Get your Coffee on the Go in Durban
Along with Durban’s growing coffee culture of the last few years, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of vans, trucks and coffee tuk-tuks hitting the streets to make cortados and espressos even more accessible for those on the go…
Exploring Coffee are a pop-up café, whose tuk-tuks can often be found at outdoor sporting events and supporting the KZN trail running community. They’re Proudly KZN and only work with local suppliers, sourcing the best beans and baristas from the province. They’re passionate supporters of healthy living and active lifestyles, so you can find them serving artisanal hot beverages in Lilian Ngoyi Road at the same premises as Durban Runner, as well as trail runs, markets and special events – wherever they’re needed!
Follow them on Instagram: Exploring Coffee
Love Coffee is a favourite for coffee lovers in Morningside, and building on the success of their Windermere café, branched out a few years ago to introduce Bessie the Love Coffee Kombi to the Durban scene. Bessie is a retro VW Kombi that travels around KZN to serve you a hand-crafted caffeine fix at weddings, markets and music festivals. Love Coffee uses beans that have been specially roasted just for them by Colombo Coffee, so you’re guaranteed a great cup.
Follow them on Instagram: Love Coffee Durban
The Coffee Guys espresso café can be found at South Beach most mornings, but this “barista on wheels” will travel – to weddings, your work, and any kind of event. They serve their gourmet coffees from the back of a custom-built self-contained van, and pride themselves on their beans and brew.
Find them on Facebook: Coffee Guys
Honourable mention – Terbodore
The Terbo’ Truck is actually based in the Cape winelands, but Terbodore Coffee Roasters get an honourable mention since they hail from the KZN Midlands. They wanted to bring their freshly roasted beans to the people and share the coffee magic, so the custom coffee truck was born and you can find their fairtrade brews in Franschhoek. Artisan wine and coffee sounds like a good reason for a trip to the Cape winelands…
Follow them on Instagram: Terbodore Coffee
Do you have a favourite Mobile Coffee team that aren't mentioned here? Tell us about it!
The Coffee Magazine is exploring Melbourne for the incredible Global Edition of the Almond Breeze Latte Art Video Challenge and one of the things we've noticed is the quality and variation of the ceramics. That got us thinking about some of our favourite local ceramic producers, one of whom is Love Milo.
Taking daily inspiration from her surroundings, designer, Nicki Ellis, translates the gratitude she has for earthy elements into nature-inspired designs. All her designs come to life using sustainable manufacturing practices, including the use of only eco-friendly inks and the sourcing of alien wood. Nicki’s whole philosophy is to bring nature into people’s homes and into their daily activities. "When you have your morning coffee, why not incorporate nature and beauty into it? Re-connecting with nature and appreciating it’s gift to us, is so important, now more than ever! "
She has also always been fascinated with the Japanese Tea Ceremony or Sado, as the Japanese treat their tea as ART– this cultural ritual was the inspiration for her large tea cups and saucers, so that tea lovers could connect with the values of kindness, humility, discipline and simplicity, which is represented in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
“Beautiful things inspire a person, but instead of putting these things onto walls to admire from a distance, why not make it a part of everything we do. When we drink our morning coffee, why not incorporate beauty into this? Why not make this a process of interacting with art? What a good way to start the day,” says Ellis, who is the designer behind Love Milo products. It was these questions that motivated Ellis to resign from her job in the advertising world in 2010, where she felt she created for others as part of a mechanical process, and instead began to experiment with her own designs and fascination with the imperfection of nature. This curiosity and desire to make naturally beautiful things, started when Nicki was pregnant with her son, Milo, who is the inspiration behind the company name.
“You will never find a straight line in nature, so my designs are about finding the harmony between line and form; juxtaposing the imperfect elements with handmade elements to create something unique. In today’s world, many don’t have the time to stop and enjoy nature, so the aim with Love Milo is to find the beauty in the outdoors and bring it to you through our designs in every day accessories.”
Nicki’s process begins with photographing elements of nature that have striking patterns. Sometimes this begins in her own backyard, when Milo brings her a variety of interesting creatures he has found in the garden, like dragon flies and butterflies. “I look for the smallest detail in the elements, like the wings of the dragonfly or the pattern of a branch that I find while on a walk; and then photograph these in a light box. Next, I play with the imagery in black and white, as this speaks to the minimalist approach to our designs.”
Further to the backyard, Ellis and Finch spend a lot time in the outdoors, where they come across elements that stir up the creativity for a design. For example, they have found the Cecilia Forest in Newlands to be a great place for finding the intricate patterns in nature. “It can be something so simple, like the minute details in a leaf or the imperfect shape of a stone,” says Ellis. Travelling is also a sure way for Ellis and Finch to pick up on the beauty of nature’s design. They have found the Namibian dessert to be a particularly wonderful place for this. In fact, Namibia is where Love Milo’s very first branch and bird designs were born.
Although the brands signature style is black and white, Ellis brings in certain spots of colour that are found in nature to enhance a design. Currently, shades of green and indigo, inspired by the Agate stone, can be found across different products, and Ellis is now beginning to play with a pink and gold in a new range of cups and saucers.
Her hope for those who interact with Love Milo products is to enjoy the benefits of being surrounded by the beauty of nature and to feel energised when interacting with them. “Our designs are quite visually surprising, which I like. When placed against a white wall or clean background for example, the designs definitely catch your eye.”
Jeff Koehler is an American writer, traveller, photographer, and cook. In his latest book, he takes readers on a literary adventure to explore the origins of coffee. Jeff Koehler was kind enough to do a Q&A with Coffee Magazine about his new book, Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup.
What inspired you to write Where the Wild Coffee Grows?
When I was working on my last book, Darjeeling, I thought a lot about crops in their original home versus adopted ones (such as Darjeeling tea). The one that most captured my attention was coffee – Arabica coffee – which grows wild in southwestern Ethiopia. I thought it would be interesting to look at coffee in its native home. That was the idea, but it grew into much more.
Why do you think it’s important to set history straight about the origin of coffee?
Arabica means “from Arabia.” But the centre origin and diversity is in the Montane rainforests of Ethiopia. It is from Ethiopia, a point that tends to get little attention in most books. As well, it seemed logical that the world’s original coffee culture was around those forests where the fruit grows wild. Their story has never really been told.
In your book, you mention that Kafa is home to the world’s original coffee culture, yet remains virtually unknown. Why is that?
The area was, until relatively recently, extremely isolated. Western explorers didn’t really reach it until the very end of the 19th century, and the coffee forests were hardly breached by outsiders until the 1930s. The first scientific expeditions to gather genetic material did not happen until the 1950s.
How much time did you spend in Ethiopia in the researching and writing of this book?
I worked on the book for about two years. I had three trips to Kafa and around the west of the country. I also spent time in eastern Ethiopia, which has an ancient tradition of cultivating coffee around Harar, in Sidamo and Yirgacheffe, and, of course, in Addis Ababa, with coffee industry folks.
Did your research take you anywhere else in the world?
Indeed! I had four visits to Kew Gardens in London with their coffee specialist, a couple to Montpellier where some of world’s greatest coffee geneticists are working, and to Amsterdam to follow coffee’s arrival in Europe and also spend time with the most important importer of specialty coffee from Ethiopia. I went to Latin America to see coffee farms suffering from coffee leaf rust fungus and to meet farmers and families so affected by it.
For the specialty coffee world, I travelled to Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Oakland, and San Francisco in the US. Plus phone, skype, and email interviews with people working in coffee across the globe, from Yemen to Kenya to Panama. And many, many hours in libraries in various countries. As well, I was able to draw on my earlier travels to coffee producing areas, namely Yemen, Sumatra, Kenya, South India, and Mexico.
What was it like to travel through the villages and forests of Kafa?
Magical! In many respects. One of them was seeing coffee as just another plant in a forest. Cultivate coffee is meant to exist. It is planted in a field to produce. Not so wild coffee. These trees exist because they won their space in the forest. They exist simply because they fought and survived.
You mention that Ethiopia possesses 99.8% of the world’s genetic diversity of Arabica. Why is that important?
Cultivated Arabica has an incredibly narrow genetic base. In part that is from its history and how it spread, and in part from its nature. Arabica is self-pollinating – its pollen can fertilize its own ovule – and pollinates itself about 95 percent of the time, which keeps diversity from entering the species.
Genetically impoverished plants are highly vulnerable to pests, diseases, and changes in climatic conditions. They also have an inability to adapt or respond to environmental, or even market, demands, and limited potential for breeding new varieties.
Arabica’s diversity is greatest in the southwestern forests where it grows wild. Genetic variation is highest at its origin. The key is to tap into that diversity and bring it into new breeds of coffee.
You speak to the production of coffee under threat from climate change and disease – how worried should we be?
Entire swaths of coffee-producing countries will lose their ability to grow Arabica. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that 2° to 2.5°C increase in temperature would significantly trim the amount of suitable land for growing coffee across the world, perhaps halving it by 2050. In Brazil, where half of the world’s Arabica is grown, a rise of 3°C would cut areas adequate for coffee production in the principal growing states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo by two thirds and extinguish it elsewhere.
Around 85 percent of Arabica today is grown in Latin America. That region that is being incredibly hard hit by a devastating fungus called coffee leaf rust. Climate change is aggravating its spread.
What advice would you give to travellers wishing to follow in your footsteps and explore the roots of coffee in Ethiopia?
Arrange a truck and driver in Addis and head west to Bonga. From there, hire local guides and get into the coffee forests. The German environmental association NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union) is a good place to start. A massive swath of Kafa’s coffee forests have been designated a UNESCO biosphere.
I also highly recommend Aregash Lodge, in Sidamo, not far from Yirgacheffee. It is by far my favourite place to stay in Ethiopia. And Harar remains the most amazing city in the country.
I’m sure you met some interesting characters in your research and travels?
In Ethiopia, Mesfin Tekle, the leading expert on Kafa’s forests. The numerous forests walks we did together were the highlight of my time in the country. His knowledge of the natural world in those forests was matched by his understanding of the spiritual world and cultural traditions. I was also lucky to have a couple of visits to one of Kafa’s most important spiritual leaders, who taught me about the religious importance of coffee to the people of the area.
You refer to the “ceremony” of preparing and drinking coffee in Ethiopia – what is it that makes Ethiopia unique in their approach to coffee?
The process of preparing a traditional cup of coffee is so elaborate that it is aptly called a “coffee ceremony.” It begins with washing and roasting the beans and carries on through pouring it out into tiny cups. The host will brew three rounds with the grounds. It is considered not just rude to leave before the third one is served, but could bring bad you luck.
“Buna dabo naw” or “Coffee is our bread” is a popular expression you mention. How does that speak to their coffee culture?
In Ethiopia, a meeting rarely lacks coffee, and coffee rarely lacks company. The country is one of the world’s largest producers of coffee. Yet it exports less than half of what it grows. To put that another way, it consumes more than half its own production. That’s around 500 million pounds of coffee for a population of nearly 100 million, a particularly impressive quantity as nearly half the population is under fourteen years of age. By contrast, Kenya consumes just 3 percent of its production, while Colombia exports over 86 percent of its coffee.
If there’s one thing coffee lovers should take away from reading your book, what should it be?
A deeper understanding of coffee’s origins, spread, and future – and how tightly these three things are related. The story is more complex than I ever imagined. And more interesting.
How have your travels and research affected your own coffee habit?
I gained a much better appreciation for the long and involved coffee chain – there are so many people involved between field to cup, and any one of them can screw up the final brew. When I take a sip of excellent coffee I am more amazed – and thankful – than ever.
A hive of coffee innovation, the London Coffee Festival in 2017 made for some interesting discoveries. David Donde, was invited to judge in the Coffee Masters competition and made the most of the time to soak up the international coffee trends that we should be looking out for.
Words by David Donde
1. Most Interesting Coffee Trend
The biggest trend in coffee at the London Coffee Festival, was an idea. An idea that I walked into the festival wanting to corroborate. Years ago, when I began in coffee, the thing we wanted coffee to be was “Strong”. With Speciality coffee, we went from wanting strong to claiming that “good coffee has acidity” and as roasters, we all went on a quest for acidity. For about a year this has been bothering me deeply. I was not alone. As is the want of this kind of thing, other thinkers were on the same path. I am happy to report that my notes from that tiny, wet island have us all on a new quest: for sweetness. In practice, this is going to mean top roasters will start choosing beans differently. Roast profiles will subdue acidity in favour of sweetness, and as a consumer, you can expect a more approachable, more luxurious cup.
2. The Person who inspired me most
Nick Maybe, from Assembly Coffee, who eventually came second in the Coffee Masters is one to watch. He could have and should have won, but fatigue got the better of him. He is asking some great questions by looking at processing methods and extraction, extraction, extraction! His presentation called Wash Wash, a coffee trio, was fun. This is a group of three bags of the same coffee sold together, but each produced using a different washing process. So he took one coffee, had the farm treat the same cherries as a washed, a natural, and as a honey process. The idea was to taste the difference between the processing methods. Sadly they were roasted too differently for this idea to really shine in the cup, though this was still a wonderful idea to be part of. Passion, innovation and depth of knowledge are always contagious.
3. The Cafe to visit in London
The New Black. They serve coffees from a small selection of the world’s top roasters. Magnificent in its conceptualisation and actualisation. Imagine a cafe: There is no coffee sitting in a grinder. Rather, little capsules of pre-weighed coffee, waiting grinders, and a bank of extraction methods greet your eyes. A coffee is chosen, a brewing method discussed, and the coffee made to perfection. They have created their own flavour wheel to help you choose which roaster’s coffee you should sample based on what flavours you enjoy. I may be biased here, they did choose our coffee as one of the roasters to open with, but this is a breathtaking coffee experience.
4. Most delicious coffee
The best coffee on the trip was not so much about a specific bean, but more about the process of brewing the coffee. There is a whole debate going on at the moment in the filter coffee sphere about the benefits of immersive vs drip. For me immersion is the way to go, but the V60 is such a gorgeous piece of equipment. Well, Gwilym Davies (World Barista Champ 2009) and I were discussing making an immersive brew then putting that through a drip filter, and lo and behold, a competitor in the Coffee Masters the very next day brewed coffee in a milk pitcher, timing its immersion in there, and then using a Hario to filter it. What does this mean in the cup? A clean, deep and rich extraction, highlighting complexity and sweetness. This is what I have always liked about the Clever Dripper’s capabilities.
5. Best New Product/piece of equipment
The Oomph Coffee Maker for producing immersion brew filter. This is an example of science put to good use. It is simple to use and superficially understand; it gives one the best aspects of the AeroPress and Abid Clever Dripper, while being easier to use and clean and allows further extraction if wanted after brew completion. I bought one!
The only other toy I bought was the Commandante Hand Grinder. Amazing. Abec 9 bearings (normally used in the skating world, the damn thing’s handle spins seemingly forever when the chamber is empty!), CNC manufacturing, super sharp blades, and interchangeable accessories. Mine came with a selection of grind size adjustors (clear and black), two handle knobs and two grind jars, and utterly amazing laser engraving. The thing is a pleasure to use. One cannot say that about any other manual grinder I have ever tried.
Goat Story let me play with their new brewer, the GINA, and although it wasn’t a marketable product at the time of testing, it looks beautiful and they’ve had huge backing from a Kickstarter campaign to produce this integrated Bluetooth scale and brewing contraption. One to look out for.
We had so much fun at this event. It was amazing to see so many different coffee businesses represented here, putting aside rivalries to have a fun night of latte art under pressure! Thanks to the teams at Tribe Coffee and SanremoSA for making this happen, we know how much goes in to putting on these kinds of events.
Congratulations to Nakahosa Nanimozuela Idricia aka Idris, from Truth Coffee Roasting who walked away with the prize money and the glory!
The Judges, Organisers, Winner and Runner Up, fun was had by all! From left to right: Melanie Winter, Armie Vanucci, Idris (Winner!), Atang Tshikare, Chris Gaag (Tribe Coffee), Brigitte Hauptfleisch (organiser), Cristiano Mendes (Runner-Up)
Getting creative for your coffee
Could you string some sentences into a stanza and set your creativity free for a cup of coffee? On the 21st of March every year, Julius Meinl changes the currency in hundreds of coffeehouses around the world – inviting people to pay with a handwritten poem on World Poetry Day.
The global coffee roaster and ambassador of Viennese coffeehouse culture has championed the cause of coffee, tea, and creativity, and this is the fifth year of their #PayWithAPoem initiative. So, what’s behind it all? What inspired this blend of beverages and bards?
Julius Meinl is synonymous with Viennese coffeehouse culture – established in 1862, the company was the first professional roaster in Europe and has been a premium purveyor of gourmet coffee, tea and fruit preserves for more than 150 years. Rooted in Viennese coffeehouse tradition, it’s this respect for culture that led Julius Meinl down the poetry path…
“It is a place where all sorts of individuals meet to discuss their dreams, to reflect on their thoughts, to share their ideas, to compose masterpieces, to read or just to quietly sit and watch our colourful life happen. With one single cup of coffee, which traditionally comes served on a silver tray with a glass of water, one is entitled to linger in the coffeehouse for hours and hours, even without ordering anything else, making you feel at home. It is here, in this amazing institution full of history, emotions and life, where poetry comes to life.” – Meinl Coffee
Poetry in a cup
Julius Meinl prides itself on being a champion of this culture of creativity, with coffee and tea as a source of inspiration. If you’ve always suspected that coffee is the fuel that feeds your creative fire, here’s your validation. On World Poetry Day in 2017 over 100,000 coffee drinkers in 37 countries around the world paid for their coffee with a poem at participating cafés and coffeehouses.
The coffee roaster believes that poetry contributes to building a better world by increasing positivity through creativity. We might not be able to pay with a poem in South Africa yet, but that’s no reason not to sit down with a cup of coffee, put pen to paper, and see what happens. With the right barista, their poetry in a cup could become your poetry on a page…