Is it possible even? We know, it's the worst.
What does your morning routine look like? Are you a ‘get up and go’ morning person, or a ‘don’t speak to me yet’ slow riser? Now that we’re heading into winter, it’s getting harder to get out of bed with anything resembling enthusiasm, so here are some tips for how to be more productive in the mornings – for those of us who require coffee before we start feeling vaguely human!
*Disclaimer: We know parents are scoffing at this article, we realise your little humans make you super productive in the mornings. We hope coffee helps a tad.
Above all else, always keep good coffee in the house.
That sinking feeling when you realise there are no good beans in the house. No, I have no idea what that feels like, I never let that happen. Whether you need to pop in to your favourite local roastery on your way home from work or order beans online from the amazing companies that do such things, don't be left without your favourite form of caffeine in the house. A good coffee to start the morning makes all the difference.
Prepare for the morning…the night before
If you can get into the habit of preparing the night before, you’ll encounter less obstacles the next morning when you’re tired and have trouble making decisions. If you’ve already laid out your clothes for the day, sorted your kids' school stuff, know what you’re going to have for breakfast, set out everything you need for your first coffee, and made a list of the day’s ‘to do’ tasks, you don’t have to be firing on all cylinders and yet you’ll already have achieved half of what you need to get done. When you start your day productively, the rest of it will usually fall in line.
Say no to screen time
You might wake up early, but if you generally find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and before you know it, 30 minutes have passed, this one’s for you! When you wake up, force yourself not to pick up your cellphone. Your phone is quicksand! If you open your email, you’ll be sucked into the vacuum of tasks and to do’s. Don’t procrastinate starting your morning by falling into a black hole of social media and work worries. You’ll be far more productive if you set a time that you’re allowed to pick up your phone again, and then stick to it.
Reward yourself for not pressing the snooze button
You start your day on the back foot if you’re pressing snooze for five more minutes…every five minutes. So, set one alarm, make sure it’s across the room so that you have to physically get up, and then head straight for the kitchen. If you’ve prepped your coffee routine the night before, everything should be ready and waiting so that your morning caffeine kick doesn’t take much to get going.
While you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, enjoy the quiet time and appreciate those few minutes of having nothing to do but wait. Then, when you’ve got your coffee in hand, reward yourself for not hitting snooze by taking the time to enjoy drinking it. You’ll carry that moment of calm and relaxation with you through the rest of the day.
Read or write something
Either spend 10-15 minutes reading something – preferably a good book and not your emails – or writing down your thoughts. Getting your thoughts down on paper can help to clear your mind of any worries so that you’re not starting the day feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes referred to as ‘morning pages’, these notes are just for you – to get your thoughts in order. Both the act of writing and reading can be considered creative, and it’s said that satisfying your creative side can reduce stress – definitely a good way to start the day.
What are your top tips for a morning routine that fosters a more productive day?
An ocean dwelling surfer thrust into the Namib desert with a film crew on assignment, finding coffee in the most unlikely places and learning to deal without it.
Words By John McCarthy
The water was cold and there was a slight current pulling me downstream towards the sea, but my body reveled in the exercise and I still managed to beat the ferry on the crossing.
I’d driven the trusty Land Cruiser production vehicle onto the ferry at Fielsdrif and then for a spot of morning exercise decided to swim across the Orange River into Namibia. Invigorated and refreshed I arrived in Namibia with one thing on my mind. Coffee.
As is customary when I find myself in a different county I have three fundamental priorities. I won’t get into the details of the other two now, but high on that list is getting my caffeine fix.
My travelling companions were what I loosely refer to as coffee peasants. Stefan, PJ and Harry were more than satisfied to start the day with a cup of Frisco or the like and they couldn’t understand my quest to find real coffee.
When working closely and travelling extensively with other people you quickly pick up on their habits and rituals. To start the day, Stefan would always roll a cigarette while PJ brewed up whatever intolerable brew it was he carried with him. Instant coffee, two sugars and ‘melk’, along with nicotine, surely the power behind the South African film industry? Sipping his sweet milky Frisco and blowing plumes of blue smoke straight up at the heavens, the intense thirty-year old camera operator would pace restlessly around the Land Cruiser. PJ followed his every move. Six months into quitting, the fifty-something producer/director lusted hard for the nicotine that Stefan was pulling deep into his lungs. Young Harry, the sound guy, had yet to develop any significant addictions and jovially greeted each day happy to go with the flow in a way only a twenty-year old on his first real adventure can do.
My escape from South Africa was well made. Like a flock of Gollum’s from Lord of The Rings, the inhabitants of Port Nolloth all seem to be infected with an obsession with the little sparkling stones, all the while pretending that they aren’t hungry for diamonds. For such a small town the number of dealers, smugglers, divers and cops is ridiculous. They literally trip over each other in the local supermarket. A lot of people might have got rich on diamonds in Port Nolloth, but I doubt anyone ever found real caffeine satisfaction there, it is a bloody coffee wilderness.
While the vast beauty and emptiness of the Namibian Richtersveldt kept me entertained, it wasn’t exactly bo-chic coffee shop central. By the time I arrived in Luderitz I was Jonesing hard. Unlike young Harry, the sound guy, I’ve had plenty of time to develop a basket load of addictions and caffeine sits right up there amongst the best and worse of them. The depravation was fuelling a storm in my head and I was starting to think mean, nasty and unprintable thoughts.
The ancient German architecture and old streets seem to grow out of the black rock in the Bay that Bartholomew Diaz discovered hundreds of years ago. He named it Angra Pequena or ‘Little Bay’ after taking refuge from a winter gale there. As we drove down the main street in the little town, unbelievably right there on the corner was a coffee shop named ‘Diaz’.
Serendipity, co-incidence, call it what you will, but after what seems like a lifetime working from coffee shops I’ve developed a sixth sense for venues that serve good coffee and I had a very good feeling about Diaz Coffee Shop, tagline: Coffees with Attitude.
It turns out I wasn’t wrong. The friendly and very creative baristas were a breath of fresh air. The coffee was full bodied and delicious, the milk not too hot or too cold and the latte art incredible. Stefan paced restlessly outside pulling hard on his rolo. PJ scowled at the price of the coffee and watched Stefan as he inhaled and exhaled with exaggerated indifference. Harry couldn’t hide his astonishment at the art on his drink or the smooth velvety texture of the way it slid down his throat. There was a certain satisfaction in watching Harry lose his coffee virginity properly for the first time. When we re-emerged into the Namibian sunlight fifteen minutes later, the world was a much better place.
Luderitz was our jump off point for the desert, which was the whole purpose of us filming in Namibia. The Soft Namib is said to be the oldest desert in the world. We obtained special permission and a guide to take us into the most remote areas of the Spiergebeite or ‘forbidden area’. No roads, no sign of mankind, the travel and driving was heavy going. The two Land Cruisers earned their keep in those dunes. The 4.2-liter diesel and the 4.5-liter petrol engine, which was a beast of a machine, worked together to gain us access, but also retain our lifeline to the outside. PJ was relentless, as hard as we drove the machines; he drove us to get the shot. We were up in the dark, worked all day and collapsed in a stupor after a simple meal in the dark. The water we had was brackish and consequently anything we cooked (home brew coffee included) tasted bad. Most of the time we were too tired to care. The nighttime temperatures in the desert plummeted and I slept fully clothed hunkered down in my sleeping bag with my boots on! The work was hard but the pictures were astonishing and for the first time on the trip PJ actually smiled. Adrift on a sea of monstrous dunes we explored and filmed the secrets of the desert. The grit of that sand sank into the fabric of our clothes our beards and our skin. I became used to the sensation of it grinding between my teeth. In the afternoons when the wind blew there was no escaping it. The harder the conditions, the more beautiful the pictures and the happier PJ became. His scowling observation of Stefan was replaced by an irrepressible grin, besides Stefan didn’t have time to smoke because anywhere you pointed a camera was a shot. If he wasn’t shooting he was trying to clean or get the sand out of the cameras. The weight fell off us. Harry’s cherubic rosy-faced cheeks were blackened by the sun, wind and sand of the Namibian desert, while all the time PJ became happier and more cheerful. It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. All too soon it seemed we were headed back towards civilization. Getting back to civilization involved an entire day of driving through the dunes alone, then a further 800km on dirt roads the next day where we saw only three cars the whole day.
It was with mixed feelings that I arrived in Swakopmund. The desert had certainly woven its spell on me, but the prospect of a hot shower, followed by cold beer, good coffee and some surfing also sounded pretty good. Swakop is a cultural and sensual oasis in the wilderness; it is also the adventure capital of Namibia. With the day off from the hectic filming schedule I sauntered into town looking for coffee and then surf, in that order.
As luck would have it I wouldn’t have to stroll far before I stumbled across Slowtown Coffee Roasters. What a score! Dennis De Wet is the owner manager and he is a surfer. He happily dialed me into the local surf options. His primary business is supplying other Namibian Coffee shops from his recently relocated roastery. His own coffee shop is young, energetic and friendly, just like it’s owner. It is a hangout for locals and tourists alike and the coffee was delicious. I ordered a take-away cappuccino but the vibe was so cool and Dennis so informative and friendly I ended up drinking it in the store, while shooting the breeze. Why does coffee always taste better out of paper take away cups? After my sojourn in the desert it was heavenly to indulge my epicurean tastes again. Grabbing a bag of beans on the way out, I left Dennis’ store flying high on the good stuff, which in his case comes from South America.
I’m prone to falling in love in coffee shops and Slowtown was no exception. In my brief visit there I realized I’d fallen in love with one of the baristas, several of the patrons and quite a bit of the Namibian landscape in general. It’s amazing stuff, coffee and the desert does funny things to a man…
48 hours in Swakopmund: A local’s guide
By Dennis de Wet of Slowtown Coffee Roasters
TripAdvisor is the go-to for travellers across the globe. So a high rating is really important for local cafes.
There are hundreds of great cafés to choose from in South Africa, which makes compiling a ‘top 10’ list almost impossible. So, we’ve put together a selection of TripAdvisor’s finest coffee spots – those with a review rating of 4.5 or higher who also received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. The Certificate of Excellence celebrates businesses that have consistently earned glowing reviews in the last year. And in no particular order…
Highland Coffee Roastery
Market Street, Clarens
“Vibey venue with great service and mountain views to boot” – Praveen Dwarika
Highland Coffee seems to be the perfect place to relax with a locally roasted coffee (and a croissant!) while enjoying the spectacular views that Clarens has to offer. This coffee shop on the corner of the town square is said to be warm and welcoming, and the staff go out of their way to provide good service. “We can’t get enough” is a frequent comment, and Highland’s coffee was even referred to as on par with Paris, Vienna and Prague according to one traveller! High praise indeed.
Terbodore Coffee Roasters
87 Old Main Road, Curry’s Post, Howick
“I have been fortunate enough to experience Terbodore’s wonderful food, setting and coffee more times than I can remember.” – Sam H.
According to reviews, it’s worth a drive just to enjoy the aroma of roasting coffee, the Great Danes who wander the property (who are also the Terbodore mascots), and the food that draws people in droves. A booking is a necessity because the restaurant is so popular – forget dropping in and expecting a table on a busy weekend! Reviewers love the ambience that Terbodore have created, and it sounds especially cozy in winter, when you can expect a roaring fire.
Origin Coffee Roasting
28 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town
“Watching the siphons and aero presses going is lots of fun. The baristas really know their stuff.” – Yvette W.
Origin is apparently THE place to go for breakfast if you’re staying nearby, and reviewers highly recommend the eggs benedict. With fast and friendly service and an extensive coffee menu, Origin is a favourite amongst coffee-loving locals and foreigners alike. The coffee variety is as broad as the brewing methods on offer, and customers love the interior and the atmosphere that Origin has created.
African Roots Coffee
6 Lagoon Drive, The Pearls, Umhlanga Rocks
“Amazing quality organic and artisanal food paired with the best coffee in Africa (single origin beans responsibly sourced from African countries).” – Julian A.
With 100% Arabica, single origin coffee, responsibly sourced only from this continent, African Roots Coffee is making a name for itself. Reviewers cannot recommend it enough, and love the coffee on offer – from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Zambia and Kenya. Customers have a hard time leaving without purchasing a bag of beans or ground coffee to take home with them. You can while away the time in the relaxed setting, enjoying the jazz music and exceptional service, making it a firm favourite amongst customers.
Truth Coffee Roasting
36 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town City Centre
“Interesting artifacts, incredible grinding machine, moody music and great coffee” – Stephen C.
If you’re looking for a quirky ambience to go with your great coffee, look no further. According to reviewers, Truth offers a different way to drink coffee. With the staff in steampunk attire and a dark interior like something out of a Jules Verne science fiction novel, the atmosphere is almost as popular as the coffee. “Best coffee ever” comes up frequently in the reviews, and apparently you can’t go wrong with the Croque Monsieur.
There are MANY more highly recommended cafés to visit according to TripAdvisor. Make sure you check out the best coffee places nearest you!
We are thrilled that the WCEP Judges Training will be taking place in Durban from 24 - 28 July. It is integral that we get more African judges on the World Stage if we wish to improve our standing at the World Coffee Events competitions. In South Africa we are very lucky to have the skills of Teija Lublinkhof, who was the 2017 Head Judge for the World Barista Championships, be part of our local competitions, and now along with Annemarie Tiemes of the Netherlands, South Africans will have the opportunity to join them in comprehensive training to possibly also become a judge on the world stage. The training is also available for competitors, coaches or anyone interested in gaining these invaluable skills in tasting coffee.
All the details can be found on the SCASA website.
Kwa Zulu Natal, Ciro Coffee Academy
24-26 July 2018: WBC Training | Tuesday – Thursday
26 July 2018: Latte Art Training | Thursday afternoon
26 July 2018: Ibrik Demonstration | Thursday evening
27 July 2018: WBC Certification Exams
28 July 2018: Coffee in Good Spirits | Saturday Morning
What is WCEP?
WCEP stands for World Competitions Education Program. The WCEP was developed by World Coffee Events’ Instructional Design Sub-Committee (IDSC) to provide in-depth instruction about world competitions.
The WCEP is specifically focused on Competitions Training, to improve the understanding of this and includes reviewing current rules and regulations, competition procedures, judging skills, and how competitions are judged. These modules are suited for anyone interested in competition, as a judge, competitor or coach. They are also geared toward developing the competencies tested in the Judge Certification, which is a partner program from World Coffee Events. As such, these modules are not meant to be taught directly preceding any competition in order to allow time for practice and habituation of the materials. It is recommended that these modules are taught at least one month prior to the Judge Certification or three months prior to the national competition to allow attendees to hone their skills before attempting certification (if they so desire) or to fully prepare for competition either as a judge or a barista.
Completing WCEP for one of the WCE championships is equal to one year of this specific National Body sanctioned Championship judge experience for those who are interested in attending the WCE Judge Certification. All attendees who have attended and finished the course will receive an official certificate of participation.
Who is it right for?
The WCEP is NOT a test. It is competition training, done in the safety of a classroom, with room for questions and discussion, and it can be used for many purposes. It is good for:
ANY INTERESTED PARTY
The beauty of WCEP is that it goes deep with the information, training skills and is transparent. It essentially raises the perceived curtain on competitions, and allows anyone to deeply understand how competition works—from an expert’s perspective.
How much does it cost?
There will be an opportunity to take part to World Barista Championship (WBC) Judge Certification.
To attend a WCE Judge Certification, participants must meet the following prerequisites:
Cancellation and Refund Policy
SCASA reserves the right to cancel a WCEP at any time. In the event of a SCAE cancellation, registrants will be offered an opportunity to transfer registration to another planned workshop. In the event of a cancellation or no-show by a registrant without a valid reason (to be decided at the discretion of SCASA and WCEP instructors) an administration fee will be charged. - 20% of the registration fee for cancelation more than 10 working days of the start of the WCEP. - 50% of the registration fee for cancelation less than 10 working days of the start of the WCEP
How do you prepare for WCEP?
Read/learn and print out the Rules and Regulations and score-sheets of the competitions you are attending as well as Judges Code of Conduct. Prepare any questions you might have at this moment and check if they are answered during the training. If not, ask them at the end of the respective competition training,
How do I register?
AGENDA | Training in Kwa Zulu Natal (Durban)
Monday 18h30pm Dinner with SCASA Board of Directors
Tuesday 24 July 2018 (Venue | Ciro Coffee Academy)
9am Welcome coffee
WBC S1 Sensory Judge Score-sheets
14h00pm WBC S2 Sensory Skills Application
17h00pm End of the day
Wednesday 25 July 2018 (Venue | Ciro Coffee Academy)
9am Coffee to ease in the day and prepare your palate
9.30am UNV D1 Deliberation
WBC S3 Sensory Judge Stage Behaviour
14h00pm WBC S3 Sensory Judge Stage Behaviour UNV D2 Debriefing
17h00pm End of the day
18h00pm Ibrik demonstration (Venue to be confirmed)
Thursday 26 July 2018 (Venue | Ciro Coffee Academy)
7am - 9am Coffee to ease in the day at Creative Coffee Week HQ - Durban Promenade
9.30am UNV T1 Technical Judge Score-sheets
UNV T2 Technical Judge Stage Behaviour
14h00pm WLAC Judge Scoresheet, Calibration and Stage Behaviour
17h30pm Attend the Almond Breeze Latte Art Throwdown (Venue to be confirmed)
Friday 27 July 2018 (Venue | Ciro Coffee Academy)
7am - 9am Coffee to ease in the day at Creative Coffee Week HQ - Durban Promenade
9.30-17.00 WBC Certification Exams
18h00 Creative Coffee Week get together (venue to be confirmed)
Saturday 28 July 2018 (Venue to be confirmed)
7am - 9am Coffee to ease in the day at Creative Coffee Week HQ - Durban Promenade
9.30am WCIGS Score-sheets & Stage Behaviour
13h00pm End of the day
18h30pm Certificates to be handed out at Coffee Magazine Awards Gala Dinner
All times are estimates and can be changed at the discretion of the organisers, regular breaks will be scheduled as appropriate
We love the team over at Deluxe Coffeeworks so we were excited to hear of a new collaboration with Boston Breweries.
Pose the question “Brew?” to someone, and their answer will normally define their lifestyle. If they say “Cheers! Nothing like sipping a cold one” you’re looking at a confirmed beer drinker. If, however, the answer is “Double espresso – hold the milk,” we have a coffee connoisseur on our hands.
And now there’s a third option, brought to you by Boston Breweries and Deluxe Coffeeworks: an option that will leave both sets of brew addicts licking their lips and looking for more – Black River Coffee Stout. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a jet-black brew with a toffee coloured head with an unmistakable aroma of perfectly roasted coffee beans. With a hint of delicious malt in the background, this is a taste-bud activating scent that invites that deep first sip.
A caffeinated beer? “Absolutely!” says Chris Barnard, Chief Brewer and MD of innovative Boston Breweries craft brewing company. “This is a stout: a drink that is to be savoured rather than chugged. It is the perfect evening drink, and is ideal at meal time too. It’s a fantastic accompaniment to sweeter foods, and the subtle carbonation makes it perfect to cleanse palates after creamy dishes.” Black River Coffee Stout lives up to the reputation that stouts have built since 1677: hugely popular dark brown beers made with roasted malts: they were stout by name and stout by nature. Boston Breweries have stuck with the centuries old brewing tradition, but with a coffee flavoured twist that would have had our ancestors drooling.
Judd Francis Nicolay, co-founder and operations manager of Deluxe Coffeeworks is in full agreement. “Black River Coffee Stout fits the Deluxe Coffee profile to perfection. We are passionate about coffee and we think that this is good enough reasons for us to do what we do: roast, supply and serve coffee in the best way we know how. In Black River Coffee Stout our coffee taste is brilliantly captured, and we are proud to be collaborating with Boston Breweries on this great stout.”
This adventurous approach also highlights the Deluxe Coffeeworks team’s belief that what counts in the world of coffee is not hackneyed tradition, but what the clients want, and how they like to consume their brew. This is reflected in Deluxe Coffeeworks laid back, old-school fashion: great music, good company and perfectly brewed coffee. Add the Boston Breweries innovation and brewing perfection to this mix and you end up with a whole new world of taste and flavour; a world where brews collide to create a drink that is reminiscent of two completely different, but equally refreshing processes. The sticker on Black River Coffee Stout’s bottles says it perfectly: “Where brewing meets the grind!”
Deluxe Coffeeworks full-bodied, full flavoured and smooth coffee beans enhancing Boston Breweries perfected brewing methods promises to be a ground-breaking move that will set the beer and coffee drinking worlds alight. Available in both bottles and traditional kegs, Black River Coffee Stout with its thick, chocolate coloured head and superb coffee flavour notes is a brewing innovation whose time has come.
"Boston Breweries have been brewing craft beers for 18 years, and that experience and expertise is found in every bottle of beer that is carefully brewed by our team. Established in Cape Town as an all South African owned and managed Brewery we pride ourselves on making quality beer in the traditional fashion – by hand. Recently the team partnered up with popular coffee company Deluxe Coffeeworks – and we are thrilled to finally be able to share the news of our exciting collaboration with them."
America’s oldest living man just celebrated his 112th birthday, which is pretty impressive. And what does Richard Overton attribute his longevity to? A cup of coffee every morning – with a splash of whiskey for good measure!
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Overton (also America’s oldest living World War II veteran) shared his daily habits, and they’re hardly what the experts would recommend for living a long and healthy life. Overton starts his morning (very early at 3am) with something sweet, like waffles or pancakes, and pairs that with several cups of coffee served with three spoons of sugar (and a splash of whiskey).
"You put a taste of whiskey in your coffee in the morning," Overton told Cigar Aficionado. "It's like medicine."
So that's the secret to living a long life! We can get behind that!
The Texas resident also smokes a dozen cigars a day. He once met with comedian, Steve Harvey, who asked him what the secret was to living a long life, and Overton replied, “Just keep living, don’t die.”
We may take a pass on the cigars, but there seems to be a pattern forming on the coffee front. Richard Overton isn’t the only centenarian (a person who is a 100+ years old) who hails coffee as one of the ingredients for living a long life. Art Stieglieter, a retired Fire Department Captain from Chicago, just turned 100 and attributes his longevity to his daily caffeine fix. As he told the Chicago Tribune: “I'm a big coffee drinker and have at least six to eight cups a day. I've read articles that say you have longevity if you drink coffee.”
When Downing Jett Kay of Baltimore turned 107, she also said drinking lots of coffee had helped her to live a long life. While the real secret to longevity might just be good genes, there’s definitely some evidence in favour of caffeine. So, the next time someone questions your coffee habit, you can respond that a cup of coffee or seven (probably) isn’t going to kill you!
Gordon can make 120 cups of coffee per hour. Gordon the Robot Barista that is. You might be wondering; can a robot really make a good cup of coffee? Cafe X, an American start-up, seems to think so – they recently opened their first machine-operated café in San Francisco…
The robot barista operates professional coffee machines to serve everything from espressos, to flat whites, cortados, and lattes; all for less than $3, and no tip required. That doesn’t mean the café doesn’t employ any people though – there are staff on-hand to help customers place orders, clean the equipment, and resupply the ingredients.
Customers place their orders through a mobile app or on an iPad at the café. The ordering and scheduling software takes care of the rest, and before you know it, your coffee is ready. ‘Gordon’ even delivers your coffee with a flourish – a “ta-da!” gesture as your coffee is presented to you.
The Robotic CoffeeBar 2.0
The man behind the machine is Henry Hu, a 24-year-old college dropout, who got the idea for automating coffee while he was studying technology and entrepreneurship at Babson College in Massachusetts. As a coffee drinker, Hu was tired of waiting in long lines at cafés, and wanted to find a way to get a faster caffeine fix.
Inspired by the automation of production in the automotive industry, Hu went to work on a robotic arm prototype, and was awarded the Thiel Fellowship, which gives $100,000 to young people who “want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom”. Hu also secured millions in seed funding from other investors.
A fast fix
The benefit of ‘Gordon’ the robot barista, according to Hu, is that, “by being automated, we guarantee every cup of coffee you are served from a Cafe X machine is how the roaster intended you to enjoy their coffee.” The café serves three single-origin roasts, a blend, and cold brew, and works with the roasters to fine-tune each recipe to ensure precision, consistency and ultimately, high quality coffee. And all at speed – with the robotic arm able to churn out between 100 to 120 orders per hour.
What do you think? Could you get used to a robot pulling your espresso?