Limited Edition Jonsson and Coffee Magazine Tees: Rise Up Africa!

Wednesday, 4 December, 2019

We love our Summer Edition Cover illustrated by the wonderful Phathu Designs so much that we put it on a T-shirt. Not just any T-shirt, the awesome Jonsson Melange Tees, built for quality and longevity!

This is an extremely Limited Edition Offer. There are only 50 available to purchase for R250 each. Place your order now so you don't miss out on your size in this awesome design!

Fill in the form below and we'll get back to you ASAP to confirm your order.

I want a Rise Up Africa Tee!

These tees are very limited Edition, custom prints on Jonsson Melange (super soft, comfy and extra length fabric) They are going to go very quckly and stock and sizes are limited.
 

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


Choose to Reuse!

Tuesday, 3 December, 2019

It’s so easy to get sucked into the gloom. As a fly-fisherman and a surfer, the ocean and the estuarine rivers which feed it are an integral part of my existence. A lifeblood, really. As a father of two young boys, every time I’m out there – either wading waist deep plying a drop-off for gamefish with the fly-rod or bobbing in the line-up awaiting my turn for a wave – I hold onto some deep hope that my boys might enjoy it all in a similar state to what I have. 

Yet it’s easy to get sucked into the gloom. The stats are ever-present, poised to sow doom: Less than than 9% of all of the plastic we use every day gets recycled. That is according to a 2017 report published in the scientific journal, Science Advances. Instead, most of it ends up floating in the ocean or in landfills. It is estimated that 1 million sea birds, 100 000 marine mammals and countless fish are killed as a direct result of plastics, every year. It’s easy to fret about what life will look like for our children. 

Then something like the April 2019 KwaZulu-Natal floods happen. And it serves as a stark wake-up call: That future is now. 

Those devastating floods saw all the major rivers come down. When the waters finally started subsiding the imagery on social media and news outlets changed from hectic watery scenes to horrifying post-apocalypticesque pictures of the mountains of plastic waste that had been washed up on Durban’s beaches. 

PlaSTUCK
The word ‘plastic’ is derived from the ancient Greek term which translates to, ‘to shape’ or ‘mould’ and when it was first discovered some in 1907 humanity got very quickly caught up in the possibilities of being able to ‘mould’ well, just about anything. There’s no getting away from it, plastic was and remains helluva useful. It created so many possibilities that were unthinkable before, so humans rolled with it, working it into everything. 

From the cars we drive, the shoes and clothes we wear, the devices we use every day – it is everywhere and in everything. And the trick is, it’s not going anywhere. Ever. We’re now stuck with it. 

According to Ingrid Sinclair Marketing Manager from the Two Oceans Aquarium – whose doctoral thesis was based on plastic pollution – one of the biggest problems when trying to explain plastic, is understanding time scale. “People don’t realise how far apart a million and a billion are. A million seconds is about 12 days. A billion seconds is about 32 years. A trillion seconds? 32 000 years,” Sinclair says. 

“Now consider: Studies suggest that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean — enough to circulate the Earth’s equator 425 times (14 million kilometres). Altogether, the combined weight of plastic in the ocean amounts to about 269 million kilograms.” And that, according to Sinclair, isn’t counting the plastic already piling up in landfills around the world, or the plastic in the lid of the cappuccino you had to go this morning. Or the plastic stirrers or that still used in coffee cups. 

“It also doesn’t include the plastic that is yet to be produced or the plastic that leaks into the ocean on a daily basis – by some accounts, a refuse truck’s worth every 60 minutes. The numbers are terrifying – by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea (by weight). 2050 sounds far away, but actually it’s only about a billion seconds away.”

As if we needed more reminding all research by the likes of Sinclair and others shows that the biggest culprit by far is ‘single-use’ plastic. “Today, approximately 42% of all global polymer production is used for single-use packaging, and as a result the share of plastics in municipal solid waste (by mass) increased from less than 1% in 1960 to more than 10% by 2005 in middle- and high-income countries. In South Africa, more than 53% of plastic is used for food packaging.”

When it comes to the coffee industry, research shows that some 100 billion cups end up in landfill each year. This is of course a growing problem with estimates well above 300 billion by 2020.

But, you know what? There is hope.

Hope and dreams 

The industry – consumers and businesses alike – are championing the cause, helping to change the mindsets of people. In particular, various entrepreneurs and companies in the coffee market are working increasingly harder to provide alternatives to single-use cups and other plastics in the industry. Their underlying philosophy is the same: Initiating small changes in our daily routine which can help smooth the way for positive change.

David McLagan, founder of Ecoffee Cup – the re-usable bamboo coffee cup – perhaps summarised it best when he said that changing attitudes towards consumption and waste will be the catalyst for change. “By raising awareness of the issues, we will be able to influence consumer consciousness to the point that we see a marked change in attitudes and increasing numbers of people switching to reusabales.”

At the risk of descending into morbid melodrama, there is hope and we are all a part of it. By supporting these revolutionary endeavours and concepts and, ultimately changing our mindsets toward a plastic-free way of life, we will be to go at least some way toward cleaning up the future of today. And tomorrow. 

Here are some options available in SA, you can find a lot of these at your favourite local cafes:

Ecoffee Cup

Ecoffee Cup is a new take on the reusable takeaway cup. It is created with the world’s fastest growing, most sustainable crop – bamboo fibre (and corn starch) and is BPA and phthalate free. 

“The mindset is definitely starting to change in the market,” says Reynold Leegerstee of Ecoffee Cup in South Africa. “If we think back to the days we started it was quite a hard sell to get something like this into retail. It required some real hard work to explain the benefits to people,” he says. What definitely supports the uptake of Ecoffee Cup is the variety of designs. “Creating something beautiful and desirable eases consumers into using products benefitting our environment”.

According to Leegerstee, now the retailers (and their customers) are asking for it. “Not only in retail but also on the corporate side of things, which is a big part of our sales,” he says. 

The cups are dishwasher-safe and so reusable over and over. Ecoffee Cup have worked with cafes, schools, universities, roasteries, hospitals and corporates to create a product of which people can genuinely be proud of – and actively want to re-use over and over again. The idea is simple, buy a cup and take that with you to the coffee shop when you order your coffee to go. 

“We are still a bit behind here in South Africa, but catching up fast,” Leegerstee says, explaining that the Ecoffee Cup has been available for nearly a decade in Europe. “The awareness is much better than a few years ago and this is being followed by concrete action. It’s great to see.”

RECUP 

RECUP, as the name suggests, is a cup deposit system. It was born from the idea (of getting away from single-use cups) by two German students in 2016. Today more than 20 cities in Germany are on the programme, with over 2000 coffee shops and cafes in cities such as Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne offering the product.

“I think a lot of people don’t realise their ‘paper’ coffee cups are lined with plastic,” says RECUP’s  Charles Denison. “In fact, there is enough plastic in one 250ml cup and lid to make eight straws!  Straws seemed to be the easy target for the anti-plastic campaign. What we have realised is that plastic is not the problem, but single-use is,” he says. 

The RECUP system is now in South Africa too and all affiliated outlets where it is available can be found on RECUP-app. And it’s catching on fast. “We already have two stores who are only doing reusable cups and zero single-use cups,” says Denison. “In fact Steampunk in the Midlands was the first in SA to do so, and possibly one of the first in the world.  In Germany around 20% of their 2500 RECUP partners don’t allow single-use.  I think once we get critical mass, and customer awareness increases, we can (and should), as an industry make a stand as one."

The deposit system – which allows you to pay a deposit for the coffee-to-go cup of your choice –  avoids disposable waste and saves resources. Once you’ve enjoyed your coffee you simply return the cup to the café for a refund, or you can hand your dirty cup in to be washed by any partner outlet and get your coffee in a clean RECUP. 

In addition you buy your own lid, which fits on all of the size cups and reuse it every time. 

Lizzard Vacuum Flasks


Lizzard’s double-walled vacuum sealed stainless steel flasks have been designed to be portable and durable. They’re made out fo 18/8 stainless steel (the highest grade used for food preparation) and feature a leak-proof lid. The flask allows you to keep your coffee warm for up to eight hours. “Obviously as a surf brand we are super concerned about the ocean and well aware of how much plastics pollution is going into it,” says Chris Hall-Jones from Lizzard. “We all see how much single-use is getting done in an area in which we could be involved in and make a difference (as a surf brand) without getting into he whole kitchen utensil business,” he says. 

Enviromall


Where and when reusable cups and other vessels are not possible, (easily) biodegradable packaging is the obvious next choice. Enviromall supplies sustainable packaging products to the South African hospitality industry made from plants rather than oils. For example, EcoCups are made using board from managed plantations, coated with a thin layer of plant-based plastic (PLA). To radically paraphrase the science, these take-away coffee cups are 100% compostable and biodegradable, and will break down in any home or commercial composting facility. 

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


Summer Edition: Rise Up, Africa

Tuesday, 3 December, 2019

Cover: Africa Rising

Anastasia Prikhodko investigates why you should make your next cup of coffee using beans from one of the many origin countries in Africa. Every bean holds a story and international interest in this incredible export is steadily on the rise.

Travel: The Local Brew

Drinking coffee in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt is an educational and delicious experience. Let Matt Carter take you on an adventure!

Discover: Progress through practice 

Interview with an expat coffee and tea farmer in Tanzania growing on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and investing in the community

Origin: The Education of a Millennial in East Africa

Perspective is everything, as Benjamin Jenkin discovers while exploring coffee in Uganda. An eye-opening read on the state of things at origin.

Roast: The Jelly Bean Method

Easy and fun ways to improve your coffee tasting palate

Review: New Kid on the Brewing Block

We investigate The Legend (The AeroPress) vs The Rookie (The Delter Press) and make some surprising discoveries.

Culture: What does the Spirit of Africa mean to you?

Pang Isaac explores this through the lens of coffee culture. Feast your eyes.

Brew: The story of the Golden Pipit and the God Shot 

Obscure obsessions collide in this tale of birding and brewing coffee in the bush.

The Ultimate Coffee Gift Guide

Ideas for the human in your life who absolutely can’t get enough coffee or coffee related gadgets.

Environment: Coffee and the Three Bears

A cautionary, but optimistic, tale of the affect of climate change on coffee production by Dr Alessandro Craparo

Discover Great Coffee: Cafe’s That Cook

Three of our favourite foodie cafes impart some of their favourite recipes. Exciting!

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


Bright, young minds finding ways to make coffee more sustainable

Tuesday, 3 December, 2019

University students around the world are finding lots of different ways to make coffee more sustainable and eco-friendly, from finding coffee bean alternatives to repurposing coffee waste…

From root to cup

A graduate of Central Saint Martins college in London, Daisy Newdick, has found a way to make coffee using dandelions – what most people might consider an unsightly weed. Her design project, called Make Weeds Great Again, aims to highlight the overlooked qualities of the common dandelion plant, which actually contains certain aromatic compounds that provide a similar bitterness and chocolatey smell to coffee. The chemical inulin is present in the skin around the surface of the root, and that gives it the characteristic coffee taste and aroma when roasted. During her research, Newdick found that chicory (which is botanically related to dandelions) and burdock root can also be used as a substitute to coffee.

Newdick developed her own roaster to prepare the dandelion roots before grinding and brewing them into coffee. The designer hopes that her hand-operated root-to-cup system will encourage more people to try coffee alternatives that don't require beans to be shipped from overseas…

"In the West, and especially in cities, we take for granted the immense distances and complex supply-chains foodstuffs travel before they reach us," Newdick told Dezeen. "With increasing demand driving environmentally degrading practices, together with the impacts of the climate emergency, the future of this highly esteemed commodity is uncertain.

From cup to concrete

If you’re not so hot on the idea of alternative coffee, an RMIT University engineering lecturer and his students in Australia are investigating the potential of coffee waste combining with concrete to create construction material. Instead of the dregs from 1.3 million cups of coffee going to landfill, the grounds can be repurposed into concrete to be used in homes, driveways, and office buildings. The group found they could replace up to 10% of sand in a concrete mix with coffee grounds, and they’ve produced ‘coffee bricks’ to prove it.

The reasoning behind the idea is to cut down on the need for sand, which is in high demand (the average concrete mix contains up to 80% sand) and has a huge environmental impact when extracted. The City of Melbourne alone creates around 156,000kg of coffee waste every month, so repurposing that waste into useful building materials is an incredible solution for the construction industry.

Fungi Factory

Northumbia University graduate, Jamie Pybus, has also found a higher calling for coffee waste – a kit for growing mushrooms. The designer developed a system that allows people to cultivate edible mushrooms from leftover coffee grounds. Called Fungi Factory, the kit includes a storage container for your coffee grounds, a vessel for mixing the grounds with mycelium spores, and a domed fruiting environment in which the mushrooms grow. Now, rather than throwing coffee grounds into the bin, UK households can repurpose them as a bed for growing oyster mushrooms in just four weeks. 

"The concept helps to highlight possibilities of waste recycling within the home by bringing the often unseen, circular economy into the hands and control of people," Pybus told Dezeen. “Shrinking space-intensive processes into a home-sized product is vital to the success of local manufacturing and food production. I really wanted to create a system that was visually interesting and could get both adults and children interested in the product's function and potential benefits. Fungi Factory is environmentally rewarding through its recycling, whilst providing an equally significant benefit to people's healthy eating habits.

With innovative students finding environmentally friendly alternatives and investigating ways to repurpose and upcycle coffee grounds, a more sustainable future seems more possible than ever.

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


The Rise of Rwanda's Coffee Culture

Thursday, 28 November, 2019

Rwanda grows some of the world’s best coffee, but the farmers themselves don’t necessarily know it – many of the country’s coffee farmers (along with the rest of the population) have never even tasted a cup of coffee. Rwanda’s government wants to change that, and is encouraging locals to drink more coffee…

Rwanda’s coffee industry nearly collapsed after the genocide in 1994, and it took many years for the industry to recover to the point that coffee is now one of Rwanda’s largest and most profitable agricultural exports. Funding from the Rwandan government, trade partners and private investors allowed Rwanda to focus on high grade specialty coffee, and Rwandan Bourbon Arabica beans are in high demand today. 

Coffee is a luxury

Rwanda’s own coffee culture is almost non-existent though – most Rwandans drink soft drinks and tea because it’s a lot more affordable than coffee. The price of coffee is a major obstacle – a cup can cost around $2–3 and more than 60% of the population earn less than $2 per day. Rwanda exports 99% of its coffee, but the government is hoping to increase the domestic market by taking advantage of the emerging middle class’s disposable income. 

Thanks to Rwanda’s growing middle class, local consumption has increased in recent years. Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, has seen a number of specialty coffee shops opening to cater to people in the city, including foreign expats and international visitors. The government is encouraging this trend by launching a “Let’s talk coffee” campaign to teach locals how to traditionally prepare and brew a cup of coffee, and sponsored radio ads to tout its health benefits and tell people that coffee isn’t just for foreigners. 

Building a coffee culture

People don’t consider coffee as being for them, mainly because of the taste and the price. But even small things like producing coffee in smaller packages so more people can afford it can strengthen the coffee culture in Rwanda,” says Dr. Celestine Gatarayiha from the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), a government agency dedicated to increasing agricultural exports.

There’s obviously a lot of education that has to happen around coffee in order to start to build a culture of consumption rather than just production. People need time to explore and discover the variety of coffee beverages and get used to the taste and flavour. The government is trying to boost local consumption and make coffee seem more accessible by organising barista training for restaurants and hotels, encouraging them to serve high quality locally roasted coffee, and organising coffee seminars and tastings for curious consumers. 

The popularity of coffee

The history of coffee in Rwanda could have a lot to do with why there isn’t much of a coffee culture. It was introduced by German and Belgian colonisers, who forced Rwandans to cultivate the crops under terrible conditions. Farmers were never taught to drink coffee, and the country exported all of its green coffee cherries to be roasted elsewhere before being reimported. Coffee is expensive as a result because Rwanda doesn’t have enough roasters, and roasted beans are worth much more than the green cherries.

The rise of coffee shops in Kigali is proving that there is a future for local consumption, with cafés serving as places to meet and socialise, attracting business professionals, freelancers and groups of friends. There’s a long way to go before coffee is the beverage of choice for most Rwandans, but its popularity is definitely on the rise. Local professionals are realising that it’s important to support the economy by buying (and drinking) local, and as taste preferences change, the coffee culture shift is sure to come, especially with each new generation showing a greater appreciation for this beloved brew.

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


NEW COFFEES: DGC Club Summer Edition

Thursday, 28 November, 2019

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


Storm in a coffee cup: vida e cafe in hot water with Independent Media. But where is the line?

Friday, 22 November, 2019

As a café owner, a barista or even a customer in a coffee shop (or restaurant),  where do you stand on criticisms of your establishment, on what you allow in your café and/or who you allow in?

This week a vida e café outlet in Cape Town received the full wrath of Independent Media newspapers’ front pages across the country along with roadside headlines to go with their indignation. Most of you have read the story so we won’t re-hash the details ( but you can click on the links below if you missed it) 

Making overly dramatic headlines. A slow news day perhaps?

The front page of the Mercury this week.

Independent Media welcomes vida e caffè apology over poster

https://ewn.co.za › 2019/11/19 › independent-media-welcomes-vida-e-caff...

https://www.iol.co.za › capeargus › news › vida-e-caffe-apologises-over-in...

This reminded me of another infamous and on-going feud between Top 10 Chef, Bertus Bassoon and blogger Chris van Ulmenstein that spawed the “No Whales allowed” sign that is displayed in many a Cape Town establishment as a protest against self-appointed food experts brandishing their opinions around the internet on their blogs. 

https://www.2oceansvibe.com/2017/08/02/facebook-erupts-as-latest-whale-tales-attack-gets-porky/

Like any robust debate, there are good arguments for freedom of speech and freedom of expression on the side of the blogger and the customers who want to enjoy a newspaper while sipping their latte, and there are good arguments for freedom of choice on the side of the café owner who can decide which media he wants to subscribe to for his/her café.   

Our opinion is that the café owner was wrong in putting up a sign prohibiting the reading of any Independent Media titles in the shop, as that of course one cannot do, but surely he/she is well within their rights to choose which media they pay for and have available in their stores? Even us, as Coffee Magazine, are not in every coffee shop or roastery in SA, as much as we would like to be, we can’t force owners to stock our magazine! 

Similarly, what does one do about a customer who goes online to trash your Cafés, your products, your service on an ongoing basis? Are you allowed to ban them? Are you allowed to ban anyone?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


The Rise of the Seasonal Beverage with World Champion, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos

Friday, 22 November, 2019

Make it your own way: The rise of the Seasonal Beverage with Michalis Dimitrakopoulos

As we walked through the streets of Harlem, New York, Spring-time, and with it the cherry blossoms, was blooming. And every new cafe was celebrating in their own way with a unique, seasonal beverage. A vanilla and lavender cold brew fizz. A rose petal and cardamom latte. Don’t they sound delightful?

We are constantly amazed and surprised by the variety of syrups and ways to accentuate natural flavours in coffee. Many purists balk at adding other ingredients to quality coffee, but with a dash of creativity and some out-of-the-box thinking, magic can happen. Taking inspiration from the changing seasons and using locally sourced flavours can bring a little something special to your cup. The Blue Crush Latte we tried in Tokyo used blue ginseng syrup for it’s startling blue colour and local Japanese maple syrup to cut the espresso and let me tell you, it was DE-licious.

Even for those people who can’t handle a lot of caffeine, but still want to hang out in the beautiful cafe spaces, cafe menus have expanded to include a selection of comforting flavours. One of our recent favourites was a beetroot and almond latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon. And the coffee industry is making it easier than ever for cafe owners to have these weird and wonderful drinks on the menu, so you can look forward to the variety growing steadily.

A whole section of the World Barista Championship is dedicated to the Signature Beverage, a coffee cocktail that creates synergy between the coffee and basically any other ingredient you can think of, with the exception of alcohol. But don’t worry, there’s a whole competition dedicated to just the alcoholic beverages! 

An individual who has played both games and won is Michalis Dimitrakopoulos. He was the World Coffee in Good Spirits Champion 2016 and Runner Up at this year’s World Barista Championships. Not bad!

He is part of the team of a couple cafes that are on our global café bucket list. The Underdog has been helping Athens learn about specialty coffee since 2015 and near the end of last year the team started The Rabbit Punch, a bar/café showcasing fine spirits and coffee. 

Tasos Delichristos explains their philosophy, “We all have been or felt underdogs in our life. And that’s why people love the underdogs! The Underdog is a specialty coffee roasting company and we invite all of you to visit our third-wave coffee shop in Thissio (Athens), Greece. Our world revolves around the journey, driven by the pursuit of perfection. Along the way we forge relationships as we work to bring our coffees from the farm to your cup.”

Attacking the field of coffee with vigour and constantly re-inventing their menu inspired by new coffees, always willing to learn and grow.

“Michalis Dimitrakopoulos is not afraid to fail” says Sarah Allen of Barista Magazine, “He based his 2019 World Barista Championship routine around the idea that encountering failure—and then pushing through it—is a healthy process that allows one to make new discoveries and grow as a person. In his WBC routine, Michalis related this discovery process to both the innovation required to produce the Gesha he used in his routine, and his own growth as a coffee professional.” 

We caught up with him after his incredible performance in Boston, USA in April 2019.

How did you decide to dedicate your life and passion to coffee?How did you begin?

I was studying as an electrical engineer but when I tried to work as a barista, from the first moment I felt in love with coffee! So one day I realized that this is what I love! This makes me happy and I would love to do it every day!

I stopped with my studies and start study about coffee. A lot of seminars and a lot of love about coffee!

What is your philosophy when it comes to creativity with coffee?

My philosophy is that, we are all the same no matter the nationalities no matter the languages no matter anything! just follow your dreams like i do, try your best every day and experiment a lot to create something new! Not a copy! Always in this journey be humble and kind! At the end of day always remember who has been there and how were you since day one and go forward with your team for the best result!

What makes a good seasonal beverage?

It all starts from the coffee you are using! You must know everything about the taste profile and the aromas of your coffee and then you must find ingredients that can be combined with it! If you have citrus flavour and aromas on your coffee, you must find ingredients that combine with this! That’s the best way for coffee lovers, they should get a cocktail with their favourite coffee! An Irish coffee is a great place to start.  The first thing to do [when learning about coffee cocktails] is to make an Irish coffee. The most common coffee cocktail of all. Once you can make a good Irish coffee then you can search for your own to discover the combinations of coffee and alcohol.

Who is the team behind The Underdog and Rabbit Punch and how did they come about?

Team, or rather family as we call it! For all of us The Underdog team is like a family!Is not only the people that they are working there,but also the fans and the people that support us all these years!like farmers, staff, our customers etc! Tasos and his wife Elisabeth the owners of The Underdog and my partners at the rabbit punch are two of them! Tasos(World Coffee in Good Spirits Champ 2008) our coach and our friend all these years support us for every competition! That's the point for us! We are always working as a team with all the guys and we are trying to support each other! Coffee is about people and the land they live on. We believe in a meaningful and honest coffee trade. Not only do our methods ensure the maximum quality of the cup, we also ensure the greatest benefit to the local environment, and to a more transparent and sustainable coffee trade. We focus on serving a unique coffee experience by bringing out a delicate and dynamic clarity in every coffee we produce. We are forever curious and always uncompromising in our quest for quality products and services.

Tell us about your regular customers, how would you define them as a group? What sort of customer do your locations attract?

Our customers there are really in love with specialty coffee as much as we are! We support a lot of coffee shops with our coffees not only in Greece but also around the world! Our daily customers in Greece usually drink Freddo Espresso (double espresso mixed with ice) in the summer period but in winter they are drink espresso bad beverages, normally a flat white! They are always looking for good quality of coffee and they are always asking as about the varieties, the flavour profiles and the origins!

One of the things we always notice when we travel is the attention to detail with seasonal drinks/signature beverages at different cafes. How do you come up with signature beverages? Do you have a particular process? What inspires you?

My inspiration comes through the process of the coffee that I use! For example, for my Barista Championship set, my friend, the farmer of Finca Deborah in Panama, Mr Jamison Savage, helped me to understand everything when I visited the farm and together we had a lot of conversations about processing. After that I am always re-thinking processes and I am trying to create something new! Something that pushes the level up! My espressos had notes of blackberry, grapefruit, and raspberry and so I chose to place a natural fermented Gesha cascara into a syphon along with dry ice, which pushed the liquid into the top chamber, mimicking the anaerobic environment the coffee was fermented in. This was for sure a first in competition and helped to highlight the flavours in my coffee.

What is your ultimate favourite coffee cocktail (one alcoholic and one not)?

My favourite is Irish coffee! A true classic and as I said, the basis for exploring more flavours. Without alcohol I like mostly an espresso and tonic over ice!

What do you do to keep improving your palate?

We are always doing cupping with new arrivals, with new roast profiles to get always the perfect result for our customers!! this helps me a lot to find the differences! I am always looking to evaluate new coffees and new processing methods to find something new!

What is your favourite flavour/ingredient/product to work with at the moment (except coffee, of course!)?

At this time my favourite is passion fruit! I am always enjoy this flavour at the summer period!

In all your years in coffee, who has the most influential person been in your journey?

Tasos Delichristos is one off them! All these years work with him, I learned a lot of things, not only about coffee! He is one of my best friends now! But to be honest I don't to be like someone, I don't want to copy things, I like to have my personality and just learn from people like him!

How different was it to prepare for Barista Championships compared to Coffee in Good Spirits?

Both of these competitions are really difficult. We have a lot of things to adjust and to continue growing. Coffee in Good Spirits is just a bit different because you have to prepare three different presentations for each round - this is a challenge! But at the end of the day, both of them are based in balance and coffee!

I’m sure you get asked this question a lot, what is the one thing you would recommend beginners do to make better coffee at home.

My recommendations is to always look for good quality of coffee! Do not be afraid to ask about recipes for brewing and about information for coffee - baristas are generally so excited to share about coffee. Then try to find the best balanced cup at home!

Tell us something about yourself that isn’t coffee related. What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? What are your other passions?

I really enjoy going to the sea! I love to be with my friends relaxing or free-diving in the sea! I really love classic cars and classic motorcycle and then I like sports like football!

How to Make an Espresso Martini

An espresso martini is traditionally made with coffee liqueur and vodka, but we’ll be swapping the liqueur for actual coffee. It may be over ice, but it’ll certainly warm you up from the inside!

You will need:

• Double shot espresso (around 50grams)

• 20 ml of a sugar cane syrup (or a similar unflavoured syrup of your liking, such as agave or simple syrup)

• 60 ml of a beautiful vodka

Try using a sweet and fruity coffee, as this makes for a great cocktail. But the beauty of making coffee cocktails is that you can experiment with all sorts of beans and brewing methods. Try a few different things and see what you prefer.

Okay, so let’s move on to how you make your cocktail:

1 Fill a shaker with ice and add all your ingredients to it.

2 Shake that shaker.

3 Double strain it into a chilled martini glass.

4 Garnish your cocktail with some coffee beans or some refreshing mint.

And that’s it – four quick steps to one impressive specialty cocktail. Talk about a chilled drink

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!