It was high drama as always at the SCASA National Coffee Competitions held at Hostex this week, as 3 new SA Champions were crowned in the Barista, Latte Art and Cup Tasters categories.
Winston Thomas (Winston Douglas Coffee) returned to competition this year after taking a year break, and he came back into a very fierce fight for the title, which in the end he managed to clinch from Stevo Kuhn (Urban Brew) by the narrowest of margins. As the winner’s hand was lifted, relief flooded through the Champ and tears welled-up in the eyes – it’s an emotional time for the young man, after having gone Independent as well as with his wedding date being a little over two weeks away. John Evans (TriBeCa Coffee) came 3rd with a presentation that could easily have won him the title, as did Neil Gouws (Origin Coffee) who came 4th and continues to grow and mature into a formidable competitive barista. In 5th Place was Samantha Naidoo, the only female in the Top 6 who was outstanding all week and just looked like she was having such a blast on stage and finally, the veteran, Bruce Manning who has competed for 10 years in this format and been in the Nationals Top 6 multiple times.
The Latte Art competition also had its share of drama when 3 baristas were named for the Finals round instead of two. It was Ndumiso Ncgobo (Fabrica Coffee) and Jeff Stopforth (Beaver Creek) who faced the two times SA Champ, Chris Abrahams (Ciro) in the finals. The 2019 Champ had a bit of an off day, which opened up the door for the South Coast youngster to power through and clinch the title in a very cool and composed manner. Well done Jeff Stopforth of Beaver Creek!
The Cup Tasters story though is perhaps the highlight of this year’s Nationals. Wency Masawi (Tanaka Coffee / African Roots Coffee) was up against very tough opponents in Q-grader Nicodemus Nabakwe (Sevenoaks Trading), reigning SA Champ Thabang Maluleka (Ciro) and Maryke Schoonwinkel (Brüder Coffee). Wency has competed at every competition for the last 8 years, making Nationals in all three disciplines and has been a Regional Champ twice…yet has never won a National Title in any discipline. This year however, his perseverance and dedication paid off as he edged out the competition to claim his win and a ticket to World Cup Tasters Championships in Warsaw, Poland in June later this year.
The volunteers and Sponsors who allow the competition to run are to be highly commended. A trio of worthy Champions will represent us on the World Stage. A huge thanks must go to Hostex, SCASA members, the Volunteers, Judges, Sponsors and competitors for such a great Nationals. Let’s get behind the Champions as they prepare for Worlds 2020!
Full Results from SCASA website:
Winston Thomas - Winston Douglas Coffee
Runner Up: Stevo Kühn - Urban Brew Coffee
CUP TASTERS CHAMPION
Wency Masawi - African Roots Coffee / Tanaka Coffee
Runner Up: Nicodemus Nabakwe - Sevenoaks Trading
LATTE ART CHAMPION
Jeff Stopforth - Beaver Creek Coffee
Runner Up: Christopher Abrahams - Ciro Full Service Beverage Co.
âÂï¸Â Best Signature Drink & Milk Based Beverage: Winston Thomas - Winston Douglas Coffee
âÂï¸Â Best Espresso and Technical: Stevo Kühn - Urban Brew Coffee
âÂï¸Â Best Overall Impression: Fikile Khuzwayo - MRP Foundation
BARISTA TOP 6
1. Winston Thomas - Winston Douglas Coffee
2. Stevo Kühn - Urban Brew Coffee
3. John Evans - TriBeCa Coffee
4. Neil Gouws - Origin Coffee Roasting
5. Samantha Naidoo - TriBeCa Coffee
6. Bruce Manning - Brustar Coffee
LATTE ART TOP 3
1. Jeff Stopforth - Beaver Creek Coffee
2. Christopher Abrahams - Ciro Full Service Beverage Co.
3. Ndumiso Ngcobo - Fabrica Coffee
LATTE ART TOP 4 (SEMI FINAL ROUND)
1. Wency Masawi - Tanaka Coffee / African Roots Coffee
2. Thabang Maluleka - Ciro Full Service Beverage Co.
3. Nicodemus Nabakwe - Sevenoaks Trading
4. Maryke Schoonwinkel - Bruder Coffee Roastery
SCASA would like to thank all its sponsors, partners, members, the administrative staff, judges, baristas and volunteers who made this event such an unforgettable success. Thank you for investing into the future of our industry and for igniting a united passion for coffee.