Winners Portraits: FNB CMA's

Thursday, 4 July, 2019

Our fabulous photographer Derryn Schmidt took some fun photos with some of our winners at the FNB Coffee Magazine Awards.

You can find the full gallery from the night here.

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Industry: Barista Wage Calculator

Friday, 21 June, 2019

SCASA, Ciro Coffee Academy and Coffee Magazine are collaborating to launch an Industry-first tool that assists Baristas, Employers, Managers and Owners in the Coffee Industry to fairly negotiate a Living Wage for employees considering The National Minimum Wage, Experience and Qualifications.

Introduction – The Barista Wage Calculator (BWC)

The Barista Wage Calculator or BWC will be a tool, based on the World-Renowned Living Wage Calculator, which was conceptualized, developed, coded and implemented by Code4South Africa and Open Data Durban, two South African tech companies that has received world-wide acclaim in the tech space for this tool to assist Domestic Workers and their Employers allocate a Living Wage –  Code4South Africa is a non-profit civic technology initiative that uses data and technology to promote informed decision-making that drives social change.

Fulfilling a need for SCASA, The Coffee Industry, Ciro Coffee Academy and Coffee Magazine.

The sensitive topic of wages, salaries, experience and value to a coffee shop, café or roastery is ongoing on social media and wherever baristas and coffee professionals gather. Business owners, employers and staff need to have some kind of tool to establish, not only what an employee in their coffee business ought to earn based on their qualifications and experience, but also what is a livable wage based on the employees actual circumstances.

The Barista Wage Calculator will be a tool that SCASA can use to address this huge challenge in our Industry. This fulfils the mandate of the Association as outlined in SCASA’s mission statement. (


How does it work?

The BWC will be an independent website and app, that will allow all who work in the Coffee Industry to input their Experience, Qualifications and their Living Requirements and obtain a result. The data, technology, algorithms and easy User Interface will be an accurate, easy-to-use tool for all.

Why is this important to me as an employer or a barista?

This collaboration between Ciro Coffee Academy, SCASA and Coffee Magazine is significant in that the BWC will place an emphasis on baristas striving to contuinually undergo formal training and gain certification  -  not just the many independently run courses at local Roasteries and Training Centers, but the Global Unit Standards as set out by the SCA. These courses are now available in South Africa (where previously one would have to travel overseas to receive training and certification) and they help to establish a global benchmark in barista, brewing, roasting, sensory skills and green coffee.  Just like in any profession, as one becomes more qualified and gains more experience, remuneration generally increases. So the BWC aims firstly to create a matrix that users will quickly and easily be able to input their qualifications (no matter how rudimentary) and experience, and see what they ought to earn.

Whjat are the next steps?

SCASA, Ciro and Coffee Magazine will be sending out surveys to as many people in the industry as possible in the coming weeks. The concept of the BWC is going to be workshopped at Creative Coffee Week in June 2019, at the SCASA Regional Coffee Competitions between now and the end of the year and all stakeholders in the coffee industry are encouraged to give input in order to create the best possible tool for our industry.

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FNB Creative Coffee Week: Interview with Trish Rothgeb

Thursday, 20 June, 2019

Trish, we are so looking forward to having you visit Durban! What are your expectations of South Africa and of Durban in particular? 

I've never been to Durban! I know that it seems that South Africa is experiencing what a lot of us in the world have. There is a great enthusiasm for roasting and cafes. I expect to meet some coffee pros who love what they do and are looking to connect with others  who are working hard at their crafts.

Your roastery, Wrecking Ball Coffee in San Fransisco, is world-renowned. What do you think makes it so memorable (besides the pineapple wallpaper ;)

Our shop (with wallpaper) is not connected to the roastery in San Francisco. They are across town from each other and I spend most of my time at the roastery. The cafe could be described as a small hole in the wall. It's not located on the busiest stretch of the street. It's small sign outside just says the word "coffee" with a picture of a wrecking ball rig above. It doesn't look at first like it makes much sense, but we like guests to stumble in out of curiosity to find a fun bustling shop. There is not much seating, so people are forced to interact with baristas and other regulars as they grab a coffee. I'd say we are unique because, although San Francisco is an intense city, the cafe is comforting and humble and focuses pretty intently on the coffee quality. 

You have committed to education and study for much of your coffee career, why do you feel education is so important?

Educating ourselves as coffee pros is so important because we have a huge job to do. We must find a way to create a customer base who will follow us on the case for quality and sustainability...when to be honest, all they want is a solid cup of coffee. We need to get better at our jobs, and so we need the facts. Unfortunately, we work for a long time and go without a lot of training and education because most of us learn on the job. Learning on the job is both good and bad. Coffee pros need to look beyond their own walls and own interests to see what coffee needs from them. The only way to do that is to get educated. I believe education is the great equalizer. Access to knowledge is access to empowerment.

The Coffee Community is extremely excited to meet you in person! Can you share a few insights about what you’ll be sharing at Creative Coffee Week in Durban? 

I'm excited to meet everyone also! I want to show by example that there is a whole world of coffee to explore. I also want younger pros to know that spending the time on the work is the best way to become masterful at it...whether it's roasting or hospitality, or business. The coffee industry is like a kaleidoscope of ideas, disciplines, and potential. I didn't expect to have such a rewarding career in coffee. This has been a great journey and it has never stopped being interesting and challenging!

Do you have any idea of the SA coffee market or will this be a completely novel experience for you? 

This will be a completely new experience for me, but I have been many places in the world for coffee. I expect I'll see some things that are familiar...a lot of enthusiastic and dedicated people devoted to coffee. I can't wait to taste the coffees and see the shops of Durban...because a coffee shop is a powerful meeting place for so many of us. It's so much more than just a place to buy a cup of coffee.

What are you most looking forward to at Creative Coffee Week? 

Meeting all the coffee people of South Africa!

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Watch: From Gardener to Coffee Business Owner - Johnson Sehoro.

Friday, 21 June, 2019

Johnson Sehoro is a multiple Gauteng Coffee Champion and Finalist in the SA Coffee Competitions. Today, Johnson owns and runs his own coffee company, Ladha Coffee in Johannesburg, supplying coffee to top SA Companies and he runs the Ladha Barista Training Academy for deaf students.

From humble roots, working off firstly as a gardener, Johnson steadily proved himself to be a hard worker and got a break into the coffee industry working as a barista. Through his determination and passion for coffee, he has risen to become one of the most respected and influential people in the South African Coffee scene.

This emotional and heartfelt video gives a glimpse into the journey and is a beautiful reminder that nothing is impossible with vision and hard work. 

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Creative Coffee Week: Interview with Colin Harmon

Wednesday, 19 June, 2019

Best selling coffee author Colin Harmon will be one of the International Coffee Celebrities speaking at FNB Creative Coffee Week, in Durban at the end of June.   

Colin Harmon is a four-time Irish Barista Champion and Owner of Dublin’s 3fe Coffee, one of the world’s most innovative and progressive specialty coffee shops. Colin will be one of four International guest speakers who will share their knowledge on all things coffee in Durban later this month. The others include Trish Rothgeb ( Wrecking Ball Coffee – San Francisco), Tesfaye Bekele Degaga (Gujji – Ethiopia) and Stefaan Esprit (BWT – Belgium). 

Colin is the author of the best selling book, “What I know About Running Coffee Shops” which quickly sold out in South Africa and is excited to visit South Africa and Durban in Particular. 

Colin, What are your expectations of South Africa and of Durban in particular? 

I cancelled a trip to South Africa the year I started 3fe so I've been itching for an opportunity to get down since. There's a large South African contingent in Dublin and they've all told me great things about Durban. I can't wait to get down and meet the folks driving the specialty coffee scene there. 

Your book “What I know about Running Coffee Shops” quickly sold out here. Have you had similar reactions to the book elsewhere in the world? What do you think makes it so relatable?

It's taken me by surprise really, it wasn't supposed to take off the way it did. We've sold over 22,000 hard copies as well as 5000+ ebooks and theres also been a Russian version published. Right now we're working on Indonesian, Japanese and hopefully Spanish too in the near future. The greatest compliment I've gotten from people is that they can relate to the content no matter where they are in the world. Thats what's great about coffee, its such a wonderful way to bring people together.

The SA coffee community is extremely excited to meet you in person! Can you share a few insights about what you’ll be sharing at Creative Coffee Week in Durban

I'm hoping to learn as much as teach when I come to Durban. The great thing about these sort of events is the discussions that come from them. Every time I visit a new country I come home with lots of ideas! 

Do you have any idea of the SA coffee market or will this be a completely novel experience for you? 

I really don't know what to expect, I've purposely not done much research either so I can enjoy to the full surprise. I do know that the South African coffee community have always been great fun at the international events I've attended so I'm expecting to have a great time and make lots of new friends! 

What are you most looking forward to at Creative Coffee Week?

Listening to Trish Rothgeb speak. I'd pay to hear her recite the phone book.

Colin Harmon (3fe Coffee – Dublin), Trish Rothgeb ( Wrecking Ball Coffee – San Francisco) Stefaan Esprit (BWT – Belgium)  and Tesfaye Bekele Degaga (Gujji – Ethiopia) are amongst the International Guest Speakers at Creative Coffee Week, to be held in Durban 27-29 June. For more information and tickets visit

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A Shot in the Dark: Finals Round Update

Thursday, 13 June, 2019

Excitement is building as Coffee Magazine’s “A Shot in the Dark” presented by Genio Roasters, enters its Final Round. This week the 10 Finalist Roasters received their competition coffees and instruction for their 2 roasting tasks, and what coffees they are!

The supplier of the Finals Round coffee is Speciality Coffee Exchange and Grant Harrison was very excited to reveal that the coffee for the Cupping task is a Natural Ethiopian Guji Uraga, which is cupping at over 90 points! Grant cupped the coffee in Addis just a few weeks ago was very excited to share the information with us.

“Guji Uraga is an exceptionally high quality coffee bursting with flavour, complexity and a perfectly layered structure. It possesses all of the characteristics that we're looking for from an Heirloom Ethiopian, and for Shot in the Dark,  we chose an exceptional natural processed lot.” Said Grant.

Roasters all received this green coffee and they will try to roast it to its fullest potential, taking into account the feedback from the Judges in the Preliminary round. This 90plus will be scored using the Q-graders cupping protocol, exactly the same as the preliminary round. But wait there’s more!  Because this is the Finals, the Roasters will also be tasked with a second task: creating a blend for espresso – from the Tanzanian coffee used in the preliminary Round (supplied by Sevenoaks), a SL 14 and SL28 Ugandan Sironko Bugisu A, and a touch of the Uraga, if they choose to.

The Top 10 competitors will be submitting 500g of their Ethiopian Uraga for cupping and 500g of their Ethiopia/Uganda/Tanzania blend for espresso at Creative Coffee Week where the Finals Round will be judged by none other than Trish Rothgeb of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, San Francisco.


Guji, Uraga


Dry Process (Natural)

Drying Method

Raised African Beds Sun-dried

Harvest date

Jan 2019 Arrival at Kerchanse Mill.

Lot size


Bag size

60 KG


GrainPro Liner

Farm Gate


Cultivar Detail

Heirloom Cultivars




.6 d/300 gr; 15+ screen



Flavour Notes

Intense fruit notes like blueberry, peach and papaya nectars, with a chocolate covered, dehydrated orange slice finish..

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The Barista Sisa

Wednesday, 12 June, 2019

The Barista Sisa

Sisa Mapetu started out as a waiter in Port Elizabeth; today, he has his own coffee shop. The Barista Sisa journey started in 2010 – Sisa seized the opportunity to pursue a career in coffee, training as a barista and competing in the first ever Barista Championships in Port Elizabeth. He constantly grew his knowledge and passion for coffee with the long-term vision of running his own shop, and was even named Nelson Mandela Bay’s top barista in 2011. 

The competition helped to grow the coffee culture in Port Elizabeth, and The Barista Sisa coffee shop is a dream brought to life for Sisa Mapetu. He’s passionate about growing the coffee culture in Grahamstown and sharing the love he puts into his coffee, and the happiness that it brings him with the coffee community. We chatted to Sisa and Melissa Roberts to find out more about his journey…

How would you describe your coffee shop to someone who’s never visited? 

Sisa: “The Barista Sisa is an authentically African, vibey coffee shop in Grahamstown, and thrives on adding love and happiness to every cup. We share the coffee experience with our customers and each one leaves the coffee shop with a feeling of love, happiness and coffee.”

What makes The Barista Sisa special? 

Melissa: “Our coffee shop showcases the African roots of coffee – coffee is African; it originated here and we want people to feel its roots deep in African soil. Sisa and his charismatic personality is the charming persona behind the brand that ensures each and every customer leaves feeling like they've made a friend.”

Any favourite moments during your business journey? 

Sisa: “I have so many! I'd say it was me competing for the first time in the Eastern Cape Barista Regional Championships where I came in second place and was crowned the Port Elizabeth Barista Champ – the highest ranked barista in Port Elizabeth. That was amazing! Meeting people who are passionate about coffee in the industry. They taught me so much about coffee and the importance of coffee in the world. 

Coming to Grahamstown, where there was very little coffee culture and challenging myself to help develop it in the town. Opening The Barista Sisa was a very exciting journey and a very proud moment in my life. This has been my goal for so many years and after all my hard work, I have my name on the wall!”

Tell us about your beans or blends?

Melissa: “Sisa's Blend is our signature coffee blend. It's a blend of beans from three different African countries. A full-bodied coffee with a floral aroma and fruity side notes, with a lovely smooth, dark chocolate finish.  We sell the beans in 250g bags as well so that our customers can bring the love, happiness and coffee of The Barista Sisa into their homes no matter where they are!”

What do you like best about your job?

Sisa: “Serving a coffee that wows the customer. Something I would love to drink myself and seeing how it changes someone’s day and brings them back to my coffee shop again and again. I see how I can add something to each person’s life with my coffee – brightening their day, making them smile with cool latte art, or giving the Rhodes University students a pick-me-up during their study breaks.

My team at The Barista Sisa inspires me. I love being able to share my knowledge with them and growing their passion and excitement for the industry. I want to share this with everyone as there is so much more to coffee than just making and drinking it. Importantly, what excites me is the journey from bean to cup and the process that I, as a barista, go through to make a great cup of coffee. The excitement is focusing on the process, the different seasons and the weather and how they affect the consistency of the grind and the extraction of flavour from the bean. The intricacy of the art of making and serving coffee excites me every day!”

You can visit The Barista Sisa at 38 Somerset Street in Grahamstown, or follow them on Instagram at @the.barista.sisa.

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FNB CMA Reader's Choice Nominees 2019

Tuesday, 11 June, 2019

We asked and you answered! 

These are the cafes and franchises with the most loyal customers. Readers could vote through our website and our social media and these were the names that came up the most! Well done to these coffee spaces that have created communities who are proud to call you their favourite. 

You can help determine the winner by voting for your favourite from these lists in the comments below.

Favourite Cafe

Fàbrica - Sunningdale, Durban

Heavenly Coffee - Centurion

Coffee@Work - Mossel Bay

Bloemfontein Coffee Roasting Co.

Salt Rock Coffee Company - KZN North Coast

Urban Espress - PE

The Talk House Cafe - Westville

Favourite Franchise

Bootlegger Coffee 

Seattle Coffee Company



Well done to all the Nominees! The Winners will be announced at the FNB Coffee Magazine Awards at Creative Coffee Week.

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