Buzzword: Sustainability - New courses added to SCA Coffee Education Program

Friday, 23 August, 2019

The SCA Coffee Education Programs cover the fields of Brewing, Roasting, Barista Skills, Green Coffee and now they plan to add modules on Sustainability.

"Sustainability must be embraced by all actors in the value chain if the specialty coffee industry is to survive. The Coffee Sustainability Program is designed to explore what “sustainability” means and the challenges of acting sustainably across the coffee value chain through three stages of learning (Foundation, Intermediate, and Professional). Through the program, students can expect to build skills that include: the ability to articulate broad sustainability challenges across the value chain, lead others in discussion and practice of these issues and ultimately identify, develop, and carry out and assess a sustainability effort that fits within their own organization."

The Coffee Sustainability Program is designed for people at all points along the coffee supply chain, founded on the principle that sustainability must be embraced by all actors in the coffee supply chain if the specialty coffee industry is to survive and thrive. As expectations for greater transparency and corporate responsibility grow in the industry, companies are rapidly increasing the size of their sustainability teams and seeking knowledgeable, experienced leaders to forge their path forward.

“The SCA Coffee Sustainability Program will help learners become more competitive in their existing lines of work as more and more companies, employers, and organizations crave greater integration of sustainability within their existing modes of doing business.” -Nora Burkey, Founder and Executive Director, The Chain Collective, Coffee Sustainability Program Content Creator

Three Levels

The Foundation-level course is now ready, with Intermediate and Professional in progress and coming soon.

  • Foundation – The program’s first course covers the major sustainability issues facing the coffee industry today and offers baseline knowledge of what the term “sustainability” means, how it is connected to power dynamics, current and historical events and practices, as well as a variety of coffee projects.
  • Intermediate – The Intermediate course introduces learners to global sustainability challenges and prepare learners to begin thinking analytically about the impact they'd like to make in the sector.
  • Professional – The Professional course offers an intensive, practical experience in which learners design, carry out, and assess their own sustainability project in accordance with their individual, organisational, or business goals and capabilities

You can read more on the content of the courses here.

This is not a new topic of conversation, but it has finally reached a point of necessity. Other industry educational platforms like Barista Hustle are also getting involved with creating courses on this issue. So it seems, the industry and the consumers are paying attention and aiming to be part of solutions for the future. As an exmaple, we saw amazing examples of this with the coffee farmers of Gorongosa, Mozambique, planting other crops in the coffee fields to both feed the soil and feed the community.

If you're looking for some high-level insight into what the benefits of sustainable practises can be check out this Re:CO lecture:

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New Kid on the Block: Shoots and Leaves

Friday, 16 August, 2019

And when we say new, we mean fresh out the box - they only opened a week ago!

Robynne and Rob Colepeper and their team have opened up in the burgeoning Umhlanga Ridge area with the lovely harvest table and coffee spot, Shoots and Leaves. 

The Colepepers met at culinary school over the hot stove and long hours of training. After getting married they decided to travel for a bit using their talent as chefs. They ended up on a remote and tiny island off the Seychelles for a couple years and when it came time to 'settle down' just a little, they headed back home to SA and Shoots and Leaves was born!

The Team! Robynne Colepeper, Sanele Bhengu, Rob Colepeper and Robert Khotso Letlola

Working on a La Marzocco Linea and supported by BlueBird Coffee Roastery Friendly Blend, Robert Khotso Letlola, the barista (different to Rob, the chef! There were a lot of Rob's on this day!) made us some wonderful coffees. The flat white was served in a beautiful pottery mug.

Their focus is on providing unique daily menus and harvest table style offerings for lunch. Everything on the menu looked scrumptious. We were there early bells so opted for the Croque Madame, which was delightful, topped with a medium fried egg, cooked to perfection and shoots and leaves grown on the premises to top it off!

You can find them at 19 Park Lane, The Boulevard, Umhlanga Ridge, weekdays 6.30am-4.30pm (not open on weekends). Very convenient off street parking is also available.

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Coffee Magazine is the second best selling magazine in Leisure Magazine's in Q1 of 2019!

Thursday, 15 August, 2019

by Iain Evans, Coffee Magazine publisher.

8 years ago, when Mel and I started Coffee Magazine, we weren't sure if people, other than baristas and a few coffee business owners would even read a publication about coffee. Back then, people told us print was dying ( and it seems that protracted death-knell is on-going in the media market, yet print prevails somehow!) and that coffee was so fringe, we wouldn't have enough content, yet alone a business model to survive in this economic climate.

29 issues later, here we are. A testament to the fact that you, the readers of Coffee Magazine, love your coffee, love the community and love reading everything there is to know about coffee! 

We started out giving away the magazine for free - for 3 years. As long as you subscribed. And as long as you collected from a local coffee shop. This drove feet into the stores and meant that we had a cool little distribution network across the country - 24 stores to be exact!  Now, Coffee Magazine is in over 200 stores! We always kept a cover price on the magazine, to show readers that we believed in the value of the publication, and we knew (well we hoped and prayed too!) that at some point we would reach a point  where people would love the publication, enough to part with real money for its beautiful content, design and wonderful stories. Mel has done a pretty phenomenal job, wouldn't you agree? 

The Factory Cafe, Umbilo in 2014. One of the original 24 cafe's to stock Coffee Magazine. 

We also spent this period of time, and continue to spend most of our time, building a loyal advertising base, investing in the baristas, spending time at all of the coffee competitions and events, hosting our own coffee events, giving coffee businesses a platform to profile their amazing work, and most importantly, educating and inspiring the consumers out there - those who were ( and still are) just staring their coffee journeys and are not  in the coffee industry. We are basing our future business on this group, believing that there is still a MASSIVE amount of growth for coffee in our country.

Ok, back to the story! Eventually, three years after starting the magazine, we couldn't afford to give it away for free. The circulation kept climbing and we made the decision to switch to a paid-for model. Again, you, our cafe owners and our loyal readers, proved that you believed in and wanted the content enough to pay for it. The letters to the Editor kept flooding in, Coffee Shops kept asking us to send them stock, and we started to distribute the magazine into the FNB Slow Lounges and other exclusive areas. This was great for two reasons, firstly because it meant we could re-circulate back issues and reduce our wastage, and also because it brought us a new audience. 

Exclusive Books, Clearwater, 2019. Our first ever issue on the newstand. Yikes!!! Look at all those magazines!

Then, in late 2018, a  gentleman called Dickon, came knocking on our door and asked us to put it onto the news-stand, alongside every other publication in the country.

This was a scary proposition for us. We were always very comfortable in our little coffee shop network. What if nobody bought it? What if we had to over-print to secure the footprint  (something we had refused to do with our previous surf magazine theBOMBsurf on principle) and then have thousands of extra copies that we had to re-distribute?  Dickon convinced us to take the plunge, and that he would help us to achieve a good sell-through and take our little publication to the masses - after all everyone loves coffee, he said!  And he was right.  You can read the full story here

but essentially the highlights are as follows ( with courtesy of Isizwe's website:

"The Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC) has just released the 2019 ABC figures. The ABC figures provide audited circulation data for all member publications, allowing advertisers to see exactly how many copies of a publication are being circulated, compare advertising rates and make informed decisions about where to place advertising, to ensure the maximum return on investment for their clients." 

"In the ‘Leisure’ category, The Coffee Magazine has the second largest retail sale. The Coffee Magazine has managed to grow their ABC by an astonishing 58% year on year. They have grown their retail sales by a massive 33% which again, in the context of an economy in recession and the bleak outlook for retail in general is frankly phenomenal."

The current issue on sale at Spar, Blairgowrie.

We are extremely grateful to every person that has supported us on this roller-coaster journey. The advertisers, the baristas, the cafe owners and every person who has ever bought or read a Coffee Magazine. Thank you.

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!

Travel bug got you? Here are some of the wildest places Travel Designer, Ozzy, has made coffee!

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019

5 of the Wildest Places to Drink Coffee

We have always advocated for the fact that coffee really can take you places, but when we met and heard the stories of Ozan “Ozzy” Emre Yerlikaya a.k.a Travel Designer, even we were in awe of the amazing locations that he has had the opportunity to brew coffee in. We asked him to take you on a journey to explore the possibilities. Hopefully this inspires you to make your next coffee experience just a little more on the wild side.

 The world is your oyster…

In Cape Town, the ocean and mountains are our playground and I love nothing more than finding the perfect vantage point, parking my beloved Land Rover Defender complete with its mobile brewing bar, laying down a Turkish carpet and setting up some Melvill & Moon safari furniture. My guests can relax into the scenery and I go to work making them coffee. 

My setup includes an alternative Thule box that is attached to my tow bar and holds the coffee making equipment in a specially crafted wooden case. I grind the selected (always) African beans with my pre-charged electric drill attached to my hand-grinder (this always gets a good laugh) before brewing it and serving it steaming hot in specially designed glasses so that the colour and flavour can be equally appreciated. I created my mobile alternative coffee brewing kit or bar a couple of years ago and called it ‘Just in Case’.  The reason for the name is that I carry everything I need to make a quality coffee just in case we need one, whenever or wherever that may be. I traveled with my “Just in Case” set and end up serving quality coffee with African beans at impromptu moments all the time.

I have set up in the meeting rooms of big companies and at relaxed picnics with friends. Everything is crafted in wood. I dress up too with wooden sunglasses, a wooden bowtie, wooden designer watch, wooden ring, wooden earrings and an imprinted leather apron.

The whole idea of being able to make quality coffee whenever and wherever I want to and sharing it with friends and clients gives a great sense of freedom. Seeing the delight and appreciation in their eyes when I surprise them with this kind of coffee tasting experience on the side of the road or next to the ocean, is immensely satisfying. It’s in my nature to look after people. Serving them good coffee is one of the ways I do so.

The Sacred Cup

One of the most amazing places I have ever made coffee was at the Deyrulzafaran monastery in Mardin. Set in southeastern Turkey, Mardin is known for the Artuqid architecture of its old city, and was a strategic trading spot on the silk route many years ago. Built in 493 AD for Syriac Orthodox Christians, the monastery is also known as Mor Hananyo or Saffron monastery and was the patriarch seat for the church until 1932. It is an incredibly spiritual place to visit.

Here the father of the monastery allowed me to show them how to make coffee with alternative brewing techniques. The opportunity was part of a 3 months travel experience in my own country a couple of years ago. I made a list of the places I had never been to in Turkey and travelled non-stop like a backpacker. I carried my alternative brewing bar concept ‘Just in Case’ and always set it up where I could meet the local people and make them free coffee in exchange for a chat. I must have met 100’s of people this way, while collecting amazing memories. 

The coffee beans I was serving were African and from Cape Town’s Origin Coffee Shop, but I also tried traditional coffee beans for making Turkish coffee, using a simple AeroPress and blending my coffee with their coffee. The result was exceptional. This was another way for me to focus on experimental travel that allowed me to meet people, coffee being the bond that brought us together.

Coffee is Art

In Cape Town, being able to make coffee for renowned artist Lionel Smit in his Strand studio, surrounded by his massive sculptures, meeting him and learning about his incredible work, was a treasured moment for me. 

While I set up my coffee station and went about brewing and making him coffee, my passion and chosen art form, we talked about his life, the inspiration for his work and how growing up with artist parents defined his destiny. Sensing the curiosity of a well-know artist in my coffee making brought me true happiness and I could feel us connecting on a deeper level as a friendship was formed.

Lionel Smit is considered one of South Africa’s most talented artists and is best known for his contemporary portraits that he creates on canvas, as well as his evocative series of sculptures with their shades of blue and bronze, touches of red and grey, each face he works on revered for it’s unique beauty and characteristics. I love visiting with him.

Of Mountains and Men

In the beginning of the year I was approached by local tour operator Rhino Africa to design a four-day itinerary for European travel journalists that would be visiting, and writing about, Cape Town. 

On one of the days the focus was specifically about experiencing the city with locals. Picking them up from Ellerman House, they were accompanied by one of my Cape Town legends Doug and his dog Stout. We proceeded to hike to Wally’s Cave on Lions Head, a rather unknown and treasured spot on the landmark mountain that visitors need to be guided to.

Here we were met by 2012 and 2016 Barista Champion of South Africa Wayne Oberholzer for a coffee tasting and in depth lesson in the history, value and appreciation of coffee. Settled in the ancient cave, with a view of the city below, it was an exceptional moment for me, and for those I was hosting.

From here we headed to the Oranjezicht organic market for breakfast before joining Master Chef SA Jade De Waal at her home for coffee with famed cartoonist Zapiro, and a casual lunch by Jade. It truly was a day to remember.

Coffee in the presence of Greatness

In all my years I never imagined that I would make coffee in the company of 15 elephants in the middle of the African bush, but that is exactly what happened when I travelled to Zimbabwe and Zambia earlier this year to visit some African Bush Camps. 

I always carry my ‘Just in Case’ mobile alternative coffee brewing bar with me and this time the focus was on demonstrating that you may be in the middle of nowhere, but that does not mean a compromise in the quality of your coffee when you stop for a break. All it takes is a hand grinder, an Aeropress station and the will to do things right, and you have it.

My coffee date with the elephants came about when I was set up next to a watering hole at one of the camps, facing the guests and talking them through my passion for this black liquid gold. As I was serving them, the elephants approached quietly from behind for a drink of water. I never even knew they were there at first, until one of the guests whispered that I should turn around. 

My heart was beating at the privilege that just two meters away from me were these majestic gentle giants. They may have been there for the water and not for my coffee, but for me it was a moment that marked my love for coffee making in the wild, and of course for all things Africa.

Who is Ozan ‘Ozzy’ Emre Yerlikaya?

How did you end up in Cape Town, South Africa?

Born in Istanbul Turkey, I started working and traveling as a scuba diving instructor, spending time at many of the top dive sites the world over. While I was living on a beautiful tropical island in Malaysia, I was offered a job at a Johannesburg based Turkish travel agency. Giving up island life and the ocean for an office job in a large metropolis did not really appeal to me, but I wanted to use the opportunity to come to South Africa. The transition was a huge cultural and emotional shock to me and I struggled to settle. 

I thanked them for the opportunity and left with every intention of returning to Malaysia, but decided to do a three-month trip from JHB to Cape Town, including Swaziland and Mozambique, before leaving. At the time I did not know that this decision would change my life. The trip led me to meet hundreds of people and fall in love with the Southern African landscape and it brought me to Cape Town. 

It was the first time I’d been truly wowed by a city and it made me instantly want to live here. I cancelled my flight back to the Malaysia and resumed work in Johannesburg, knowing that in time Cape Town would become my home. In 2009 I was able to make that dream come true and settled in the Mother City. Motivated by a burning desire to offer the very best travel experiences I could, Travel Designer was formed.

Travel Designer is a pretty ambitious way of conducting tours, tell us what inspired you to start this business and what exactly people can expect?

Travel Designer is a human inspired travel concept that was born when the people living in Cape Town who have became my best friends, encouraged me to turn this lifestyle of mine into a business. I love meeting people. Its something I have to do daily. If I can’t meet a new person every day I literally cannot sleep. 

I realised that when I travel I prefer to sit in a coffee shop in a small town run by the person who knows everybody, having long conversations and finding out the daily routines of the residents there, rather than visiting a museum or famous tourist attraction. That is how I choose to travel, surrounding myself with new and interesting people to meet, and I wanted to offer this style of travel to others. Travel designer is a personal transformative travel concept based on the that.

I believe in the quote by Pittacus Lore: "A place is only as good as the people you know in it. It's the people that make the place”. That’s why I created the ‘Cape Town Legends’ series in the beginning of 2017, which allows you to not only experience Cape Town like a local, but also with a local, ensuring an in depth exploration of the Mother City.

We have got amazing people on our list of legends and when I’m asked to design a holiday my guests can prepare for a somewhat unusual and sometimes spontaneous itinerary.

Who are your favourite Legends to visit?

It is hard to pick a favourite as I love all of my legends, but these are the most popular: 

  • Meeting famous cartoonist Zapiro in his studio for a political conversation while I make coffee with freshly ground African beans. 
  • An exclusive dinner at Ree Treweek’s home, a sculptor, painter, illustrator, animator and director, you will feel like you’ve been allowed access to a small museum as you listen to how she creates her parallel worlds, all the while young chef Johnny Hamman prepares the meal.
  • Spending time with female car collector Michelle Hambly-Grobler, who has an unrivalled knowledge and enthusiasm for cars. We meet her at Cape Town’s Crossley Webb showroom for coffee as she talks about her impressive collection of high-end cars, specifically Porsche. Learning about the origin of her interest and ultimately taking a ride with one of Michele’s cars, always blows people’s minds.
  • Street art is clouded with mystery and the prospect of meeting a famous graffiti artist is almost unheard of. Yet we bring you Mak1one, who will walk you through the streets and point out some of his work, you will even have an opportunity to paint on the walls with him, leaving your own mark.

What do you think it is about coffee that inspires and brings people together?

We drink coffee with family, business associates and lovers. You only have to walk down the nearest high street to see the number of coffee chains to realise the extent of our love affair with this delicious caffeinated beverage. The origin of coffee beans can be sourced to Ethiopia, the story goes that a 9th century goat herd noticed the stimulating effects on his goats and began experimenting. I couldn’t be more grateful that he did. I think grinding the beans and brewing the hot drink as you chat, drinking it and inhaling the aroma, tasting the full-bodied flavour breaks down barriers, relaxes and brings people together.

Which of your projects is inspiring you right now?

At the moment I am busy setting up the first alternative coffee brewing bars at a very good friend of mine Beks’ from African Bush Camps lodges in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. Beks is the founder of African bush camps and they have 12 lodges that offer amazing service in the middle of nowhere in the beautiful bush. We thought, why don’t we serve the best quality coffee in the African bush? I’m currently planning my second visit to set up the bars and to do more training. As you see coffee makes me travel too, yet another reason for me to love it!

Seeing the Wild through Bekezela Ndlovu’s eyes: African Bush Camps

How did African Bush Camps begin and what is your ethos behind the business?

I started my career as a professional guide, and African Bush Camps was born out of a desire to promote the concept of privately guided safaris through remote parts of Africa. I passionately believe that your guides and hosts in Africa are the key to making your safari the most memorable African experience and I created a safari company that really celebrates and champions guiding. Our passion and our quest as professional guides is to explore the wildest and most remote parts of Africa, away from the crowds or influence of today’s developing civilisations and to share these unspoilt locations with our guests. To compliment this vision, I took on a number of Safari properties and operations under the African Bush Camps brand. These facilities enable you to experience an authentic view of the old ‘untouched’ Africa, with minimal impact on the environment whilst enjoying the best wildlife encounters with outstanding professional guides.

Why is a good cup of coffee important to you and to your guests? And why do you think good coffee has been taken for granted for so long in the hospitality industry?

Coffee is something that has always been associated with urban culture, not bush culture. We want to give our guests all that they desire when they travel with African Bush Camps, and coffee culture has become a big highlight of discerning travellers, so we are just looking at how we can enhance our guests’ experiences. It is really just taking peoples preferences and making them available in the bush. It is no different than having your favourite bottle of wine or whiskey in camp.

How did you meet Ozzy of The Travel Designer and what led you to work together?

I met Ozzy through a mutual friend and very quickly felt his creative nature and was immediately drawn to the “out-of-the-box” tours he does around Cape Town and how he enhances the Cape Town experience. I identify with him, his passion for travel and how he goes the extra mile in innovating ways in which you can make someone’s travels in a particular destination a very special and memorable experience.

Can you tell us about some of the exciting projects happening for African Bush Camps?

We opened a new property in 2018, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, at Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. We are very excited to have a new product to offer our guests and add something really special to our safari circuit through Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. I am also very excited to be part of a collaboration with Eleven Magazine, a design magazine based in the UK. We are working together on a ‘Design A Safari Camp’ competition, which has recently launched. We are asking people to design an eco-friendly safari camp using the principles of biomimicry, which is a relatively new field of study that looks at the design and production of materials, structures, and systems in our human/man-made world that are modelled on biological entities and processes in nature. We are really looking forward to seeing the ideas that people come up with.

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Lifestyle: Intermittent Fasting is a thing right now, but how does coffee fit in?

Tuesday, 13 August, 2019

Intermittent Fasting: Can You Drink Coffee?

Intermittent fasting is having a moment right now as the latest trend in a long line of diets and eating regimes intended to promote weight loss and healthier eating, although it’s actually been around for many years; it seems people are just cottoning on to the benefits now. The main difference is that it’s more about when you eat than what you eat. By eating within a specific period, and fasting the rest of the time, the benefits range from weight loss to improved brain function and insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, prevention of chronic disease, and even a longer life. 

And while people are learning that they can survive just fine without food for a day, there are a lot of questions around drinking coffee during your fast. You won’t die if you don’t eat for a day, but to go without caffeine? Is that even possible? So, you’re probably wondering…is it ok to drink coffee during intermittent fasting? That depends.

What about milk?

Plain black coffee (no milk) is generally accepted as fine during intermittent fasting – and the same goes for plain black tea. Plain black coffee is considered to have zero calories, and is therefore acceptable while fasting. It might even be beneficial thanks to the appetite-suppressing effect for some coffee drinkers. And for those who crave their coffee ‘kick’ – the caffeine effect should be even more pronounced given that you have nothing else in your system – you should feel even more energised and alert than usual.

Unfortunately, plain black coffee doesn’t bode well for coffee lovers who need their milk and sugar… Lattés, cappuccinos, frappuccinos, and other high-calorie or sweetened coffee drinks are unfortunately off-limits during a fasting window. If you absolutely have to add something to your coffee, a tiny dash of cream or coconut oil is acceptable because it won’t increase your total calorie intake or blood sugar levels too much, but technically, you’re not supposed to consume any calories while fasting.

Do you get the jitters?

One thing you do want to take into consideration is how caffeine affects you personally. If you’re sensitive to caffeine and prone to anxiety, heart palpitations or high blood pressure, consuming too much caffeine could work against your health goals in doing intermittent fasting. And there are some intermittent fasting experts who advise completely giving up caffeine during fasting periods…

For many people, one of the benefits of fasting is giving your body a chance to reset itself – coffee actively works against this by activating your adrenal glands to release cortisol; known as the stress hormone. If you’re under chronic stress, it might be better to give your body a rest from the cortisol production. 

Ultimately, intermittent fasting is about finding a fasting period and schedule that works for you and your body. Chat to your doctor before drastically altering your diet or lifestyle, and see what works best for you. Listen to your body – if it needs coffee to stay sane, do what it says. If not, let the thought of that creamy cappuccino waiting at the end keep you motivated through your fasting hours. 

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First Light Coffee & Routed Roasters

Wednesday, 7 August, 2019

First Light Coffee Bar and Routed Roasters

8 St Croix St, Jeffreys Bay, 6330

This little spot is a gem. Tucked away just off the front line of Jbay's busy Da Gama Road, we find this passionate coffee crew.

We had the pleasure of meeting Ansophi Van De Merwe and Maxine and Heinrich Thiart at their freshly opened First Light Coffee Bar. Along with their other partners they have created an incredibly welcoming space that feels like you’re walking into the living room of an old friend. The cliché 'A home away from home' rings so true as soon as you walk through their doors. The main space in front of the coffee bar has comfy couches and a low coffee table, and there are tables for those wanting to sit and work. This is a place where people gather and it is clearly evident that the First Light team are part of a very tight knight community of people, with First Light as it’s HQ!

Give them a follow on Instagram to get more beautiful imagery from and of the team

Ansophi, who made the Finals of the SA Cup Tasters earlier this year has her palate on the pulse and ensures that delicious coffees are roasted and supplied to both the espresso machine out front at First Light and to a growing number of restaurants in the area under the Routed Roasters label. The roastery is always open and you can find Ansophi cupping delicious coffees most days. Routed Roasters came 3rd in this year's A Shot in the Dark competition. Of the 43 roasters that entered, only three were female, so we were more than a little happy when Ansophi's name was announced in 3rd position after the judges blind tasted the Top 10 coffees. Go Girl Roasters!

Visit these lovely people at their wonderful coffee bar when next in Jeffreys Bay!

Our recommendation: An espresso of whatever’s in the hopper, followed by the same espresso as a cortado. Complex, beautiful and comforting. 

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Culture: Exploring Whisky with Bruichladdich

Wednesday, 7 August, 2019

We were invited to the launch of Bruichladdich's 10yr Port Charlotte whisky at Lucky Shaker. I had never heard of this distillery (very uncultured of me!) and was happy to be introduced to their wares. Also thank you to Esquire for this helpful pronunciation video.

Caitlin Hill, Brand Ambassador to a host of delicious spirits that fall under the the Remy Cointreau stable, took us through the history of the distillery which has been around since 1881 on Islay. Islay is a tiny island in Scotland that is ALL about whisky, specifically famous for its peated whiskies.

The most interesting thing for me was to hear all the terminology around the production and taste of whisky and how many similarities there are to how we talk about coffee. The big push by this particularly distillery is the focus on the origin of all their ingredients to be locally produced and having complete transparency on that.

Whisky is a premium product in the way that I wish coffee was. Paying for coffee on a tiered system of excellence, skill and raw ingredients. An exclusive whisky costs a lot more and that is completely accepted. Love these tasting notes on the 10year we had the opportunity to taste:


NOSE: The smoke is calmed by the marine, ozone character. Time has brought a balance and harmony, in the combination of oak, smoke and spirit. While the smoke is always discernible on the nose, it’s dry, earthy, peat-ash style allows the oak to come forward with waves of golden caramel, fudge, vanilla custard and hints of ginger, nutmeg and clove. There is citrus fruit, coaxed from the glass with a drop of water, gentle lemon meringue and clementine. Breathe deeply and the floral aromas of wild thyme, heather and sea pink bring you to the Atlantic coast. 

PALATE: On the palate, there is a noticeable delicacy and softness in texture and style. Again, the balance of flavour is superb as the smoke wraps loosely around the sweetness that’s drawn from deep within the oak. Coconut, vanilla custard and lemon honey combines with smoked oysters and sun baked salty sand. 

FINISH: The finish is sublime, smoky, but also the soft sweetness of fudge and malted barley, orange, mango and banoffee pie, hinting of the depth and quality of the oak. The many layers interchange on each sip. As the smoke comes and goes, so too do the notes of the spirit-ripe apple and apricot, beautifully intertwined with malt and oak sweetness and the typical Port Charlotte style dry smoke. 

CHARACTER: Aging for 10 years on the shores of Lochindaal has had a profound effect on this spirit. Like sunshine on a winter’s day, this Port Charlotte 10 brings clarity and lightens the mood, welcoming and brightening the future."

Bruichladdich also has a connection to South Africa through one of the people that works there, a PE local, Graham Hayes, now their Stillman. You can read the full interview between him and Lucky Shaker owner Michael Stephenson that inspired the cocktail over here. It was DELICIOUS!

The ‘Stillhouse Sour’ photo by Caitlin Hill

Made by @mixwithmike from @luckyshaker with @bruichladdich#PortCharlotte 10YO whisky, tawny port, stout reduction, fresh lemon, fresh orange, citrus syrup & house made orange bitters - inspired by @graham.hayes71 - our beloved South African who works as a Stillman at the Bruichladdich Distillery .

Port Charlotte Brand - Bruichladdich from Denholm Associates on Vimeo.

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Conversations over Coffee: Stepping into Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, 7 August, 2019

In this new column we explore different topics with coffee as the catalyst. With new contributor, Lebo Matshego. 

Stepping into entrepreneurship? Get your head into the game

Venturing out into entrepreneurship is a bold and courageous move. Not only are you following your passion and letting go of the safety nets of a consistent and stable income with benefits, but you're also contributing to the economy in an impactful way by starting something that will help create jobs and provide innovative business solutions. 

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of running your business, you have to start with getting your mind right. Since our thoughts play an essential role in driving our perspectives and how we see ourselves, you need to be aware of the internal dialogue you have with yourself as you prepare for entrepreneurship. Self-awareness is pivotal as you embark on this journey, so consider these three points to get your head into the game.

1. Believe in yourself

This saying may sound cliche, but to venture out and survive as an entrepreneur, you have to believe that who you are is more than enough, and the product or service you have to offer is valuable and will have a positive impact.  

Life tends to throw curveballs that leave us disappointed, discouraged, or with the feeling that we're not good enough and don't have the ability or intelligence to do something impactful and significant. Naysayers are all around to spew more discouragement, and if you've experienced a toxic corporate environment, you can come out of there with very little confidence in yourself and your abilities. Insecurities and negative experiences have a way of seeping into every area of life, including your entrepreneurial pursuit. You'll have to deal with them head-on (therapy is beneficial) to start believing and seeing yourself in a more positive light.  

2. Know your passions, strengths and weaknesses

Being passionate about the area of business you want to go into is essential. If you're half-hearted or getting into a line of business because it's the trendiest thing at the moment, you won't get very far. It won't be authentic to you, and ultimately, you won't believe in it. Becoming more self-aware is getting to know your strengths and weaknesses; what makes you tick and what makes you run in the opposite direction. You'll be able to leverage your strengths and know when to get help when you need it. Off-course, if you genuinely love what you're doing, you'll persevere through the difficult times. 

3. Move out of your comfort zone 

As an entrepreneur, you'll need to get comfortable with putting yourself out there, not having a stable income for a while and long working hours. It takes courage and perseverance to find new clients, pitch your business and deal with rejections and no answers. It's hard work to be an all-rounder, focusing on sales, marketing, business development, and all other facets of the business. This new and unfamiliar territory can be daunting, and you'll need to learn to ask for help and advice when you need it. If networking freaks you out, you'll need to pluck up your courage to start conversations with business people that you know and meet new ones. Getting out of your comfort zone will push your limits, but the experience is an opportunity for growth. 

Editor's Note: Speaking from the experience of starting businesses in the coffee space, while self-belief plays a big part of the journey, my biggest lesson was trying to have the humility to know that you definitely will have many failures along the way and that's ok. My biggest piece of advice would be to go boldly and ask for what you want. Ask for the meeting with the company you think is way out of your league. Ask for the interview with a coffee celebrity that you think you won't be able to get. Ask to collaborate with people you respect, even if it scares you. Get up the courage to ask! - Melanie Winter

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