When the Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre relocated to its permanent exhibition space at 44 KE Masinga Road (North Beach, Durban), Circle Café was born as the museum’s café in 2011. Located at the Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre – just a few steps away from Durban’s beautiful beachfront – there is plenty of secure off-road parking and a cheesecake that regulars rave about. We chatted to Claudia Blythe to find out more…
Who takes care of the food?
“Judy Druck is Circle Cafés creative chef and manager. She’s been described as the ‘mom in the kitchen’.”
What makes Circle Café special?
“It’s Durban’s hidden gem! Circle Café is an oasis in the centre of Durban. It’s nestled in the tranquil Garden of Remembrance at the Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre – a beautiful setting with incredible coffee, delicious food and lovely people. The café provides a tranquil place to relax after visiting the museum, or even just to pop in for a cup of coffee and a quick bite.”
Why should people pay you a visit?
“The café boasts scrumptious home baked cakes and treats, and an incredible gift shop with products sourced from all over South Africa. All of the proceeds from Circle Café and the gift shop are channelled towards funding the educational programmes at the Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre. Your cup of coffee will support a worthy cause!
What are your most popular menu items?
“Our fried fish, bagels and potato latkes are very popular, but our famous cheesecake is legendary!”
Tell us about your coffee?
“We serve Euro Caffé Roasted Coffee Beans. Our coffee is a medium roast with a smooth and nutty taste.”
Circle Café really is a peaceful place to take in a coffee and definitely don’t miss out on their cheesecake. It’s a crowd favourite. Be sure to pay this Durban gem a visit – but take note, lunch times are their busiest!
Tickets for The Cape Town Coffee Festival are now on sale at: https://www.capetown-coffeefestiva.com/, and are expected to sell out quickly. For coffee connoisseurs and foodies alike, this event is bound to give African and global attendees a truly exciting break from the daily grind.
The festival is also offering a “Super VIP” ticket package, which includes a two-day access to the event, a dedicated VIP entrance, complimentary cocktails from The Coffee Cocktail Bar, a VIP goodie bag filled with gifts from some of the event vendors, and a copy of The Meaning of Coffee book.
The two-day festival will boast some of the most popular features such as Latte Art Live, The Lab, The African Coffee Experience, The Coffee Cocktail Bar, a Live Music stage and many more:
- Latte Art Live, an interactive zone dedicated to the highly popular skill of latte art. In past years at the NYC and London Coffee Festivals, local heroes such as Jai Lott and Barista Dee, and international names like Dritan Alsela, Dhan Tamang, Lem Butler, and Luke Shilling, have taken to the stage. Attendees can take part in hands-on workshops and demonstrations where the pros will teach them the techniques and skills behind jaw-dropping masterpieces.
- The Lab program, featuring an exciting line-up of interactive activities and The Small Business Lab, a whole extra Lab zone dedicated to promoting and supporting small local businesses through a series of interactive talks and workshops.
- The African Coffee Experience is a showcase of the diverse African coffee scene. Featuring three of South Africa’s key coffee roasters, this area will be dedicated to exploring and tasting the best origins and cups the African coffee scene has to offer. A sensory experience you will hardly forget.
- The Coffee Cocktail Bar is an area where we will be serving indulgent cocktails with high buzz-factor.
- The Innovation Zone is where you can discover the personalities behind some of 2019’s coolest and most cutting-edge brands and small businesses, ranging from technology, to apparel, to the freshest micro-roasters.
- The Street Food Market is the go-to spot to refuel with inspired, easy, healthy food from artisan street food stalls offering the best the South African food scene has to offer.
- The Live Music Stage will host live performances and DJ’s all throughout the event, showcasing the talent of local artists, bands and solo singers while engaging a deep spirit of community among those who share a passion for great music and coffee culture. Musicians can apply online by submitting a YouTube video performance.
- The Coffee Art Project Gallery is a gallery showcasing the creativity and talents of emerging and established local artists whose photography has been inspired by African coffee. The highlight of the Gallery will be a photography series of the renowned Sowetan coffee culture.
WHAT: The Cape Town Coffee Festival
WHEN: Sat, June 1st – Sun, June 2nd 2019
Saturday, June 1st – 9:00am-11:00am | Trade Session
Saturday, June 1st – 11:00am-3:00pm | Morning Session
Saturday, June 1st – 3:00pm-7:00pm | Afternoon Session
Sunday, June 2nd – 10:00am-2:00pm | Morning Session
Sunday, June 2nd – 2:00pm-6:00pm | Afternoon Session
WHERE: The Castle of Good Hope | Darling Street | Cape Town
TICKETS: Tickets available shortly from : https://www.capetown-coffeefestival.com
For the latest on The Cape Town Coffee Festival, please visit:
Official Hashtag: #capetowncoffeefestival
Bruce Manning has been competing for the last nine years and always brings something a bit crazy to the stage. This year though, the only crazy thing he brought to stage was the crazy good coffee. I think you could speak to any of the other competitors who had the opportunity to taste this coffee backstage and they would all agree that this was by quite some way the most delicious coffee at the competition. A Panamanian Gesha from Finca Ponderosa.
When I tell you that this milk beverage tasted like strawberry wafers with a delightful cherry-liqueur dark chocolate finish, I am not in any way exaggerating. The espresso was cherries and papaya and an explosion of sweetness. Even just opening the bag in our office has been making me swoon this week.
This coffee is very rare, very expensive and very difficult to get one's hands on, but if you're ever presented with the opportunity, don't hesitate to take it. It will be one of the best flavour experiences of your life.
What does this tell you about competition if arguably the best tasting coffee didn't win? That the coffee is only one part of the equation. Preparation, execution on stage and performance all greatly effect the scoresheet.
These days, you don’t have to go far to get your caffeine fix, with new coffee shops and cafés opening all the time growing the local scene with their own brand of coffee culture. And building your own signature brand identity is a big deal. In the next couple of weeks we will feature three up and coming Café Brands who are brewing up something special and blooming into multiple stores countrywide. They’ve got style and they mean business and we really like what these burgeoning empires are bringing to South African coffee!
Bootlegger Coffee Company
Bootlegger Coffee Company was the brainchild of best friends, Pieter Bloem and brothers, De Waal and Antonie Basson. The three already owned a few other restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops and saw the need for a premium quality coffee at a reasonable price for their own stores. They imported a small Giesen roaster from the Netherlands in 2012 and started experimenting and roasting coffee soon after.
Finding an ideal home for their growing coffee business became essential and when the iconic site in Regent Road, Sea Point, became available in late 2013, they jumped at the opportunity to secure the lease. The site was too big for a coffee roastery alone, so they decided to include a restaurant and coffee bar to complete the space and showcase the product. Bootlegger Sea Point began serving the signature Bootlegger Blend in November 2013. It was an immediate success and in just four years, the business has grown to 12 stores.
Interview with De Waal Basson
Why Bootlegger Coffee Company? How did you come up with the name?
“Shortly after placing the order with Giesen, Pieter received a call asking what logo or name they should put on the side of the roaster. It dawned on us that perhaps we could roast and sell coffee to other stores besides our own – so we needed a name for this new Coffee Company. Two weeks and hundreds of potential names later, we still didn’t have anything we all loved. The logo designer proposed we start with the character of the brand we want. He started asking questions like: is this brand/person male or female, and is the person still alive – yes or no?
The answers drew us to a rule breaker type of character. He was an American legend that died young and therefore will always be timeless. He was a rebel; charming, witty and loved by all. Women wanted him and men wanted to be him. He loved a good time with close friends and enjoyed great food and quality drinks. He never followed fashion, but became a style icon and a trendsetter. The word ‘Bootlegger’ was the perfect fit.”
As a business, what’s important to you?
“The first rule of Bootlegger is ‘no bullsh*t’. For us that means ‘No Compromise’. Perfection is the ultimate standard against which we measure ourselves. We strive for perfection in our relationships with staff, suppliers, and customers. We strive for perfection in our delivery of service and the products we offer our customers. We like to keep it simple and sustainable; we've done our research and we know our product.”
What is your vision for Bootlegger Coffee Company?
“Only after opening our first store in Sea Point did we realise what an amazing sense of community a store like Bootlegger creates. We never really thought of opening more than one store, but seeing this power of community in action, we felt compelled to continue expanding. We are now standing on 16 corporate stores and have recently approved our first franchisee. We will therefore continue this expansion by carefully selecting franchisees that buy into our culture and our vision.”
What sets you apart from other coffee shops and cafés?
“We believe in focusing on our offering and not worrying too much about what other people are doing. We also spend hours and hours on training our staff and we never forget what got us here in the first place: our coffee.”
What has been the highlight of your business journey?
“Being featured in the Coffee Magazine :) In all honesty, there are so many small daily victories that add up and it becomes very hard to distinguish and celebrate the bigger highlights. Some of our biggest highlights have been:
What’s the most exciting part of the job?
“The coffee! Waking up and having your own product first thing in the morning is definitely a daily highlight. And then you get to have more of it throughout the day! Apart from the coffee, there are so many exciting things we’ve had to keep ourselves busy with. From finding sites and designing stores, to meeting and recruiting talented young people to join our company – it really is a non-stop joy ride.”
There are always growing pains for an entrepreneur starting up a new business – what have your experiences been?
“One of the biggest challenges is saying ‘No’ to many of the opportunities and distractions out there. In the beginning, we pursued almost every opportunity that came our way and unfortunately this led to a lot of wasted time and money. We have now learnt to become a lot more disciplined and to remain focused on our core business. We’ve also learnt that getting the right people in the right positions is crucial. We wouldn’t be close to where we are today if it weren’t for our extraordinary management team and staff.”
Give us the lowdown on your coffee and menu?
“The Bootlegger blend is a Medium City Roast consisting of Arabica beans from Guatemala, Tanzania and Cost Rica. The Guatemala is the base of the blend. It adds the body and depth to the coffee with subtle hints of dark chocolate notes and a full mouth feel. Our Guatemala is sourced directly from the Finca El Morito estate and is 100% Rainforest certified.Tanzania AA fills the blend with sweetness and a crisp citrus acidity. Costa Rica Bromelia Fancy has a slightly nutty undertone with a balanced taste profile. It adds fullness and rounds off the acidity in the blend, allowing for a smooth finish and a delicious aftertaste.
Flavour Notes include: Dark chocolate, caramel sweetness, and a fine citrus acidity.
On the food side, we start off by using the best quality, free-range, ethically sourced or sustainable ingredients we can lay our hands on. We have our own 24-hour central bakery that bakes and delivers all our croissants, breads, rusks etc. on a daily basis. Our menu can best be described as a bistro style, every day and all-day eatery. For those strong enough to resist our legendary banana bread, our other breakfast favourites include the truffle-infused mushroom and bacon rösti and the mince omelette.
There are also loads of healthy, vegetarian and vegan options with all kinds of superfood ingredients. Our lunch and dinner menu includes classic café style dishes like burgers, salads, and fish and chips, and some interesting additions like buddha bowls.”
Any final thoughts?
“We never thought that our quest for good coffee would lead us down this incredible path of establishing a brand with such a loyal following. It’s been an amazing ride and we are eternally grateful to all our staff, customers, landlords and other stakeholders for helping us pursue our dreams.”
They may just look like gorgeous hunks of decor to the consumer, but espresso machines are the soul of any cafe. Here's the latest innovation from La Marzocco, one of the best in the business.
Ps. If you're wondering what the big deal about 'straight-in' portafilters is, just think about your barista clanging and locking in the portafilter to the grouphead by swinging it sideways when you're waiting for your morning cup. This is how it has always been done. La Marzocco's new system means the portafilter slides in from the front and no twisting into place is required. SO interested to try this, it changes something that is part of a baristas very core; their flow and rhythm behind the machine. I know for me, the locking in and pressing the go button was ever so satisfying when I was in the groove of a busy morning. The automatic steam wand sounds simply dreamy though.
La Marzocco, world leader in espresso machine innovation since 1927, introduced the KB90. This revolutionary machine named after the former La Marzocco International CEO and now Chairman of the Board, Kent Bakke, is designed for the barista, providing a faster work-flow, easier cleaning and advanced ergonomics. KB90, designed to represent the curves in the shield of the La Marzocco Lion, is the ultimate evolution of the Linea PB. The KB90 has the same interface as the Linea PB which provides familiarity to baristas and will greatly improve work flow and provide upgraded technology around cleaning systems.
The KB90 has two stand out features: the Straight-in-Portafilter and the Steam Flush system. Both new features help the busy barista with speed of execution and ergonomics. In considering the needs of high volume cafes and their baristas, La Marzocco redesigned the portafilter system to reduce wrist strain of the user. The innovative portafilter insert system eliminates the bayonet-ring twist, greatly improving ergonomics and reduces the risk of wrist injury. By simplifying the fine motions of the barista, the KB90 is able to shave seconds off of the time required to make each drink.
The machine’s Steam Flush system automatically purges the group with water and steam, removing the need for the barista to push another button and increasing the cleanliness of the group over the course of service. It removes coffee residue much more effectively for better tasting espresso. KB90 also comes with Drip Prediction technology, 3-Button User Interface, and Auto-Volumetrics. It features intuitive and reliable electronics developed to provide intuitive feedback over machine parameters. The KB90 is equipped with the trusted and tested components of the Linea PB, making it easier for technicians to perform service without requiring new parts inventory.
“It’s always been a part of La Marzocco’s DNA to focus on the job of the barista. Twenty years ago, we started thinking that espresso machines should be operated with natural movements and motions to increase the enjoyment and speed of use for the barista. With the creation of the Straight-in Portafilter, I feel that we have built a machine that will forever improve the way the barista interacts with our machines,” shares Kent Bakke, Board Chairman, La Marzocco International.
The new machine comes in two-group or three-group option. In true La Marzocco fashion, the outer shell of the machine is designed to be aesthetically pleasing as well. Inspired by fast and iconic cars from the 70s, KB90 has a retro shape and comes in red, a celebratory colour of their recent 90th anniversary.
We're pretty big fans of Mr Chris Baca of Cat & Cloud and while we haven't had a chance to test drive this tech, he's had some time to play, so if you're interested check out his video on his first impressions below:
It is incredibly difficult to get on to the SCASA competition stage at any time, but your first time at Nationals? That's got to be the most nerve-wracking. We wanted to highlight a few first-timers that absolutely KILLED it on their first attempt.
Sibahle Ngqiva and Gerald Pietersen - Agape Coffee
These two shining lights from Uitenhage were just such a joy to have at Nationals. They are very inexperienced with the format, but they enlisted help from some legend coffee professionals like Shaun Aupiais and with Sibahle's spoken word performance experience and Gerald's sincerity and willingness to learn, they definitely stood out this year. Not to mention, they were a delight backstage, always willing to engage and put themselves in growth situations. Well done Team Agape.
Stevo Kuhn - Urban Brew
Stevo's performance was so slick, I almost couldn't believe that it was literally his first time completing a full 15 minute set for an official panel of judges (The Central Region ran a shortened 10 min format without a Signature Beverage course). He used a beautiful and unusual varietal of coffee (NORMA IRIS FIALLOS MARAGOGYPE NATURAL, HONDURAS) and he just absolutely nailed it. The final results are yet to be released, but we're certain he wasn't far off the Top 6 pace. Completely blown away by his composure as a first time competitor! One to watch for sure!
The team from InFood in Jbay are no strangers to the competition format but it was a joy to watch Hilary find his place among the best. He had the unenviable task of being one of the first barstas up, but that didn't seem to phase him one bit. His crew were behind him all the way and we know he will be back to improve on his position in future.
Raymond Roestorff - Wiesenhof Coffee
The Wiesenhof Coffee crew were without a doubt the most enthusiastic supporters at the comp and we are so proud of them for throwing their weight behind both their competitors. You can see that they are a tight-knit group and you could definitely see that Raymond had a stellar coach in the very experienced Khulekani Mpala (who ended up placing 5th himself!). This team is hungry for success at competition and Raymond has caught the bug HARD. He will for sure be back to impress.
We are thrilled to announce that we have confirmed some incredible participants for this year's Creative Coffee Week line-up.
More details to follow soon, but in the meantime keep that weekend open for some incredible coffee fun!
Colin Harmon is very well know as the author of "What I Know About Running Coffee Shops" a book that is wildly popular here in South Africa.
Colin Harmon built 3fe from a one-man coffee cart in a nightclub lobby to the internationally renowned business it is today. The lessons, stories and guidelines in his richly illustrated book offer a unique and honest insight into the day-to-day realities of what many people see as their dream job.
Colin 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. His work in coffee has extended to roasting, training and consultancy work, as well as developing coffee equipment for the specialty market and beyond. We can't wait to have him share his knowledge and experience at Creative Coffee Week!
Emi Fukahori is the 2018 World Brewer's Cup Champion!
Emi Fukahori is one of Switzerland’s most known baristas and cafe owners. Originally from Japan, the co-owner of MAME in Zurich took the speciality coffee scene in Switzerland by storm since her competition beginnings in 2015. Although Emi did not win in Seattle—her first time on the world stage—she kept on competing every year after, alongside her life and business partner Mathieu Theis (a top-ranking barista himself and 2016 & 2018 Swiss Barista Champion).
In the years that followed Emi’s first Swiss win, the ambitious competitor went from Barista to Brewers Cup category. She took the third place at the Swiss Barista championship in 2016. Emi kept on working hard though and her efforts brought her third place in the 2017 Swiss Brewers Cup championship. 2018 was going to be Emi’s year.
Trish Rothgreb is co-founder, co-CEO, director of coffee, and roastmaster of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters
Her experience in the industry spans over 30 years as a coffee roaster, green coffee buyer, and teacher of all things coffee. An avid traveler in coffee growing regions worldwide, she teaches "cupping" to coffee producers and coffee professionals around the world. She is also credited with coining the term "third wave coffee" and identifying the relevant concepts.
Trish is a licensed Q-Grader and credentialed Q Trainer by the Coffee Quality Institute. She has served on the SCAA’s Roasters Guild Executive Council, was a charter member of the World Barista Championship Board of Directors and a founding member of the Barista Guild of America.
From 2013 to 2016, Trish worked on staff at the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) as the "Director of Programs: Q and Educational Services," in addition to her work with Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters.
If you, like me, have not quite grasped how much Blockchain technology is now part of our lives and are still a little in the dark as to what it actually is then here is some educational reading. And for those of you who are much more savvy than I, below is an example of blockchain technology being used to ensure transparency in the coffee supply chain.
We think this is a noble endeavour, but still remain a little unclear as to how to access the data about each stage or how the Provenance certification system works. We know a lot of coffee roasters doing their utmost to ensure that you the customers are getting coffee sourced through means that are sustainable and that ultimately benefit the farmer. Could this be a tool to make that process more transparent? Or could money used for the certification process find its way rather to the farmers? We are interested to see how Blockchain technology becomes more part of the coffee industry.
Carico Café Connoisseur in Uganda announced the launch of the world’s first fully block chain certified coffee.
The coffee, Carico Café Connoisseur’s Bugisu Blue, has recently been launched in South Africa with an overwhelming support from coffee lovers. Announcing the launch, Carico’s CEO Mwambu Wanendeya comments, “The launch is the culmination of an incredible amount of work which we have done with our farmers and other partners in Uganda. Every step of this coffee’s journey, from its growth to sale in shops and other outlets, is fully documented and traceable.” The product journey of our coffee can be traced on the UK certification site Provenance.
Carico Café Connoisseur’s coffees originate (instead of are) are from Uganda and include the Bugisu Blue, Bugisu Peaberry and Espresso Roast brands. The coffees are available for sale in South Africa and the United States and online through the Carico website. Carico Café Connoisseur’s coffees will soon be launched in Switzerland and plans are underway for additional launches in other European markets.
The Bugisu Blue and Bugisu Peaberry are 100% Arabica coffees shade grown at an altitude of over 1300 metres and 1600 metres above sea level in rich volcanic loam soils on the slopes of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda. The warm days and cold nights in the Mount Elgon area combine with the terrain and high altitude to produce a high-quality coffee which is enhanced by the steady rainfall.
CARICO’s Espresso Roast is a rich and full blend of Bugisu Arabica with Ugandan Robusta added for crema and body.
CARICO’s coffees are hand-picked, washed and wet processed to create a clean flavour and consistency before being freshly roasted in South Africa to preserve their delicate bouquets. No fertilisers are used in the production of the coffee. In the cup, Uganda’s washed coffees bring sanity body and ripe stone fruit tones, along with a delicate touch of red berry and a buttery finish. The best natural coffees feature a lush dark berry jam flavour and mouthful-feel complimented by nougat-like mid tones.
The launch of Carico’s premium African coffees comes at a time when the coffee industry globally is changing as more consumers are demanding coffees which are fully traceable. Uganda, Africa’s largest coffee exporter, is also the seventh largest coffee exporter in the world. An estimated 1.7 million people in the east African country are coffee farmers and they produce the nation’s largest source of foreign exchange.