A Tale of Two Coffee Cities: Interview with Shinsaku 'Samurai Shin' Fukayama

Friday, 14 January, 2022

A Tale of Two Coffee Cities

One on the cutting edge of the culture and one in its infancy, both with a lot to offer.

We talk to Shinsaku Fukayama also know as ‘Samurai Shin’, a name so given for his precision skills with a milk pitcher. He mastered the art of coffee in the coffee capital of Melbourne and is bringing that flair back to his home country, settling in the well-known foodie city of Osaka. But coffee, particularly the specialty kind? Well, they’re just getting started…

In the taxi on the way into Melbourne, Australia from the airport, I had the strangest feeling of familiarity. It’s felt a bit like Durban actually. Well, if Durban had a plethora of world-renowned cafés, restaurants and bars, that is! But the landscape, the height of the buildings, the colour of it, a laid-back quality; I had a sudden understanding why some South Africans feel so comfortable there. 

I experienced the exact opposite when we high-speed zoomed into Osaka, Japan on the bullet train: wonder at how everything was fresh and foreign and unfamiliar, how so many people seemed to be operating successfully in what presented to me as colourful chaos. All I can say is, thank goodness for Google Maps! In one of the most densely populated cities in the world, you could wander the streets for weeks and never have a dull moment, every inch of space is covered: a convenience store, a street vendor (takoyaki - octopus balls- for the win!), a dive bar, a restaurant serving some of the best beef in the world, a brand name café, high fashion, whatever you can imagine, there is a tiny shop in Osaka that has it. However, we had to search pretty hard and travel very many of those streets to find the specialty coffee spots. One of the favourites was a small café called Lilo Coffee Roasters, owner-run, beautifully designed branding and packaging and a delicious array of coffees! 

In Melbourne you could fly a flimsy paper aeroplane and whichever direction it went, you would still find another gorgeous café with an incredibly high-standard of specialty coffee. It was damn-near unbelievable. One of the ‘must-visit’ locations recommended by many different sources was ST. ALi Coffee Roasters. When we walked into this Melbourne coffee institution, all we could do was observe as the machine worked its magic. It’s not on a main street and it doesn’t look like much from the outside, metal roller doors in the wide windows, graffiti on the brick walls, but inside, its an explosion of well-oiled activity. The pace was insane, but everyone made it look so easy. From the Front of House manager who found us a seat to the team of baristas pumping out a crazy amount of coffees, the experience was flawless. We spied some coffee legends, including Shinsaku Fukuyama, among the busy yet relaxed team. He wasn’t behind the bar at that point because it was the Melbourne International Coffee Expo in a few days, where he would be crowned Australian Latte Art Champion 2018. Now after making his mark in Australia, he is taking his hard-earned accolades and numerous coffee skills back to Osaka, growing the specialty coffee scene, one coffee at a time. We chatted to this world-renowned coffee professional.

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us how you got the nickname Samurai Shinsaku!

I was a chef in Japan and I really wanted to become a barista, so I moved to Melbourne, to the heart of café culture. I started making coffee when I came to Melbourne, and I’ve been working in the coffee industry for almost 8 years. When I came to Melbourne I didn’t have any experience, and I didn’t know how to speak English, but I had a passion and motivation to become a barista. It was very hard to find a job when I was a beginner and made a lot of mistakes, but improved a lot as well. I studied and trained hard almost everyday to become a barista. In 2016, I became the Coffee Fest World Latte Art Champion and I became the first ever person from Japan to win the Australian Latte Art Championships in 2018. Also, I got 2nd place in the 2019 Coffee Masters in the USA. So I guess you could say, my nickname came from my attention to detail and carrying out my latte art pours with precision and passion. It’s my privilege to represent both Japan and Australia and I would love to share my passion and motivation with everyone!

Tell us a bit about your move from Melbourne to Osaka? What does your business do?

I want to bring Melbourne coffee to Japan. In Melbourne, the coffee tastes good at every café. The quality level is so high, and I really like Australian customer service. It’s so friendly and focuses entirely on the customer. We will focus on education and building a roastery and café that embodies those values. We will open in early April in Osaka, Japan.

If someone was visiting Osaka for the first time, which coffee spaces would you recommend they try?

I would love to say “Barista Map Coffee Roasters” which is our new café!

What is the difference in coffee culture between Melbourne and Osaka?

Both countries have an amazing coffee culture, however, Japan has many convenience stores and vending machines for different consumers. Sometimes people go to a café and drink coffee, but often they buy coffee at a vending machine if they don’t have time.

In Melbourne, consumers like to drink coffee at cafés at a slow pace and they usually drink 2-3 cups of coffee every day.

You had a long and successful career at ST. ALi, can you tell us about what it is like to work at this prestigious coffee business? 

I was really lucky to work with the ST. ALi Crew for almost 8 years, because I could learn about all the parts of coffee there. They had many talented baristas, including Matt Perger (Founder, Barista Hustle), Ben Morrow(Founder, Manhattan Coffee Roasters) who have gone on to do amazing things in the industry with the help of the platform that ST. ALi gave them. I learned so much about coffee skills, knowledge and mental skills from them. ST. ALi is open 365 days, they are really busy cafés. I would make literally thousands of cups of coffee a day. This situation is pretty hard to manage and make consistent coffee for customers at a busy café. It was an absolutely amazing situation and good to learn how to build career before I started my own company.

It’s my pleasure to continue working with them.

For the baristas who need some motivation, can you tell us about what it takes to become a Latte Art Champion?

As I said, l love coffee and love competition. Keep learning and keep going. That’s my motivation for everything.

What is your favourite part about being in the coffee industry?

Talking with customers and becoming a friend over coffee.

You are an extremely well-rounded coffee professional, what was it like learning to roast coffee? 

I really enjoy working in the coffee industry. Now I am starting my own roastery and café in early April. I have experience as a barista, trainer and ambassador for ST. ALi, then I moved to roasting coffee by myself. I learned the roasting skills and knowledge from ST. ALi and Craig Simon (Founder, Criteria Coffee) in Melbourne. This is absolutely such an important skill to build a career as a barista. After learning to roast, I now understand so much more about a coffee and how to get the best out of it.

What is your next big dream?

Of course, I want to be better and better. I started my own company and will open a new roastery and café in Osaka. I want to build a new coffee career here in Japan. I also started a new coffee farm project in Okinawa, in South Japan. This is really exciting! I will share this experience soon! Lastly, I am preparing a new project which is ST. ALi Japan. 

Can you please tell us what your favourite way to brew coffee is and what your recipe is for that particular brew method?

I love every coffee, it depends on mood or situation. However, I usually drink pour over and my weapon of choice is the Kalita Wave.

Here is my recipe:

12g of coffee

200ml of water

25 clicks (Commandante Grinder) - This is a medium coarse grind

90° C water, 40 ppm - This means he uses fairly ‘soft’ water with not a lot of mineral content, so probably best to use filtered water, we recommend the BWT Magnesium Mineraliser Jug

Method: First pour - 40g, Second Pour - 40g, Third Pour - 120g

Total brew time is 2:15sec

Have a wonderful coffee experience!

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WINNERS ANNOUNCED: #12daysofcoffeechristmas2021

Friday, 14 January, 2022

Congratulations to all the lucky winners and thank you to everyone who entered over the last two weeks. One of our favourite parts of running this competition on social media is hearing all your coffee stories and adventures, always reminds us how much coffee impacts people’s lives!

Day One - December 10th: 1kg Red Espresso + Aeropress + Spiced Chai x2 + Instant Red Cappuccino x2 sponsored by Red Espresso,  valued at R1500

WINNER: Sara Essop

Day Two - December 11th:  Home Barista Next Level A Shot in the Dark Kit: Genio Barista Apron + BWT Filtration Jug + Lizzard ASITD Branded Flask + Coffee! Valued at R2200

WINNER: Ciska Smit

Day Three - December 12th: Mastertons Christmas Hamper worth R1700 sponsored by Mastertons Coffee

WINNER: Raymond Antoncich

Day Four December 13th:  Wacaco Picopresso, compact, portable espresso maker, sponsored by MoreFlavour

WINNER: Lentheric Williams

Day Five - December 14th:  TWO WINNERS - Bialetti Italian Moka Classic and Bialetti Moka Induction sponsored by Bialetti SA, each valued at R1000

WINNER Italian Moka Classic:  Linda Chernis

WINNER Moka Induction: Christel Botes

Day Six - December 15th: Coffee for a Year + Coffee Mag Subscription sponsored by Discover Great Coffee Club, valued at R2400

WINNER: Kathryn Pelser

Day Seven - December 16th: Hario Pour-Over Set and Skerton Mill Grinder, sponsored by Equipment Cafe, valued at R1700

WINNER: Schalk Van der Westhuizen

Day Eight - December 17th: TWO WINNERS - MiiR Assorted Flasks, each prize valued at R1500, sponsored by MiiR SA

WINNER: Nonceba Lushaba

WINNER: Stuart Strang

Day Nine - December 18th: Go Grinder - Electric portable grinder from Timemore, sponsored by MoreFlavour valued at R2500

WINNER: Mark Hughes

Day Ten - December 19th: Exclusive Tasting Experience for Two + A Trio of Colombian Coffees with Winston Thomas 3xBarista Champion of Cedar Coffee, valued at R2500

WINNER: Tessa O'Halloran

Day Eleven - December 20th: The New Nespresso Vertuo Next valued at R3500

WINNER: Jacques Jacobs

Day Twelve - December 21st: Ratio 6 Filter Brewer sponsored by Electrical Industries, valued at R6500

WINNER: Fathima Simjee!!!!

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Thank you for your support of the Barn Owl team! They are making it count.

Thursday, 13 January, 2022

We popped into The Barn Owl over the festive season to give some hugs and support the team with our patronage after the tragedy that they experienced just before Christmas.

Chatting to Ryan he said the response to their appeal for help, "makes me believe that people are good and there is good in this world. We have paid for the next 4 years of school for the children that were left orphaned by the accident."

We were bowled over by their resilience. What a lovely experience. Delicious coffee as always. I tried the Breakfast Bowl for the first time, because Ryan described it to me as "Perfection!" He was not wrong. It was scrumptious.

The kids in our party were enamoured with the playground and the "best chicken nuggets ever".

And what more can we say about the setting and the beautifully designed cafe? The industry voted at the end of last year and Barn Owl Midlands walked away with the Coffee Magazine Award for Best Cafe Design presented by Vision Works Optometrists.

"We will have to see what direction we take here, we're not sure what needs to shift yet, but there will be changes for Barn Owl. But we'll all be ok."

You can still be part of the ongoing support of the team affected here.

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Summer Edition. Issue 38. It's time to celebrate!

Friday, 17 December, 2021

The small things matter. Even more so these days.

It is more difficult than ever to look up and take stock of the moments. We are all trying to get back what we’ve lost. To start something new. To claw back our freedom. To accept that things will likely never be the same no matter how hard we try.

And so we need to find joy in the small victories. Celebrate each other. Savour each sip of the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking. Take a moment to respect the people that grew it. Take a moment to respect the person who brewed it. 

So as we face another summer of uncertainty, not knowing if and when a new set of regulations will change everything all over again, let’s remember to celebrate.

Make that cocktail or mocktail you’ve been threatening to try out at home. Visit that new cafe you haven’t had a chance to get to yet. Spend a few minutes learning your favourite barista's story. Buy a coffee from a new origin country. Experiment with it, see how it tastes at different times after it’s been roasted. Up your water game at home.  

We can’t control much, but we can make the small things count. 

Hope your summer is full of mini celebrations. They matter.

Thank you for your support! All our best, Mel and Iain

Find a Distributing Cafe here.

Buy the online version here.

What is in this edition:

Cover: Mix it Up!

Celebrate beauty and enjoy the moments this summer with these delectable coffee cocktail recipes inspired by coffee professionals around the world

Discover: Celebrate the Best in the Business

The winners of the Coffee Magazine Awards 2021 have been revealed. Have you visited all these incredible coffee spaces? 

Roast: Keeping it Fresh

One of the most asked about topics in the coffee world centres around ‘freshness’.

We explore finding the sweet spot of flavour after roasting.

Brew: Home Cafe/  #홈카페 

There is an Instagram coffee trend in Korea called “Home café”. We explore how making something beautiful is good for the soul.

Origin: The Agents of Change

The new generation of coffee professionals in Indonesia are making moves to improve quality and champion specialty coffee. And the results are delicious!

The Ultimate Coffee Gift Guide 2022

Coffee is the gift that keeps on giving all year round and is the perfect for any occasion. We rounded up some of our favourite gadgets.

Kick: The Winning Formula

For coffee entrepreneur, Sibusiso Nkolothi, relationships are the key to success. 

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Donate to help the Barn Owl Coffee Team through tragedy

Monday, 20 December, 2021

We were incredibly saddened to hear of the horrific motor accident that has ripped through the Barn Owl team and we send all our love and condolences to all those affected. Unimaginable. This team brings a lot of light and joy to people's lives, let us help them through this very dark time. Thank you in advance to the coffee community x

Please help if you are able. DONATE HERE

"On Saturday the 18th of December 2021, seven members of the team were on their way to work when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which tragically resulted in two fatalities and one severely injured staff member. This devastating event has left behind small kids and elderly dependants. The surviving team members bear emotional scars and require urgent on-going therapy and support.

This is the start to a long road of recovery for The Barn Owl family of fourteen. Unfortunately we do not have the expertise to provide the level of support the team needs to heal and recover.

The proceeds will go to clinical trauma therapy as well as financial support for the families left behind. Our priority is mental health - in instances like this, it's typically neglected and we cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that our team has the opportunity to process their trauma with professionals."

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La Marzocco South Africa launches in Johannesburg

Friday, 3 December, 2021

Johannesburg, South Africa joins an illustrious list of official La Marzocco True Artisan spaces.

Add Johannesburg to this list!

The official launch of the state-of-the-art showroom took place last night, at Ferndale on Republik  with many local coffee personalities turning out to celebrate the milestone event.

In attendance, all the way from the UK, was Mike Khan, La Marzocco's Area manager for Africa, India and Middle East.  "The South African coffee scene has long been a beacon of high standards and our customers here have always appreciated the quality we can help them bring out in their espresso. Having our own independent distribution channel and a neutral space in which to interact with our latest products will help us to better connect with our community of baristas, cafe owners and coffee lovers."

Sinjon Wicks, La Marzocco South Africa said  "We created this space for you, our customers, to come and see what we have to offer, to touch and feel the machines, to ask questions and to see our range of incredible products"

George and Shawn from LM, demonstrating the new Wally fully automatic milk frother (it even tilts the jug!)

Sinjon, Mike and George Karatzas have recently completed a La Marzocco National Tour, meeting coffee communities and spending time in the various regions of SA with roasters and baristas.

Definitely worth a visit! A beautiful space with beautiful coffee equipment!

You can visit the store at Shop U 18, Ferndale on Republic, Republic Rd, 2194

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Coffee vs Wine: Why the Student must become the Master

Monday, 29 November, 2021

Words by Jono Le Feuvre (@han_drinks_solo)

In 1974, in an issue of the Tea & Coffee journal, journalist Erna Knutzen formally defined a term that would change the face of coffee forever: Specialty Coffee. She defined this term to talk about coffees that were (1) of the highest level of quality, separate from commodity grade coffee, and (2) in possession of very distinct flavour profiles, defined largely by their terroir. Just. Like. Wine.
This modest little piece, published in an even more modest trade journal would unleash a veritable tsunami of articles and videos, and marketing pieces over the next 40 years, all repeating what has become a very tired trope:

"Hey coffee lovers, you should know that coffee is just like wine" 

As someone who has spent almost 12 years in the specialty coffee industry, I have used this line more than most, but it was only when I founded a business in the wine industry that I noticed that no one ever uses that comparison in the reverse!
When was the last time you heard someone say, "you know what, guys?! Wine is just like coffee!"


Not ever.

And this is because wine - in all its smug self-sufficiency - is convinced that it'll glean not one single quantum of customer goodwill by comparing itself to coffee. After all, the oldest archeological evidence of winemaking is a massive 8000 years old. Winemaking equipment has been found in every major civilisation across the world from the Persian Empire 5000 years ago, to the Han Dynasty 3000 years ago, to the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Mesopotamians. Wine is kind of a big deal. Coffee, by comparison, struggles to reach back even 600 years in its appeal to antiquity. 

So when people say, "Coffee is just like wine," it's almost always squeaked from under a big black veil of perceived inferiority. When a barista, roaster, or cafe owner utters that comprehensively calloused catchphrase, "coffee is just like wine", what they're really saying is, "Please take us seriously." 

So that's exactly what we'll do.

But I'm not proposing that we take coffee seriously simply because "coffee is just like wine." Rather I'm proposing that the coffee industry  - specifically *Specialty* Coffee - should stand tall, and claim a position as leader amongst its peers by embodying three key qualities - relevance, inclusivity, and enthusiasm. Ideally, by the time I'm done, the wine industry will be wishing it was just like coffee. 

Relevance: if coffee is Tesla, wine is...IBM

Specialty Coffee may have started this millennium attracting memes like "the douchebag barista", but 20 years later, the industry's loudest voices are preaching social justice, economic transparency,  new technologies, and new flavours. It has championed environmentally-friendly processing techniques, and has been aggressively pursuing the development of new cultivars to account for climate change. These initiatives are exactly the sort of planet-conscious themes that have gripped the emerging wave of Gen Z consumers. In other words, if Greta Thunberg was a beverage, she'd be Joe.

And the sales data reflects this shift. Statista.com showed that between 2019 and 2021 wine sales in the United States shrunk, and are predicted (at best) to remain mostly static in 2021. Perhaps equally significantly, the plethora of memes and perpetual digital mockery would imply that Gen Z-ers are utterly unimpressed by the elitist, snooty, white male-dominated aura that the wine industry appears to embrace.

In contrast, coffee beverage sales in developed economies have shown strong growth for almost a decade, and are predicted to grow by at least 6-7% this year in the United States. In short, wine's flailing public image struggles to grip the imagination of the emerging youth, while coffee forges forward. 

Inclusivity & Inequality

At this point, it feels like I need to say that I have no beef with wine (although I do occasionally pair the two). I love wine for all the same reasons I love the magic and alchemy of coffee. I never tire of the way that a small change in a vineyard's soil, or sunlight, or cellar treatment can deliver dramatic swings in flavours and aromas. I get great joy from drinking a moody, green-grass-&-peppers sauvignon blanc alongside a blousy, tropical passion fruit bomb made from the same grape. One can't help but ask, "how can they possibly be so different?"

In the same way, I'm riveted as I listen to San Franciscan hipsters agonise over "the illusion of terroir", mostly because it reminds me of so many coffee conversations I've had over the years:

"Which is a bigger driver of coffee flavour: processing or terroir?"

"At what size does a crop of coffee cease to be "single origin"? 

"What is the maximum altitude range that one can have between low-lying coffee trees and high-lying coffee trees in a single farm, before the term "single origin" loses all meaning?" 

It's all the same nerdy stuff. Because coffee really is like wine. Both industries are a delight to the senses, and both industries inspire the most ridiculous academic pursuits of the abstract. So then why are the outcomes so different? My hunch is that one of the answers lies in another of those Gen Z core values: Inclusivity. 

Whether it is underpaid migrant workers in Burundi, overworked baristas in Cape Town, underrepresented women in management, or overarching cycles of oppression, these debates are the discussions that keep coffee pioneers awake. The ever-pressing drive to include and uplift is a rare and precious asset that Specialty Coffee portrays more than almost any other luxury industry that I can think of. 

It was privilege in my ten years with Rosetta Roastery to engage with companies whose primary goal was the uplifting and development of exploited coffee farmers. Outfits like Trabocca (in their partnership with the Ndaro-Ini Co-operative) and Nordic Approach, with their insistence on an elevated minimum price for the coffees they buy, are precisely the sort of teams that are missing from the wine industry. One might think that the wine industry would have an advantage in their ability to address the inequality between labourers and owners, given that producers and consumers often live in the same region. But it just ain't so. 

By comparison, in the coffee industry, consumers and producers are often separated by thousands of miles...and yet it's the Specialty Coffee industry that is most vocal about addressing those inequalities - no matter how far away they might be.

Enthusiasm: Sometime More is More.

Lastly, part of coffee's strength lies in its unrivalled, child-like, enthusiasm. A few years back I was watching a Youtube video, titled "Exploring Fermentation: Should Coffee be treated like wine?" In this video, Brazilian producer Felipe Croce gave a fascinating presentation on the list of potential benefits of yeast inoculation during the coffee fermentation process. And the possibilities were wild! One could potentially achieve (1) microbial control to prevent fermentation taints, (2) the introduction of attractive flavours through yeast strain modification, (3) the magnification of inherent flavours, and (4) the implicit improved earning potential for coffee farmers around the world. 

The excitement in the room was palpable. But then a wino opened their mouth to declare: 

"But if you add yeast into the mix then your coffee won't be pure." 

In that moment, the wino summed up all the differences between coffee and wine in one statement (which was pretending to be a question). To recap; Felipe (the coffee guy) had just shared potential ways to revolutionise coffee!!!... but Captain Wino was in the corner moaning about purity! Which is a little like watching a magician pull a pristine white rabbit out of a hat, and then complaining that the bunny is the wrong colour.

I think this fascination with the novel, and a 'blue skies' approach to new techniques is perhaps Specialty Coffee's most endearing quality. Coffee farmers, chemists, roasters, and baristas will do anything they can try to make coffee more engaging; more intriguing; more...enjoyable. The result of this collective drive is an undeniable enthusiasm over every little sensory advance, and every successful experiment. The questions that coffee professionals keep asking are "what if...?" and "why not?". And it is precisely these sorts of questions that have allowed coffee professionals to humbly borrow techniques like carbonic maceration from the wine industry, and learn from their processes. The end result of this enthusiasm and ingenuity is not only a better cup, but a warmer heart. 

Fermenting the baby with the bath water

Now, I am very aware that one might read this, and think that the wine industry is full of myopic misanthropes. It's not. In fact, I firmly believe that winemakers and viticulturists have a huge role to play in informing the coffee industry about regenerative farming, the link between agriculture and flavour development, and the merits of mapping cultivars to their ideal soils types and aspect. After all, wine has had more than ten times the history that coffee has had... which means it's had centuries longer to learn from its mistakes. 

BUT my point in all this is that coffee professionals need to know that they can stand up and recognise where their attitudes have become yardsticks and benchmarks that other industries should reference. And sure, we may still need to occasionally reference the familiar world of wine when convincing a new convert that there is more to coffee than Nescafe...but it's only a matter of time before wine will come begging for lessons on how to remain enthused, future-focused, and engaged with a fast approaching generation of thirsty consumers. 

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Creativity on a Cup! A competition to celebrate young designers

Tuesday, 23 November, 2021

The wonderful initiative to support student designers from Wild Bean Café,  Design-A-Cup, is in its third year and the results are always fun to see!

The prize money is a huge leg up for the winner - a cool R100 000 that will surely help them to achieve their career goals! They had to work for it though, over 300 entries were received this year! Yowzer! That's a lot of creativity for these coffee cups!

Renowned illustrator and graphic designer, David Tshabalala aka Slaying Goliath was part of the judging panel for 2021 – playing a key role in selecting and identifying the freshest and most relevant designs. Criteria used to judge the entries included interpretation of celebration, originality and creativity and relevance to Wild Bean Café brand.

Congratulations to the Top 3! Well done!

Three cups, three ladies, three cities!

As bp’s Wild Bean Café marks its 20th anniversary this year, in the same breath, its Design-A-Cup competition provided young South Africans with a great platform to express themselves by showcasing their wild, weird, and wonderful designs on the latest Wild Bean Café cup.

This year’s theme, My Cup, My Expression was as poetic and reflective of the yearning spirit of most creatives during this time. The theme was a dovetail from the 20-year anniversary celebrations and therefore centred around ‘what celebration means to you and how you would translate that celebration in a cup.’ 

This year’s edition attracted over 300 registrations from designers across the country. And the entrants didn’t disappoint, taking creativity to the next level and displaying South Africa’s rich talent pool and diversity. There was great diversity in the excellent designs received.

bp Head of Convenience, Belinda Petersen said “we had a tough time shortlisting the top 5 winners from the dozens of inspiring designs. It was exciting to see the passion these young people have put into their work. This campaign has been running for three years and each year it just gets bigger, stronger and more enjoyable.”

This year’s competition also sees the first all-female top 3 finalists – three ladies representing three cities. “We are very excited to have helped unleash girl power and passion - celebrating women in design by giving them the platform to really express their unique creative flair.”

In this spirit, please join us in congratulating the top 3 winners of the Wild Bean Café Design-A-Cup, Mika De Villers, Kelly Ntsedu and Latisha Ramsamy, who all demonstrated exceptional artistic quality and mastery.

The winners were announced in person at a celebration held at bp Beyers Naude on 28 October 2021.

Under the African sun

In first place, winning the grand prize of R100,000 is Cape Town-born interior architecture design student Mika De Villiers. Having been encouraged by her father to enter the competition, 21-year-old Mika knew she had to put her best foot forward and give her competition the mother of all challenges. As a third-year student at Inscape Education Group in Cape Town, Mika says she plans to incorporate graphic design and more creativity into her work. Mika says her design was inspired by the African sun and Mzansi’s diversity.

“We have this beautiful rainbow nation and I wanted to capture that in a uniquely inclusive manner – showcasing all our cultures in a way that tells our story of diversity to the international community, “she says.

Mika will use her cash prize to study further next year - pursuing an honour’s degree in architecture design.

“I entered the competition fully prepared to win, I gave it my all and I am very happy that my hard work has paid off. My parents also get a breather from paying tuition fees. I’m truly grateful to be able to take the pressure off my parents.”

Good vibes, good music

In second place, 22- year-old Vega School graphic design student Kelly Nsenda’s passion for creativity started at the tender age of four. Hailing from Pretoria, Kelly’s design was inspired by the city’s vibrant atmosphere, night life and music, which is beautifully reflected through the musical instruments and party scene on the cup. As runner-up, Kelly receives a MacBook Pro and a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud licence, which she will use to master her craft at Vega

“In making my career choice, I realised that you don’t always have to take the traditional, ‘socially acceptable’ route. Take pride in what you do, that’s all that matters really,” she said. 

It’s a celebration

A detailed design of celebration inspired by the vuvuzela, 22-year-old Latisha Ramsamy’s creative representation of Mzansi’s culture saw her take the third spot. Latisha hails from the city of gold and is a third-year graphic design student at University of Johannesburg.

“I am so grateful for the unwavering support from my mom, who despite being a single parent, did everything to ensure that I pursue my creative passion. Losing her job last year left us in dire straits and winning the MacBookPro will help push my design career even further.”

Belinda Petersen says the impact that the prizes have on the designers is a real win-win as they have poured their love and energy into the bp brand. “It is probably one of the most emotional campaigns that we have. All I want to say to all three winners is congratulations and keep doing what you are doing. We are exceptionally proud, and we are happy to have you on board.”

Show support for our winners and by grabbing yourself a Wild Bean cuppa for enjoyment together with the intricate cup designs. 

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