Interview: A Taste of Africa with Lee Kasumba

Thursday, 25 July, 2019

Radio and TV presenter and writer, Lee Kasumba, is a Cuban-born Ugandan that calls the whole of Africa home. From starting out on radio while studying a full-time BA Dramatics Arts degree, Lee’s career path has taken her all over Africa.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

“My path has been slightly different to say the least. While at YFM, I got the honour of being the editor of the award winning YMAG. I was the longest standing editor, the youngest, and the only female editor. Other career highlights include being the head of Channel O Africa - where my focus areas were West, East and Central African music markets. Here I ended up doing work on projects within Nollywood too and just overall was able to work within African Music, Pop Culture and the Film Industry. 

Fast forward to today, I do correspondence work with the Primedia Group (702/Cape Talk). There is my podcast Africa State of Mind which is currently the pride of my life. To get to interview such incredible people that inspire me and others, and are at the forefront of leading Africa across sectors is so humbling. I also got to do Africa Connected with Standard Bank, which was something I have always wanted to do. So that was awesome - again traveling the continent and telling African stories – that is truly my heart. 

I also have a production company that produces content for international companies like E! Entertainment and for Mnet West Africa too. I guess I see myself as a proponent for African Culture!”

In 2018, you travelled across Africa to explore the continent’s opportunities and potential for growth?

“That was for Standard Africa Connected 2.0 with 702 and Cape Talk. It was an awesome assignment to be on. The idea was to go to different countries within the continent and see how business is done in those countries/markets. We got to see how tech and innovation was impacting young people in the continent. We came across some great green projects too, which was awesome to see. 

Then of course, you can't talk Africa and doing business in Africa without understanding or getting a taste of the cultural nuances too. The purpose was to share these stories, highlight opportunities, and showcase African solutions to African challenges. And of course, to hopefully pique the interest of South Africans to go see what the rest of the continent has to offer.”

What is your favourite thing about travelling through Africa?

“My favourite part about travelling the continent of Africa is that everywhere feels like home. I also am always impressed by how much changes; literally the changes within a few months to a year if you repeat countries is so impressive. As fast as the changes are – the people the culture and the spirit remains the same. The best of both worlds.”

Are you a coffee drinker? What’s your coffee of choice?

“I am more than an avid coffee drinker to put it mildly. My coffee of choice, which I of course don't get to drink much of, is Ethiopian Coffee with Tena Adam. Something about the fresh mix of coffee and the plant; I have never tasted anything like it honestly. It’s like Ethiopia's best kept secret and it’s how they used to drink it. It’s not done as frequently in Ethiopia anymore, but that has got to be my favourite preferred cup of coffee. Yum!”

As part of your travels, you visited Côte d’Ivoire. What was your impression of the country?

“Cote D'Ivoire was truly a pleasant surprise, for many reasons. Firstly, I think they have one of the most efficient airports that I have been too. The airport is a foyer to a country. It’s also extremely orderly, so even then traffic jams somehow feel like all is in order. It’s a melting pot – I loved bumping into people from all around the world. It has a charm to it – in a way that I haven’t experienced; so yes, you find a French or Parisian influence, but it’s with a very heavy and gorgeous African texture. The urban landscapes, textured with some historical buildings that tell the story of Cote D'Ivoire. I feel like it’s a country that everyone needs to visit – you won’t be disappointed.”

You’ve mentioned expecting to have amazing coffee everywhere you went in Côte d’Ivoire, but this wasn’t the case?

“This wasn't the case because there weren’t all that many coffee shops. I also didn't see a lot of Ivorian coffee for sale in the stores or even in the hotels. Unfortunately, there was a lot of instant coffee! Also, when I did finally get to taste Ivorian coffee, it had a really bitter taste to it. I also found that most of the beans were sent out the country and then brought back in once processed and packaged. So, the cost factor probably plays a huge role in this too. I feel as though it hasn’t been tapped into enough yet and there is a huge gap/opportunity for the Ivorians.”

If Côte d’Ivoire is known for its coffee, why don’t Côte d'Ivoire people have a culture for drinking good coffee?

“No, there definitely isn't a huge coffee culture. My producer on ground who loves coffee too got her coffee from Rwanda. So that says a lot. But the people just don’t seem to enjoy coffee; from my experience, coffee just didn’t seem to be part of the local palette. I think I was expecting it to be like Ethiopia where people love their coffee regardless of age, class and so forth. This wasn't the case in Cote D'Ivoire.”

Did you get a chance to visit one of Abidjan’s specialist coffee shops?

“Yes. I visited Couleur Cafe which was open and is owned by a 25-year old young lady, Fabiienne Dervain. The ambience was great and also the clientele was very hip; almost felt like what you would get at say a Starbucks in LA or NYC – that sort of clientele. I was extremely impressed all round.”

What could someone expect to pay for a good coffee in Abidjan?

“I had a cappuccino and it set me back like R52 or more if I remember correctly. And it wasn’t a huge cup; it was pretty small!”

Do you think the specialist coffee culture will grow and become more popular in Côte d’Ivoire?

“Yes I think it can, I just feel we need to remember that as a nation, Cote D'Ivoire only really started to stablise in 2012 – so the way that they have grown is incredible. I think also from my conversation with Fabiienne that as more Ivorians move back home, this culture will grow too. I do think once coffee is produced in Cote D'Ivoire from start to finish and it starts to have a stronger impact on the economy, that will change too.”

During your travels, did any country's coffee culture stand out as particularly unique?

“Definitely Ethiopia. I think just the art of having people prepare it in their homes is so yummy. And the various ways that it can be taken and the different types of coffees. I am probably under-selling, but Ethiopia without a doubt!”

Which country in Africa would you recommend for people to visit?

“I honestly can't answer this – I love everywhere in the continent. I would just say if the opportunity comes up, take it – you won't be sorry.”

Any last thoughts about your travels through Africa?

“Just that everything, every part of Africa, is some kind of wonderful. Take the plunge!

Follow Lee Kasumba on Instagram to keep up with her travels, stories and podcast!

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Coffee with a Cop: Coffee bridges the gap between policemen and the community

Friday, 2 August, 2019

All images: The Alberton Record

Building relationships. One cup at a time.” That’s the tagline of the Coffee with a Cop community engagement initiative which launched in California in 2011, and has since expanded around the world, proving the unifying power of coffee. Having found its way to South Africa, the third meeting of community members and police officers recently took place in Alberton in Gauteng. 

Organised by Eddiewren McClary and chairperson of the Gauteng Provincial Community Policing Board, Thokozani Jacob Masilela, Coffee with a Cop is working to bridge the gap between the police and the community they serve, breaking down barriers and building trust in the process. The events give police officers and the public the opportunity to get to know each other, ask questions, and discuss issues that matter to them over a cup of coffee in an informal, relaxed setting.

Building relationships 

Not many citizens can claim to have spent time with the officers in their community. In fact, most of us only encounter police officers when there’s an emergency or crisis. Coffee with a Cop opens the door for more meaningful interactions, where both parties can talk about their community concerns and how to help each other. 

It’s also a chance to see the police in a different perspective. As Masilela says, the police are also human beings; they come from these communities, they have families, and ultimately, “every relationship starts with a conversation.

Improving trust is a long-term process, and these events are helping to bring the police and the public closer. Coffee with a Cop gives people the chance to chat to police one-on-one about local concerns, crime prevention measures, and even learn more about police work in the community. 

Connecting with the community

At the end of the day, it’s all about connection, using the simple idea of coffee and conversation to bring the police and the public together in a social setting. Hopefully this initiative takes off across South Africa – we need more community engagement initiatives that connect people, and what better way to do it than with a cup of coffee?

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A beautiful day at the Deaf Barista Championship 2019

Tuesday, 30 July, 2019

This is one of the best events of our coffee calendar.

To take these incredible baristas out from behind their espresso machines and into the limelight of the Coffee & Chocolate Expo can be incredibly daunting, but everyone took it in their stride and gave wonderful performances. The competition began three years ago as a platform to raise awareness of the Deaf Barista Training program championed by Ciro, eDeaf and UNISA. It was a way to showcase their skills and help get the baristas placed in permanent jobs so that the project was sustainable moving forward. We are very pleased to announce that of the eight competitors that took part this year, all have permanent employment and support from their employers. This is a fantastic vote of confidence in the success of this project and we hope to see it continue long into the future.

The 2019 Champion was Mduduzi Lukhuleni (Old Mutual), who won the inaugural competition in 2017. He placed 3rd last year and was determined to come back strong. He blew the judges away with his charm, professionalism and delicious beverages.

Barron Fourie-Williams (Tsebo Beverage Solutions working at Yum Head Office), who placed second, was just a joy to watch. Careful and deliberate in her performance, her smile melted every heart as she placed her wonderful drinks in front of the judges.

Karabo Motla (Tsogo Sun Monte Casino) placed third. So much spunk and confidence and we can see the competition bug has hit him hard! Watch out Mdu, Karabo is hot on your heels!

The work that goes into this competition is a team effort, but it was all co-ordinated and driven by Lizaan Alberts of Ciro Coffee Academy. What a woman! 

Lizaan Alberts, signing 'Thank you!' to her team!

As Iain Evans said at the prizegiving, there is no reason that at some point in the future, a deaf barista could make it to the National Barista Championship stage, as sign language is an official language and interpreters are allowed at these competitions. And maybe even one day, they will make it to Worlds! We would be proud to have any of these individuals represent South Africa on the World Stage.

Thank you to all the sponsors of this competition: Ciro Coffee Academy, eDeaf, UNISA, Hearing Works, Coffee Magazine, Coffee & Chocolate Expo, Genio Roasters.

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WINNERS: SCASA GP Regionals 2019

Monday, 29 July, 2019

CONGRATULATIONS to the Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa Gauteng Regional Winners. All finalists have qualified for the 2020 National Coffee Competitions, congratulations! Well done to all competitors and sponsors and the amazing volunteers. Amazing weekend at Coffee & Chocolate!

Barista WINNER: Trevor Fitz - Beethoven Coffee Co
Runner up: John Gareth Evans - TriBeCa Coffee
3rd: Fanie Botes from thirdspace
4th: Jesse Andersen-Dodkins - Father Coffee
5th: Samantha Naidoo - TriBeCa Coffee 
6th: Thandiwe Shonhiwa - Wiesenhof ABSA Towers Wiesenhof Franchise.

Cup Tasters Winner: Karel Viviers from Coocoocachoo Runner up: Thabang Klainbaas Maluleka - Ciro Full Service Beverage Co. 
3rd: Viwe Lugongolo - Father Coffee 
4th: Nicodemus Nabakwe from Sevenoaks Trading (Pty) Ltd

Latte Art Winner: Elizabeth Gumbo- Seattle Coffee Co Runner Up: Sibusiso Ndzuzo - TriBeCa Coffee.

All photos the Coffee Magazine unless otherwise stated.

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SCASA Gauteng Regional Champs 2019

Thursday, 25 July, 2019

The stage is set for an epic battle in the Gauteng Regional competition. A lot of heavyweight names stepping in to the ring for this season of coffee competitions, all vying for the top spots so they can get their ticket to Nationals! Nationals will be held in Johannesburg next year, so with the competition in their backyard it was in the homeground contenders' interests to get involved, and get involved they did!

In the Barista Championship Trevor Fitz, John Evans and Sam Naidoo are all returning, having competed at multiple Nationals each, but from there the field opens up nicely with a lot of new faces trying their hand at the most difficult discipline. 

See you there!

You can download the full schedule here.

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Experience: Find a Coffee Tasting near you

Thursday, 25 July, 2019

Where to go in South Africa for coffee cuppings and tastings

You may be familiar with wine tastings, but have you ever sat down to multiple courses of coffee? Many roasters and cafés now offer tasting menus for coffee lovers looking to explore and discover the unique characteristics of different coffees. The cupping allows you to compare and contrast different coffees.

Bean There Coffee Company

44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark, Johannesburg

Bean There Coffee Company is South Africa’s first roaster of Certified Fair Trade coffee. Join the Bean There team for a coffee cupping morning – a sensory journey of the alluring aromas and fascinating flavours of Africa’s finest single origin coffees. Learn about the process of coffee from crop to cup, share in a coffee tasting and enjoy some snacks while you expand your palate. 

Origin Coffee Roasting

28 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town

Origin offers high quality roasted coffee from around the world, and one of their many claims to fame is the widest selection of single origin coffees in South Africa. Sit in on a cupping session to experience the varied tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. Origin’s Head Roasters make sure every Cupping is a unique experience.

Craft Coffee Roastery

50 Gwigwi Mrwebi Street, Newtown, Johannesburg

Frequently referred to as a “hidden gem”, this roaster offer coffee cupping sessions, along with roaster tours where you can learn about the art and science of sourcing and roasting beans.

Villamar Roastery Café

Oudebrug Farm, Wellington

Experience Villamar’s special artisanal roasted selection of coffees and see if you can taste the difference between the various African and South American blends and single origin brews. Coffee tastings are done in the roastery with an introduction to coffee and the roasting process, from bean to cup. You can even try a coffee and chocolate tasting if you’re feeling adventurous!

Hello. It's Me.

254 Main Road, Walmer

This fabulous restaurant in PE hosts regular Coffee and Cake Pairing Events with unique, speciality coffees. Follow their Facebook page for event postings. Shaun Aupiais and Chris Burke from Redband Barista Academy, provide the coffee knowledge for the evenings, taking you on a coffee journey to discover taste balance, body and complexity of coffees from around the globe.

Assagay Coffee Farm

D157 Road, Camperdown

Learn how the coffee is made before you taste the end result! A coffee tasting at Assagay Coffee Farm starts with a tour of the farm and the various stages of processing, from the trees growing in the fields through to milling and roasting.

Coco Safar

Artem Centre, 277 Main Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town

This Cape Town based café and patisserie offers a free rooibos cold brew tasting experience with every online booking – a must-do if you’re interested in checking out their botanical micro-brewery. Exclusive cupping experiences can also be booked. 

Remember, most coffee cuppings or tastings are by appointment only – so be sure to book ahead of time. Please let us know in the comments below if you've been to a tasting somewhere fantastic!

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A Shot in the Dark: The Final Cut

Wednesday, 24 July, 2019

We are so pleased to release Coffee Magazine's A Shot in the Dark 2019 presented by Genio Roasters, in association with Sevenoaks Trading, Speciality Coffee Exchange and Equipment Cafe. Watch the highlights from the Preliminaries and Finals and the Announcement of the Top 3 from FNB Creative Coffee Week.

Well done to the Top 3 for 2019

WINNER: Andre Vermeulen - Bottomless Blessings, Ermelo

Wins an origin trip with the Coffee Magazine Team

RUNNER UP: Ben Ferreira - Brothers Coffee, Groot Brak, Garden Route

Wins 60kg of speciality Tanzanian coffee

3RD PLACE: Ansophi van der Merwe - Routed Roasters, Jeffrey's Bay

Wins entry into 2020 A Shot in the Dark worth R5000.

If you would like to win an amazing A Shot in the Dark and FNB Creative Coffee Week Hamper, simply watch the video and fill in the entry form below!

A Shot in the Dark: The Final Cut

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FNB Coffee Magazine Awards Winners 2019

Monday, 22 July, 2019

Congratulations to all our nominees and then a special congratulations to the FNB Coffee Magazine Award Winners 2019

Dedication to Education
WINNER: David Bassett - Woza Coffee

Award Presented by Mike Mac Donald of Sevenoaks Trading

Best Cafe Design
WINNER: Pauline’s - Seapoint, CT

Award presented by Wayne Burrows of MilkLab and accepted on behalf of Pauline's by Jono Le Feuvre.

Excellence in Coffee
WINNER: Cuth Bland- Bean There Coffee Company

Award presented by Noeleen Fletcher of Scotsman Ice Systems

Best New Cafe
WINNER: Holiday Coffee - PE

Award presented by Kirsty Reid of Red Espresso to Chris Faragher of Holiday Coffee

Best New Roastery
WINNER: Bluebird Coffee Roasters - Durban

.Award presented by Tiaan Kilian of Genio Roasters

Best Alternative Brewing Experience
WINNER: Origin Coffee Roasting - CT

Award presented by George Karatzas of Equipment Cafe

Reader’s Choice Award - Favourite Cafe
WINNER: Fàbrica - Sunningdale, Durban

Award presented by Sam Sosibo of Jonsson Workwear

Reader’s Choice Award - Favourite Franchise
WINNER: Seattle Coffee Co.

Barista Trainer of the Year
WINNER: Belinda Flynn - Flynn Coffee

Award presented by Stephen Osbourne of Sanremo SA

Coffee Personality of the Year 
WINNER: Winston Thomas

Award presented by Craig van Buuren and Stefaan Esprit of BWT

Coffee Team of the Year 
WINNER: Bean There Coffee Company

Award presented by Innovate Durban Team

Cafe of the Year 
WINNER: Thirdspace - JHB

Award presented by Mandisa Ndlovu of FNB

Roastery of the Year
WINNER: Rosetta Roastery

Award presented by Grant Smith of FNB

Barista of the Year 
WINNER: Simnikiwe Mkhize

Award presented by Warren Fenner of RMB and Jay Pillay of FNB

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