We need to be better. #blacklivesmatter

Thursday, 4 June, 2020

Image from @stuffgracemade

We have to be better. 

The Coffee Magazine is just two people, we are both white. We both know our privilege, we will always be learning and trying to be better. We have work to do.

We love being part of the coffee community and we strive to contribute positively to it. Following the protests erupting in USA and around the world sparked by George Floyd's death, we can't remain silent about the glaring failings of us and the systems in which we live when it comes to how we treat black humans. We believe coffee can change lives, let's make this a caring and aware community that looks after each other. #blacklivesmatter

Here are a couple useful resources we have been learning from: 

10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship:

Police brutality is an issue here in South Africa too.  Read this on brutality here at home: https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/analysis-police-brutality-why-its-easier-for-cops-and-soldiers-to-target-poor-black-people-20200605

Essential Reading: Steve Biko's I Write What I Like

Feeling helpless? Look for ways to educate yourself and contribute where you can.

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Make: A Chocolate Cookie Dalgona

Friday, 29 May, 2020

If you're stuck at home during lockdown without any access to fresh coffee or you've got some instant coffee lying around, then try using it in this creative recipe and learn how to make a simple Chocolate Cookie Dalgona.  Instant coffee is often quite bitter and generally doesn't taste great alone, hence a lot of people adding sugar and milk to it to make a hot beverage.  This recipe can be made hot or cold, as in the example here.

Watch Dale's video for the ingredients and the technique - it's really quite simple and a great way to use up that 'ol instant!

Da Vinci Chocolate Sauce x 15ml
Da Vinci Shortbread Syrup x 10ml
Instant Coffee x 2 tbsp
Sugar x 2 tbsp
Water x tbsp
Milk x 100ml
2 x cubes ice

If you'd like to order these products, place your orders on the Da Vinci Gourmet Website www.davincigourmet.co.za and receive the delivery at your front door, anywhere in South Africa!


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Level Up! Does Level 3 really change anything for coffee outlets?

Thursday, 28 May, 2020

The country rejoices as we gain another level towards opening back up, but does this have any bearing on how coffee businesses can operate?

Those who were on the fence about the legality of serving takeaway coffees can jump off the wall as collections will be allowed for restaurants and cafes who choose to be open, which will certainly mean that more places will feel comfortable to start selling again.

As this happens, the focus for law enforcement will surely be on crowd control. It's hard not to linger when you start to see your fellow regulars at the local coffee spot. The responsibility of this will fall to the cafe owners and baristas, so patrons, please try to be respectful in this time. Obviously we all want to hang out, starved for in person interaction, but in order to keep moving forward and keep everyone safe, we need to try keep to the rules in place .

Some places will still remain closed for now, this is up to each individual business owner, the concerns from Level 4 are still relevant. The capital needed, especially for restaurants, to start up again is quite substantial and without sitdown trade it might be difficult to recoup all the costs that go into running the business especially where fresh produce is involved, so business owners need to weigh up all the options. With the high tariffs on delivery services (see other interesting options here and here) any margins are all but wiped out.

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A Shot in the Dark 2020: Top 10 Announced

Thursday, 28 May, 2020

The Top 10 Finalists of A Shot in the Dark 2020 presented by Genio Roasters were announced this week.

Well done to all the competitors. We're so proud of you! The standard of this competition continues to rise. As you can see the scores were extremely close.

The cross-section from around South Africa is truly wonderful to see. All roasters will be sent their scoresheets and notes from the judges. You can find out how the coffees were assessed here.

You can watch the live announcement below - and also get an insight from our Sponsors, Genio and we chat to Head Judge Nicodemus Nabakwe from Sevenoaks Trading about the scoring procedure and cupping the competition coffees!  

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A Shot in the Dark 2020: Preliminary Round Judging

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

There was a flurry of excitement in the roasting world this week as the A Shot in the Dark presented by Genio Roasters competition coffees poured into the Sevenoaks Trading offices in Joburg, by courier, by hand and by homing pigeon - anything in fact - to beat the deadline!  There were some casualties along the way with some roasters unable to get their coffees through customs to SA or navigate the lockdown challenges - but in the end, 40 out of 50 competitors delicious parcels of goodness landed on the boardroom table at the Sevenoaks HQ. 

For those of you who don't know, Sevenoaks Trading, under the leadership of Carol Corlett, is one of the premier green coffee sourcing and distributing company in SA, with a 20 year history of trading in South Africa, and responsible for sourcing many of the best coffees around the world for our local market.   

A Shot in the Dark was started 3 years ago and has gone from strength to strength. This year the judging panel consisted of 3 of SA's top Q-graders: Nicodemus Nabakwe, Cuth Bland and Matthew Carter, ably assisted by the wonderful Thorisa and Paulien from Sevenoaks.  Mike MacDonald assisted in an advisory capacity and in updating the scoresheet beforehand.

Nicodemus Nabakwe, Head Judge weighs in: "It was another great opportunity awarded to me to judge this year’s ASITD. The judging panel and assistants were awesome and common sense prevailed where social distancing took precedence. Judges had to be split to judge on their separate tables as new rules were set. The score sheets this year improved from last year where flavour and sweetness took command of the roast". 

"All roasters who entered did extremely well as the bar was raised very high from last year’s competition. We had quite amazing roasts but what tantalized our taste buds more were City roasts. This roast brought out more refined flavours and sweetness with the final scores being tight after much calibration by the judges, Great work to all competitors who took part and see you all at CCW2020. May the best Roaster win."

Matt Carter joined the judging team in 2020 and we asked him about his experience cupping and scoring the different roasting profiles and styles of the competition coffee: "It was an incredible experience to cup alongside Nicodemus and Cuth, an absolute privilege which I'm super grateful for.  It was really interesting to taste the remarkable difference between the sets of cups even though it was the same coffee just by the different way people had roasted the coffee!  The roasting quality was impressive. We have some very good roasters in this country and I'm very proud to be have tasted the very best of them over these three days."   

Top 10 will be announced early next week!

Thank you to our incredible sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: Genio Roasters

Preliminary Round Coffee and Venue Sponsor Sevenoaks Trading

Final Round Coffee Sponsor: Specialty Coffee Exchange

Equipment sponsor: Equipment Cafe

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GIVEAWAY: Premium Chai Latte Powder + Milk Frother

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

With the days getting cooler and the lockdown getting longer, we're all looking for a bit of comfort in the small things. A chai latte is an uplifting blend of spices and creamy milk. Read all about how to make the best brew here.

Bringing joy seems to be what the Red Espresso team do best and they're putting up an amazing prize to keep you all smiling.

The prize includes:

1 x Spiced/Vanilla Chai Latte Powder

1 x Baccarat Venice Milk Frother 450ml

1 x Instant Spiced Chai Latte Sachets (box of 10)

The winner can choose whether they would like the Spiced Chai or Vanilla Chai powder.

How can you win? Easy peasy. In the comments below, tell us your favourite caffeine-free hot beverage alternative and tag two of your friends that you're going to have over for dinner and end off with warms cups of goodness when this lockdown is over!

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Cafe Focus: Toro Coffee

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

We chatted to Etienne of Toro Coffee to see how this wonderful brand that started in Potch is doing. They've sprouted multiple branches and are an energetic and deliciously caffeinated team!

What was it like putting together your beautiful cafes?

When we started out we had to do most of the shop fitting ourselves.  We had a lot of passion but did not have a lot of experience or a big budget for setting up the cafe, but we had a goal in mind and tried to accomplish this as good as we could.  We’ve since renovated probably on a yearly basis as we are still not were we want to be, but we are getting close;-)  With our other two locations, we had a good idea of what we wanted to do in the spaces available and luckily we’ve met a lot of contractors (that also became friends) during our time in the industry to know what we can leave to the experts.  The space is not perfect but it is home, we are more concerned about what you feel when you visit than what you see.

What is the ethos of your business?

We are a family and there will always be more space around the table for anyone to join our family.  We care for everyone that forms part of Toro, whether you are a customer, supplier or working for the company.  Toro means “dream” in Tswana (local language spoken in Potch) and we want everyone that works with us to fulfil their dreams.  

Tell us what makes the space special to you?  

The people.  The space will mean nothing without the people.  Our heart is really about building community and creating a space where people can connect and build relationships.  

What do you love most about being in the coffee industry?

Coffee = community

We’ve met so many people in the coffee industry that makes us want to dream even bigger and make an even bigger impact in the lives of people connected in someway to the industry.  Whether it means supporting local or buying fair trade (generous trade) it gives us the platform to be a part of that change.  We would love to see a new standard of doing business being set and we believe that that is achievable through coffee.  

How important are regulars to the fabric of day cafe life?

Regulars are a part of the DNA of any cafe.  You are known for the people that regularly occupy a space in the cafe.  For us it means getting to know people and building trust so that we can also impact their lives or let them impact ours.  It is so rewarding to share in the joy of someone or perhaps knowing when to support someone in a time of need.  This is only possible when the relationship has formed through regular interaction.  We value regulars more than what we can put into words.  They are the people that support our DREAM and make it possible to do what we love.

Name one menu item that we would never expect or have heard of before - a uniquely Toro creation! (food or beverage)

The Gabe.  This drink has 4 espresso shots over ice with a dash of fresh cream.  Named after a good friend that likes his coffee strong!!

How are you passing the time in lockdown? Give us your favourite silly thing to do! 

My wife and I became new parents on the day of lockdown and have been blessed to be able to spend this time with our baby girl.  The silliest thing we did was starting to run around our house to get some kind of a workout.  It started with a few laps and escalated in a 10km and later a half marathon.

Can people still get coffee from you during lockdown? 

We are allowed to ship coffee and also more recently have been able to do deliveries. 

Whats the first thing you’re going to do when you get into the shop?

Cleanup and get the espresso machine running as soon as possible.

What have you learned about yourselves and others that you didn’t know before this? 

House arrest doesn’t seem to be as much fun as I thought it would be.  On a more serious note, I’ve seen communities being able to stand together and look out for each other that can only happen when everyone involved goes through the same thing.  

What would you like to tell everyone in your community at this moment. 

We miss you and cannot wait to see everyone again.  This too will pass, we were created to be a part of this story for a time like this.  Let's write a good ending.

If you liked this article, then you may also like these:

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Help support front line workers and baristas through coffee

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

Support front line workers by keeping them caffeinated!

Coffee companies around the country are helping keep health workers motivated and awake with your support.

Bean There x Motherland: Buy a coffee for a health worker for R15

In partnership with Motherland, Bean There are supplying government health workers with coffee over this difficult time. You can join in the effort and help!

Red Band Barista Academy: Coffee 4 Heroes

What a fantastic initiative from this Port Elizabeth based team. Makes our hearts burst with pride at coffee people doing the most to lift others up! Buy a coffee and support both health workers and the Red Band Baristas, amazing!!!

"Our Red Band Baristas, trainers and coffee bars are closed and therefore can't earn a living from selling coffee, they are the very life blood of their families. The coffee bean that changed their lives so significantly is now not under lockdown.
We want to be able to pay our Baristas salaries and help the medical staff who are fighting the virus on the front-line. So while we can’t open our Red Band coffee bars we will be serving hospital workers with free coffee.
Every cup you purchase from us we will give a cup away.
By doing this we keep our Baristas employed and give a wonderful coffee to the people that need it most working on the front line at the hospitals."

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