Beer&coffee - Devil's Peak X Fierce: Imperial Cafe Racer

Friday, 28 July, 2017
You know, we love it when two of our favourite indulgences find a way to collaborate. In this case, it's the new Cafe Racer Porter from Devil's Peak Brewing Company and FIERCE utilising our wonderful friends at Legado Coffee Roasters to add a rich body and flavour to this brew.

We are extremely lucky to receive a lot of interesting packages in the mail and we welcomed the arrival of something that was a little different to the beans and gadgets (We did also recently receive a delivery of wine-soaked coffee beans from Quaffee, there'll be more on that soon! We're sensing a pattern...).

With a not-so-subtle Patron Tequila aroma, the first sip is surprising. Gently creamy and delightfully sweet. We looked to the label to see what exactly was contributing to the complexity of this stout. And here we found, lactose. In our ignorance we wondered, isn't that milk/dairy related? Why yes indeed, it is. It's the sugar derived from milk, and why would one use this in beer?

"It is a stout beer (dark beer made via the use of roasted malts or roast barley) that contains lactose, a common sugar derived from milk. Since the lactose is unfermentable, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer, contrasting the roasted flavor."

So now you know. You don't really need to know the details though. Devil's Peak brew excellent beer. Legado roasts excellent coffee. You can't really go wrong here folks, just try it!

Photo from Devil's Peak Brewing Company, unfortunately, we weren't drinking it by a fireplace, so this pic took 1st place, doesn't this just look sublime?!

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The First Ever Deaf Barista Competition!

Thursday, 20 July, 2017

The first ever Deaf Barista Competition!  Deaf Baristas from Left to Right: Thabo, Mduduzi, Rachel, Thandiwe, Kendal (translator), Esther Maasdam (WCE All Star), Harold, Samukelo, Johnson (Ciro Deaf Barista trainer), Umpaul (WCE All Star)

"I can honestly say that this is the best experience of my life. Better than winning Latte Art and Cup Tasters, better than any coffee experience I've had before."

Esther Maasdam, Dutch Latte Art and Cup Tasters Champ in different years and current WCE All Star, was overwhelmed by the passion and skill of the 6 deaf baristas who competed on stage at Coffee&Chocolate this past weekend. 

She was not alone, the entire crowd and the whole team who made the competition possible were also emotional and ecstatic at the bravery of these wonderful baristas. 

The winner, Mduduzi who works at the Spar Bean Tree in Melville, is leading the way educating his team in sign language with his enthusiasm and charm and it showed on stage.

"It was so hard to judge, because I just wanted all of you to win!!"

Lani Snyman of Ciro Beverage Solutions has brought together an amazing group of people and companies to make this happen and better still has secured sponsorship from UNISA for a further 40 baristas 

If you or your company wants to sponsor a deaf person to do the UNISA "Introduction to Coffee" short course through eDEAF, the cost is R2700 per person, and there are 15 more Sponsiorships needed - go here to read more
or just email

Esther hugs the winner, Mduduzi.

Mduduzi runs through his set with the judges.

Rachel smiles for the judges...

...before putting down an excellent set!

Samukelo, only 21, was incredibly nervous but did very well considering the pressure!

Thabo, gives the thumbs up. 

Harold watches the sign language interpretation of WCE All Star Esther, as she congratulates the baristas

Thandiwe signs her name and introduces herself to the judges.

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Cafe of the Week: Ubud Coffee Roastery

Wednesday, 12 July, 2017
Ubud Coffee Roastery
Jl. Goutama Selatan
80571 Ubud


When I started my first cafe, two of our harshest (in a sweet way) critics who became two of my closest friends, were Rupert and Sara. Prolific travellers, they would come in daily and give me, the budding young barista, all sorts of unsolicited feedback which I took to heart and which definitely made me a better barista. I knew I wasn't doing too badly because they kept coming back. A couple years down the line and their son Jeremiah was born spending much of his first years at the roastery, I knew that they were the kind of friends that I would spend a lifetime getting to know. 

So it was with more than a little pride that I recently had the opportunity to visit Ubud Coffee Roastery in Bali, where Rupert convinced the owner of Taksu Spa that buying a coffee roaster was an excellent idea and the tiny cafe was born. It has quickly become a go to spot in bustling Ubud for amazing quality coffee. I was very excited to taste the Indonesian blend on offer. Sweet and rich, my cortado was extremely satisfying. I am certain that in large part, Rupert and Sara encouraged the birth of this cafe so that they would have a go-to coffee spot that meets with their palates. It seems the rest of the Ubud community and the many wandering travellers that pass through agree with their taste in coffee.

Rosyad, a former IT guy, has taken the reigns behind the roaster and has approached it with the same precision he would a delicate computer system, experimenting with roast profiles and logging all his endeavours, keen to learn as much as he can about coffee. The result is an amazing dedication to quality in the cafe. He and I sat and had a long chat about the different approaches to coffee across the globe and I was again reminded, as I am so often, about the unifying power of coffee. Experimentation is a top priority in this roastery and alternative brews are encouraged for people to take home with them when they buy a bag of beans.

A tiny gem in bustling Ubud, you should definitely seek it out if you're ever in this vibrant town. And I hear the massages at Taksu Spa across the road are amazing! Win win!

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Umpaul's Latte Art Lion

Friday, 14 July, 2017
The World Barista All Star's are in JHB this weekend, and one of these incredible baristas is South Korean Umpaul, the 2016 World Latte Art World Champion!

In celebration of being in Africa for the very first time - Umpaul, while teaching visitors to the Coffee & Chocolate expo,  busted out this Lion to the rapturous applause

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WCE All Stars in Johannesburg!

Friday, 14 July, 2017
 The All stars are here!  Check out the gallery.

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WIN with Coffee Magazine at Coffee&Chocolate this weekend, come say hi!

Friday, 14 July, 2017
We'll be hanging out at the All Stars stage this weekend at Coffee&Chocolate! There is so much exciting coffee stuff happening.

You can buy the latest edition of The Coffee Magazine and meet the team behind it. We will be giving away spot prizes like coffee t-shirts and we are running some pretty epic competitions if you buy your magazine at the show. Chat to one of the Coffee Magazine team, we're at the All Stars stage. 


We're giving away these amazing prizes over the course of the weekend:

2 x cases Barista Wine
1 x Brewing kit to the value of R2500 (Hario Pourover, Hario Hand grinder, Discover Great Coffee Box)
1 x Nuova Simonelli Oscar II to the value of R15 000

All you need to do to win is snap a pic of our magazine at Coffee&Chocolate and include the hashtag #coffeemagazine

This is an amazing opportunity to come meet coffee professionals from all over the world and learn things about their coffee cultures!

It's also the Gauteng Regional Latte Art and Cup Tasters, you can find the full schedule here.

And something we're so proud to be a part of, the first Deaf Barista Competition! It's going to be a great weekend!

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Winner of the Almond Breeze LAVC!

Thursday, 29 June, 2017

Fikile Khuzwayo, From Mr. Price group has won the inaugural Almond Breeze Latte Art Video Challenge, and the Grand Finals prize of R5000! Well done Fiks.

The Leaderboard at midnight, when the competition closed was as follows:

Final 6 Leaderboard
963 - Fikile Khuzwayo
727 - Innocent Chakanyuka
191 - Carl Vrolick
156 - Gino Fabbri
52 - Sbu Zibane
52 - Owen Chirilele


This competition is now closed - Standby for information on the LAVC Version 2.0, coming soon!

- -

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Craft: Tamp like a Champ

Thursday, 29 June, 2017

It’s a noise that is part of the fabric of making an espresso; that tapping of the tamper against the side of the portafilter after perfectly compacting the coffee, but many aren’t aware of the importance of the Tamper. Wayne Oberholzer, SA National Champ 2012 and 2016, gives us a bit of insight into this piece of barista equipment and TheCoffeeMag catches up with the foremost producer of quality tampers world wide, the legendary Reg Barber.

He was just an ordinary guy who wanted to make better coffee, now he’s known worldwide as The Tamper Man. Reg Barber will make you the tamper of your dreams. 

So what led to the moment that you decided to make your first tamper? Were you a barista?

I wanted to open a cafe, I went down to Seattle for Barista training and found out that they were using a tiny plastic tamper that was uncomfortable and hard to use. I decided that I'd find a way to make a better one when I got home. Pretty simple really.

On a scale of 1 to 10, just how important do you think it is to have a 'good' tamper as a barista?

It is definitely 10. It's like a server at a busy restaurant with a good pen. You need something comfortable and personal. Something that suits just you. 

What is your definition of a 'good' tamper?

A good tamper will fit the portafilter and your hand perfectly. It will have the right amount of weight for you and the base design will give you the pour you are looking for. And being pleasing to the eye is never a bad thing!

What do you think makes your tampers so world-renowned? (without giving away any secrets of course)

My tampers are well designed and made with precision. A big part of their popularity is the ability to personalise the tamper. There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of combinations that can go into a tamper. Handle material (various woods, aluminum, powder-coated, stainless steel), base material (stainless, aluminum, copper, etc.), base configurations (C-flat, Ripple, C-ripple)
colour combinations, handle heights and designs. And there is the laser engraving to totally personalize a tamper. It is possible to own a tamper that no one else in the world owns. I think that is very appealing. Also, I am always having fun by inventing new designs.

How has the coffee industry changed since you began making tampers in 1995?

The specialty coffee industry has been through so many changes. When I first started the importance of a good tamper wasn't even on the list. It's gone through so much growth and has had many achievements. It has grown from a handful of professionals to this huge family worldwide. 

And in terms of the design of tampers? Have there been many significant innovations through the years?

Absolutely. In the beginning I made a short tamper made of Maple and stainless steel. Throughout the years I have created new designs that I wanted to experiment with and listened to suggestions from others. The tampers I've designed and introduced that I think have been the most significant are the Radical Pro (a long thin handle design which forces one to put pressure at the base rather then higher up the handle), the C-flat, the Ripple and the C-Ripple (the ripple effect creates more surface area for the water to pass through the coffee encouraging a more even extraction). 

What have the highlights of your journey been?

My highlight has been the fact that the last eight World Barista Champions have used my tamper. Travel has also been very special to me, learning about different cultures in different countries, meeting people from all over the world and documenting the travel through my photography. 

How big is your team now, and just how many Tampers do you guys produce?

At this time, it’s still very much a small family business; it's my daughter, her husband and myself. In a typical year we will make 10,000 tampers. 

Do you have any advice for baristas looking to buy a tamper, what should they be looking for?

I think as long as it's one of mine they are headed in the right direction (followed by his signature jolly smile).

What tamper do you use? Does it just depend on your mood, or do you have an old faithful?

I don't actually have a favorite tamper, however I still have the very first one I ever made. My favorite might be the last one I made - I love creating and improving. 

Now we hear from Wayne Oberholzer, 2016 SA Barista Champion, about his special relationship with his tamper:

Anyone who is worth their salt as a barista has at least one on them at all times. I carry mine, Big Bertha, with me wherever I go. I have lost it a few times, but she always finds her way back to me.

My Reg Barber tamp, with a C-Ripple base, hybrid black handle with RB on the top, that weighs a perfect 502g, is my connection to coffee making. It sits perfectly in my hand like that of an inviting handshake from a great friend. I know exactly how it feels in my hand, I know when I am skew on my tamping, and I know just the right amount of weight I need to put on her to get that perfect tamp pressure. She gave me the extra help and confidence needed at the World Barista Championships last year. I love her.

I, like so many of my coffee friends, am the proud owner of my very own tamper; actually I have 4 tampers to be precise. A Nuova Simonelli WBC edition, Intelligentsia Black Cat, La Marzocco and, of course, my Reg Barber. For the coffee uninitiated, this may sound a bit ridiculous, but it does make a difference what tamper you use. Be it physical or be it mental, it makes a difference in the quality of coffee you can extract.

I once watched a program about rally drivers, and the amount of effort and attention to detail that goes into everything they do on the cars and with the drivers. Something that stood out to me was tyre choice, and how a lot of times, team principles would override the information from both the car and the tyre experts for the choice of the driver. They found that if a given compound and tread should give the car and driver more of an edge, if the driver was not happy with the choice, the car sometimes ran slower. However when the driver felt confident about his choice of tyres and equipment, he at times would out-perform the expectations of the equipment and run much faster times. It all came down to driver confidence.

Now I'm not trying to suggest that we baristas are high performance $500 000 pieces of equipment, but it does come down to confidence when producing quality espresso time and time again and just where do we get that confidence? It's my tamper, my coffee and my equipment. For almost all baristas, their tamper will forever remain a massive part of their coffee making experience. They give them names and look after them like small children. When we are spending time with colleagues in the coffee industry, we are constantly showing them off. They are our pride and joy in the coffee world.

So next time you see a bunch of grown men and woman huddling around each other and oohing and ahhing over these strange metal and wooden objects, you'll understand that we aren't crazy... Maybe not normal, but most certainly not crazy.

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