The first time I met Gerald Charles he was competing in the SA National Barista Champs in 2012. It was my first gig as a coffee competition Emcee and Coffee Magazine was about to launch its first ever issue. Everything coffee industry was new to me back then.
I listened and watched this guy’s routine, thinking to myself that he he probably knew more about the technicalities of coffee than anyone in the world. He peppered the judges with so much technical information, while his hands worked at the speed of light preparing beverages and he moved with the precision of a karate sensei moving through a well known routine.
Turns out that most of these first assessments were pretty accurate. “Doctor G” as he is affectionately known in the community is one of the leading coffee technicians in the country, a roaster who worked with Union hand Roasters for many years, a Martial Arts disciple and now, business owner of Rock & Roller Coffee Culture in Cape Town.
We were lucky enough to visit Doctor G and his team on a recent visit to Cape Town, and were truly inspired by his vision and where he sees his company going in the coming years.
Our visit started with a catch up and a tour of the Rock & Roller facility and meeting the team. Now, one of the things you need to know about Doctor G is that he wants to do it all! Despite just becoming a Dad for the second time, it is clear that he has a lot of energy and a BIG vision! On one side of the facility is the technical workshop - there are parts, spares, tools and disembowelled espresso machines neatly stacked together. Then there is the roasting facility - with not one, not two but 3 roasters, one of which is an absolute MONSTER! Plus a packing machine, and a few other bits and bobs.
On this note, it was this team that roasted the coffee for the meteoric rise of the Black insomnia brand and is currently also roasting for the 7th Psychopath label, which does some mind boggling numbers. Gerald is big on safety too - he spent a good while explaining to us the fire risks of roasting coffee and how meticulous he and the team are and urged us to spread the word to others in the industry about the importance of prioritising anti-fire measures in the roastery.
Finally, we got to see his front-of-house - the shiny, new equipment and the showroom part. Dr. G has taken the bold move to import a new brand called “XLVI” and they are simply beautiful. Each unit is custom finished and attention is given to each customers needs, which is something we truly believe given Geralds expertise as a technician and master of his craft.
It was a wonderful experience to see Gerald in his own space - one of the new generation of coffee professions with a real passion, vision and aspiration to great things on a big scale.
They've also just launched their online store, so you can get some Dr G goodness across the country!
He can also out-eat anyone in the world when it comes to margarita pizza.