Coffee, sports cars and all things Italian at Domus Home

Friday, 18 May, 2018

All words and images by Isle van der Merwe.

Domus Home in Brooklyn, Pretoria hosted an Italian Day featuring coffee, Italian food and sports cars!.  Costa, the owner or father of the Home, has had a long-standing passion for coffee spanning more than 20 years, a hobby that grew into a perfect complementary addition to his business.

A little while back Costa took the plunge and invested in a Genio White Roaster. This addition to the family enabled Costa to produce his own brand of coffee, Le Bon. Since then, this range of artisanal roasts has grown with a variety of roasts produced by top quality, fair trade beans. Costa is extremely enthusiastic about fresh, quality coffee and even develops personalized signature blends to meet every pallet

There was a warm and welcoming atmosphere, between sports cars, pizza ovens, and the beautiful aroma of freshly roasted coffee. It was like a big family gathering rather than a public event and members of the public were invited to share amazing food, great coffee and even enjoy some locally produced Gin and organic wines.

So if you find yourself in the Capital City on a hunt for some top quality freshly roasted coffee, high-quality coffee machines, coffee accessories or décor ideas go explore Domus Home.  And don't be surprised if you leave feeling apart of the family.


Costa imparting some of his valuable knowledge


Neil of Genio Roasters is the engineering mind behind the development, design, and manufacturing of Costa's Genio Roaster. Niel also joined in for the festivities and helped demonstrate the roasting process.


Guests enjoying the ambiance and amazing food 


Focaccia bread for tasting made in the phenomenal and versatile Al Fresco wood-fired Pizza Ovens  


The lovely and talented Kelly of The Captial Gin, who specialises in small batch hand crafted Gin


A few of the heart-pumping sports cars on display for the day

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The New SCASA Board: How you can get involved

Friday, 18 May, 2018

Nominations for the new Board of Directors for the Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa close today! There is still an opportunity to put forward the name of someone you think could make a positive contribution to the SA coffee industry and the coffee competitions that SCASA runs.


The current Board have served their 2 year term, including our publisher Iain Evans. Now they need new people to volunteer to continue to push the Association forward.


From the SCASA website:


SCASA needs you! Do you know someone who could contribute positively to the growth of our Association? Please nominate them before the 18 May.

Please read our current Chairperson Lani Snyman's announcements before casting your nominations about the things lined up for the coming year.

SCASA is looking for some fresh ideas and new people to steer the Association in a positive way. Anybody with a passion for coffee and a willingness to volunteer their skill-set (whatever that might be) is encouraged to get involved to help improve the Association and the industry as a whole.

A new structure will be worked out by the Board once all nominations are received, so specific roles and functions are not yet known, but we need willing Members to put their hands up to take SCASA forward.

If you are that person or you know someone who could contribute, please download and fill out the Nomination form and send to by latest 18 May."


Once nominations close, people will be able to vote. Please follow the SCASA Facebook Page to keep up to date with this process.

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Fast Facts: Achieve optimal water for your coffee at home!

Tuesday, 15 May, 2018


Your coffee is 98%water. It makes sense then that we should take a little care in what water we use for our coffee, especially when buying top quality beans from your favourite local roaster. We try control all the other elements of our coffee brewing like temperature of the water, grind size – water quality should be no different. Bad water makes bad coffee. Here are some fast facts:

What are the main minerals that effect coffee flavour? 

As rainwater falls, it is naturally soft. However, as water makes its way through the ground and into our waterways, it picks up minerals like chalk, lime and mostly calcium and magnesium. Water hardness is a measure of the amount of magnesium and calcium that is dissolved in water. Water rich in these two minerals (magnesium in particular) are great at bringing out the best in coffee flavoring compounds. If the water is too hard though, the effect is also not good and can be very detrimental for equipment. On the other hand, soft water tastes salty and is sometimes not suitable for drinking. Everything in moderation!

So to get a flavourful coffee, there must be some mineral content in the water. If the water is distilled, or if it has been softened too much (softening is the process of removing minerals), the extraction will be weak, and the beverage will be relatively flavourless.


What is the international standard?

Ronny Billemon, WQA Master Water Specialist that works at Pentair International and is in charge of creating the water for the World Barista Championship has this advice to offer:

“For WBC, over the past years we have been using in average a water with +/- 120 – 130 ppm mineral concentration conductivity and a pH +/- 7.
Which positions us right within the “ideal world” for optimal extraction, quality crema on the espresso and finest aroma and flavor development. This water spec guidance can be used for all levels of coffee brewing. Yet, for specialty coffee – single origin coffee filter brewing - they quite often the lower TDS range with a focus on the finest aroma and flavors rather than body in the cup.” 

Lower range mineral concentration (> 50 ppm): Brings a bright, pure balanced coffee with the finest aromas and flavors making the difference, however, a lower body development in the cup. 

Water with a higher mineral content (> 100 ppm): Will deliver a richer coffee flavor, more body, balanced and deliver stronger crema on the espresso.

Mineral content is measured in Parts Per Million. Hardness range is measuring Magnesium, Calcium and Bicarbonate. SCAA recommended TDS: 150ppm


Where does South African municipal water sit on this spectrum?

In South Africa we are relatively well off in terms of the quality of the municipal water that comes through our taps. Water in Rand Water’s area of supply (Gauteng municipalities) ranges from 60 to 110 mg/lCaCO3, thus they have a moderately soft to slightly hard water. At the SCASA National Barista Championships held in Durban last year, the water was brought into question as being too soft, which led to the flavour of the coffees being dulled. 

Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, who wrote an entire book along with Christopher Hendon called Water for Coffee says “Your ideal solution varies depending on your water source. Currently your most sensible solution is to understand your water source to decide which treatment you should use.” You should also check out his new water jug project, Peak Water. Also, did you know that Maxwell is coming to South Africa?! Check out Creative Coffee Week here.

You can visit our full guide on water in SA’s major city centres here.

What are your options? 

Carbon Filter- If you are unhappy with the caliber of your at-home water, the first option that you have is to filter it. The SCAA water brewing guidelines state that water should be clean, odor-free, clear with no chlorine. Pitcher filters use activated carbon to remove some water impurities, odors as well as chlorine or chloramine if they are present. These types of filters are cheap and readily available. There are also faucet-mounted filters of this type. 

Reverse Osmosis - Reverse osmosis (RO) is a process where all the minerals are taken out of the water. What is left is water that has virtually nothing in it. You would think that this would be ideal for brewing coffee, but it is not. Brewing with straight reverse osmosis water will produce a flat cup of coffee not unlike the coffee made with soft water. Reverse osmosis water is missing all those magnesium and calcium minerals that enhance coffee flavor. 

Bottled Water – You can always brew your coffee with bottled water, however this is not a cut and dry issue either. Not all bottled waters are created equal, in fact, they can vary wildly in mineral content, pH and suitability for coffee. 

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Cutting out waste: A Midlands Cafe and Roastery is taking serious action.

Thursday, 10 May, 2018

Steampunk Coffee in the KZN, Midlands is taking some extreme measures to reduce their waste.

Michael Goddard, the man behind the business, explains their philosophy best himself.

When Steampunk started they used only take away cups so they've taken a full 180 with this decision. We have to give the team kudos. This philosophy will not be for everyone, but you might have noticed that we are very much in favour of cutting out as much single use as possible, so well done Team Steampunk! They are also trying to reduce using bags for their coffee beans too, using glass jars for retail and plastic buckets for their wholesale customers.

You can make a difference one cup at a time. Already all packaging companies have had to look into more eco friendly options or look into special recycling plants for normal take-away cups. Every bit helps. We've got to change the way we think about single use!

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New Kid on the Block: Skyline Coffee x BigBox Co.

Thursday, 10 May, 2018

Skyline Coffee x BigBox Co.

155 Gordon Rd, Morningside, Durban, 4001

The coffee community in South Africa is pretty tight knit, so when we heard that the legends at Skyline Coffee were putting down some roots we got very excited.

Jamie and Dylan Da Silva have been peddling the good stuff for many years in South Africa and when an opportunity came up with the team from BigBox Co to open a cafe and set up a permanent home just off Florida Road in Durban, we new it was going to be good.

We were not disappointed.

The space is beautifully designed and set up to be perfect as an office away from the office just with much better coffee. We look forward to them settling in and growing with their new community. We already have our sights set on an event or two there.

And Jamie, well done on the neon sign, we bow down to you, Instagram queen. We do so love to Break the Rules!

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5 Gift Ideas for Mom's who love(&need) coffee!

Wednesday, 9 May, 2018

5 Gifts for Coffee-loving Moms this Mother’s Day


Does your mom take her coffee seriously? Is her morning coffee ritual a sacred affair? If there are few things in life that bring her more joy than great coffee, then this list is for you – five coffee-related gifts for mom this Mother’s Day…

And if you'd like to win your mom an awesome Discover Great Coffee Box worth R500 then tag her name in the comments below!


Double Walled Cappuccino Glasses

For the mom that’s multitasking, there’s nothing worse than coffee getting cold. So get her a set of double walled cappuccino glasses, which will protect her hands from the heat, and keep her coffee hot, just the way she likes it! These glasses are comfortable to hold and add a touch of elegance to any coffee routine. The transparent glass is simple and stylish, showing off the beautiful caramel hues of every cup of coffee. We recommend the Humble & Mash or the DeLonghi Double Walled Cappuccino Glasses.


Le Creuset French Press

The Le Creuset Stoneware French Press is a coffee pot with serious style. Available in almost every colour under the sun, this plunger with a metal press is something your mom can show off on any occasion. Go on, give her a beautiful, timeless gift that elevates her coffee experience so that every coffee moment is one to be savoured.

Milk Frother

There’s nothing quite as nice as a fresh hot, frothy cup of coffee – especially when the froth is velvety smooth – what an indulgent treat! An electric milk frother is a great gift for mom because it’s the perfect companion to any hot beverage. It both heats and froths milk in just a few minutes, and your mom won’t need a barista to make her latte at home something special. And with winter coming soon, doesn’t a hot chocolate topped with creamy foam sound amazing? Your mom probably thinks so. We recommend the DeLonghi Alicia Latte Milk Frother or the Jura Automatic

Travel Mug

For the mom on the go, an eco-friendly reusable coffee mug (that looks as good as it travels) makes for a great gift. What about one of the beautiful Ecoffee Cup William Morris designs? Holding 400ml of delicious java, these environmentally friendly travel mugs are made with natural bamboo fibre, are dishwasher friendly, and stylish to boot! Otherwise what about a KeepCup made from tempered glass and sustainably-sourced natural cork? Their cute designs are perfect for keeping your mom fueled with caffeine while she’s out and about.

DIY Gift Box

If none of the above strike your fancy, give a gift with a more personal touch and make up a gift box for your mom! Fill it with one or two bags of single origin coffee beans, delicious biscotti, artisan dark chocolate, and a set of fancy mugs from the Carrol Boyes or Le Creuset Stoneware range. You could even throw in a candle and a good book – give her everything she needs to turn an ordinary coffee break into something special.

The DIscover Great Coffee Box

This box include 6 bags of delicious coffee from around the country. It's the gift that keeps on giving amazing cups of coffee. Yum! You can order it here to be delivered to your mom's door.


And of course, if you’re really looking to spoil your mom, you can never go wrong with a bean to cup coffee machine! But no matter what gift you decide to get her, remember to celebrate your mom and everything she’s done for you this Mother’s Day – if anyone deserves a coffee break, it’s her.



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Gauteng Coffee Champions 2018

Wednesday, 9 May, 2018

Congratulations to returning Champion, Ishan Natalie​ of Starbucks South Africa​, for making his comeback and taking the Gauteng Barista Championship. Well done to all competitors, you guys are all legends. Experience won the day, so if you're just starting out, don't be disheartened; the Top 6 have been working for years to get to be the best!

Another excellent event by Food and Hospitality Africa​ and the Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa​ Sponsors and volunteers, we were so happy to be a part of it!

Mbongiseni Nkomo of thirdspace walked away with the Latte Art Trophy and Thabang Maluleka of Ciro was crowned GP Cup Tasters Champion! Both these gentlemen competed at Nationals last year and their experience shows on stage. 

Itumeleng David Zono of The Hospitality Solutions Company must be commended on being a Finalist in both the Latte Art and Cup Tasters competitions. Well done!

Once again the TriBeCa crew were extremely strong and Harry Mole and John Evans retained their positions in the Top 6. In fact, the GP Top 6 was unchanged except for the Starbucks competitor changing from Musa Magwaza to Ishan Natalie! That's pretty crazy! The scores in the Top 6 on Finals Day were also incredibly close so these guys are really at the top of their game right now.

All the below Finalists have qualified for the National Competition which will be held in early 2019.

Barista Championship:
Winner: Ishan Natalie - Starbucks South Africa
2nd: Harry Mole - TriBeCa Coffee
3rd: Trevor Fitz - Independent
4th: Khulekani Mpala - Wiesenhof Roastery
5th: Mbongiseni Benedictus Nkomo - thirdspace
6th: John Gareth Evans - TriBeCa Coffee

Latte Art:
Winner: Mbongiseni Benedictus Nkomo - thirdspace
2nd: Itumeleng Zono - HSC - The Hospitality Solutions Company

Cup Tasters:
Winner: Thabang Klainbaas Maluleka - Ciro Full Service Beverage Co.
2nd: Itumeleng Zono - HSC - The Hospitality Solutions Company

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New Kid on the Block: Agape Cafe

Thursday, 3 May, 2018

New Kid on the Block: Agape Coffee Shop

Agape Coffee Shop

32 Caledon Street

Eastern Cape

- - - - - - - - - -

A love for coffee and fellowship launched a dream that became a reality in the historical and picturesque town of Uitenhage. With a cosy atmosphere and family-friendly setting, Agape Coffee Shop is creating a home away from home for their patrons. We chatted with Gerald Pietersen to find out more about his latest venture…

What inspired your love of coffee?

I previously worked in the automotive manufacturing field, and it was with that production knowledge and the desire to be self-employed that the vision of a coffee shop was cast. But it was a latte from Seattle Coffee Company that sealed the deal and changed my life…

After discovering the Seattle Coffee Shop, I couldn’t stop promoting it amongst friends and family. I then went on a short course and started discussions with the team from Mastertons Coffee and Tea Specialists. Two years later, here we are at Agape Coffee Shop. I guess love found us with that latte, hence Agape (selfless, unconditional love).


What makes Agape Coffee Shop special?

First, our love for God. Our business is based on Christian principles and a sincere love for God, which really makes the environment different. Agape is used to describe the love that is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. 

Second, our staff. We probably have the funniest and craziest yet most competent staff. From waiters to kitchen staff, manager and caretaker, they’re all excellent. Our baristas, Siyabong Mguca and Amanda Bizah, have extensive experience and are very vibrant and fun-loving, and have a passion for great coffee!

Third, the vibe. There are couches, a performance stage, board games, a kiddies’ area, and good music. We provide an inviting and homely feel, and welcome people of all ages. It’s an environment for business meetings, as well as a space for vibrant young people. Our late evening trading hours are also significant, especially seeing that we’re located at such a prime spot. We do find that people lean towards the evening hang out, playing games, and just coming to meet with friends.

Fourth, the internet. We probably have the best Wi-Fi, supplied by Sprint Telecommunications. It’s free and fast internet connectivity for our patrons!

Agape also hosts events and live entertainment?

Yes, the shop opened on 23 March 2018, and we’ve already featured two local recording artists, as well as a poetry evening and leadership sessions. There are a host of events planned for May and June, including a recording artist, a creative writing workshop, a bridal shower, a chess tournament, and a live talk. We’re also busy starting up the Training and Functions venue that will be completed towards the end of May.


How did the launch go?

The launch was amazing and stressful – the doors opened at 5pm, and by 6pm, the place was filled to capacity, which we did not expect. Even our stoep area had to be used. But we had great fun, and good entertainment in the form of guitarist, Marcus Pitie. Our staff were overwhelmed, but the patrons were extremely friendly and accommodating. We met new friends and lasting relationships started.

And you recently hosted Shaun ‘The Coffee Guy’ Aupiais?

This was incredible. He arrived from Uganda, and a few days later came to pop by at the shop. Our interests are very similar and the vision is also quite aligned in terms of establishing formalised training in the coffee industry. He came around to share his experience in Uganda, as well as show us some love as he was aware of our business just starting up.


Your slogan is, “Where love gathers, beans & all”. What does that mean to you?

The point is to truly capture the essence of people who love fellowship, coffee, and a great environment to gather together. 


What do you like best about your line of work?

What I love about Agape and the training field that I am involved with, is engaging with people, getting to know them, and establishing relationships. At the same time, we’re able to offer good food, good company and great coffee!

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