheading this initiative

What motivated TriBeCa to start this project?
We are approached constantly by people leaving their CV’s with us and I just thought that maybe there was something we can do as in our industry there are always positions popping up! And with this small amount of training a job is so much more accessible. I approached Martin, the MD, and he gave us the go ahead to run a Free Training Course for up to 6 people once a month. We just had our 2nd event today (20 April) and it went so well! I come from a teaching background so I just love teaching people the skills of making coffee!

What do the trainees leave with at the end of the day?
We run a half day beginners training course from 9am-1pm. This includes Crop to Cup theory and question time, so they learn all about where coffee comes from.Then getting them behind the machine, pulling the perfect espresso and practicing until they are proficient in milk steaming enough so they can pour some sort of latte art! We also brief them in hygiene and service. They leave with a certificate and a t-shirt and I keep all their details on file so I can contact them should an opportunity arise.

How can people qualify for this course?

They have to be unemployed, preferably under 40 and have a good attitude. Everybody knows someone who is unemployed and we hope that the word will spread to individuals who can really benefit from this beginners training. If you know of someone who can get to the TriBeCa Factory who would make the most of this opportunity please email me at

How important is training to the TrIBeCa team?
We have a team of 4 professionals dedicated to coffee quality; John Evans, Matt Carter, Harry Mole and myself. Our jobs are to ensure that our coffee is consistently good wherever it is made! We aim to train people to make coffee well enough to do justice to the quality of the beans!

Tumi and Maxwell attended the TriBeCa Community Project training! Shannon is in the middle. Photo from TriBeCa

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