Build up to Nationals 2020: Barista Profiles One

Wednesday, 29 January, 2020

In little over a month's time the best of the best coffee professionals from around South Africa will gather in Johannesburg at HOSTEX to battle it out for top honours in SCASA's National Coffee Competitions in three categories: Cup Tasters, Latte Art and Barista Championships (Don't know what these are? Here are the basics).

Over the next month we will be introducing you to the legends that have progressed to this level and who have their sights set on international glory and a ticket to either Warsaw, Poland or Melbourne, Australia.


Name: James Kilbourn

What competition are you qualified for at Nationals: Cup Tasters

Competition History: Took part in both 2018 and 2019 Central Region Cup Tasters - won 2019. Competition Judge for Western Cape Barista & Latte Art Championships 2016, Central Region Barista & Latte Art Championships 2018 & 2019.

Company representing: Stereo Cafe

Job in coffee industry: Coffee Roaster / Barista

Why did you enter this competition? To test and  improve my skills as a coffee roaster and cupping skills

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? Malawi Misuku Highlands Gesha 

What has been the highlight of the journey so far? Opening my own roastery and cafe.

Why do you think these competitions are important ? It’s an important part of learning your trade and being able to benchmark your knowledge and skill against other coffee professionals. It’s also a great opportunity to network with people in the industry.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee). I worked in the radio broadcasting industry for over 20 years (including my varsity days) before the coffee bug bit me.

If you could travel to any coffee producing country in the world, where would it be and why? I’d love to visit the forests of Ethiopia - the birthplace of Arabica coffee and where the coffee grows wild. It would be wonderful to see how different the wild trees are to the cultivated crops that we see on coffee farms and to see how coffee is harvested, processed, roasted and brewed by the local community the way it has been for centuries.


Name:  Winston Thomas

What competition are you qualified for at Nationals: Barista

Competition History

Regionals = 2nd place 2016, 1st place 2017, 2018 & 2020

Nationals = 8th place 2016 , 1st place 2017 & 2018

Company representing: Winston Douglas Coffee

Job in coffee industry: Business owner and barista trainer

Why did you enter this competition

I took a break in 2019 to focus on family and my business, in order to have a bit more stability. I wanted to come back in 2020 only if I had something to say or some kind of contribution to make. The initial contribution has changed but I do believe I have some value to add so here I am :)

What is your favourite coffee at the moment

I haven’t been as active tasting coffee at different cafes and roasteries as I used to and I no longer work in a cafe where I can taste coffees on a daily basis. I’ve tasted a few special coffees via samples I received for comp but I am going to be biased and say my competition coffee. Mainly because there is a lot more to it than the sensory aspect. I’m working directly with a farmer so I’ve got full transparency. But more about that when I get to stage!

What has been the highlight of the journey so far?

More recently I really enjoyed seeing Ndumiso Qolintaba grow and make it to the top 6 in the Western Cape Barista Regionals and qualify for Nationals. I’ve known him for a long time and to see him achieve one of his life long goals was amazing. On top of that by pure chance the owner of the washing station (I speak under correction, it might have been the owner of the farm but I’m not too sure) who happened to be in Cape Town during the time of comp showed up during his finals performance after hearing that a barista was using his coffee.

Why do you think these competitions are important ?

There are so many things with mentioning. In short they are barista development in technical, sensory and presentation, networking opportunities, developing community in the industry, career development for baristas etc etc etc.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee)

I’m getting married 2 weeks after comp! And it has overshadowed my excitement for competition haha. But I’ll still put in my best and if all goes well we might do a second honeymoon in Melbourne :)

If you could travel to any coffee producing country in the world, where would it be and why?

There are two! At the moment I would really like to go back to Rwanda and visit farms. I have been there before but did not get a chance to visit any farms. But if Nationals goes according to plan that might be come a reality :) I would also like to visit some friends who own a cafe and roastery in a surf town in the Philippines - El Union. I know they would also take me to a couple of farms. You should contact them for an article! (hint hint).


Name: Fikile (Aka Fiks) Khuzwayo

What competition are you qualified for at Nationals: Barista Competition

Competition History: 2nd place in Kzn Regional 2019

Company representing: MrP Foundation

Job in coffee industry: Barista

Why did you enter this competition? To challenge myself and give myself more exposure in the coffee field

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? Double Americano

What has been the highlight of the journey so far?  Attending coffee Competition has Given me more confidence to this field and realising the Bright future that comes with this Journey

Why do you think these competitions are important ?  That is where I see myself capabilities and pushing my abilities to the maximum. 

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee) Mentoring. Young people to guard and assist them in life couching by using my experience to help another person and love cooking and baking too.

If you could travel to any coffee producing country in the world, where would it be and why?  Rwanda! Travelling to Rwanda getting more understanding and most of all meeting the woman who play such a Big Role in the Coffee Farm. #3Africansisters. It will be honour to Learn from them #WomanInCoffee.


Name: Thabang Maluleka 

What competition are you qualified for at Nationals: Cup Tasters

Competition History: 2017 Gauteng Cup tasters 1st runner up, 2018 Gauteng Cup tasters Champion, 2019 National Cup tasters Champion, 2019 Gauteng Cup tasters 1st runner up.

Company representing: Ciro Full Service Co.

Job in coffee industry:  Quality Assurance Technician

Why did you enter this competition? I’ve always wanted to become something like an expert on coffee, this competition helps me gage how close I am to my coffee goals, I’ve also found that I meet a lot of people that have vast coffee knowledge I’m able to absorb and stay relevant in this forever changing industry.

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? I try not to have a specific favorite as I’ve found that it makes me biased when tasting the coffees I love agains other coffees, but if I really really had to chose I’d say most of the Ethiopian coffees.

What has been the highlight of the journey so far?  Representing South Africa on a global platform in Berlin,Germany 2019

Why do you think these competitions are important ? I think they are important for keeping the coffee culture in our country alive, this in turn brings a lot of coffee education and opens a lot of opportunities for all of us farmers, producers, coffee professionals as well as consumers. In my little time participating in this competitions I’ve seen a lot of social development drives that also pushes one to want to do more and lend a helping hand where possible.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee)

I host music events to try and promote township and rural area DJs &so they could have a chance in the entertainment industry.

If you could travel to any coffee producing country in the world, where would it be and why? Ethiopia- I love Ethiopian coffees and it’s where the coffee was discovered, so why not start at the beginning of it all!


Name: Trevor Fitz

What competition are you qualified for at Nationals: Barista Championships

Competition History: My previous achievements include winning the Gauteng champions twice, and finishing 2nd in the South African Nationals

Company representing: Beethoven Coffee Co

Job in coffee industry: I am a director and shareholder of Beethoven Coffee Co. I am also the head roaster, it's my job to make sure everything tastes good.

Why did you enter this competition? My Main aim is to get to the World Championships. I would really like a stab at it, I like the bigger crowds and the larger stage. I come from a training background so we the idea of the big stage really excites me. I guess that's why I entered this cycle.

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? Ethiopian Kochere. I just love the diverse flavours it is capable of producing.

What has been the highlight of the journey so far? I would say winning Gauteng for the second time. I was in Kenya for a corporate work trip up until prep day of the competition. I landed at the airport and drove straight to the venue to do my machine practice time at about 19:00. The next day I was on stage. I really didn't think I could win it in that situation, I felt under prepared and was looking simply to place for Nationals. But to come away with victory really showed me that I do have what it takes, and that Nationals is indeed a realistic goal for me. So that's what I'm aiming for now!

Why do you think these competitions are important? I think they are important because they force roasters and baristas to pay close attention to their coffee. The roast profile, the extractions, and even the farming and processing of the coffee. It's great information and learning to tack back into the industry. It can really help advance the quality and education of Coffee in SA.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee)

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If you could travel to any coffee producing country in the world, where would it be and why? Guatemala. I love the rich history that they have, stemming back all the way to the Mayan civilization. It has also been one of my favourite coffee origins for as long as I can remember, and the farmlands look super picturesque. Would love to experience that. 


Photo by @meyer&reneproductions

Name: Stevo Kühn

What competition are you qualified for at Nationals:

Barista competition

Competition History

Central region

2018 - 2nd

2019 - 1st

Nationals 2019 - 7th

Company representing: Urban Brew Coffee

Job in coffee industry: Barista trainer 

Why did you enter this competition

To push myself to learn & to network with other coffee legends.

What is your favourite coffee at the moment

Recently tried a experimental processed Panama Gesha. It was pretty exceptional.

What has been the highlight of the journey so far?

I had the opportunity to train baristas in Bahrain. Working with 7 different nationalities taught me that coffee is truly universal!

Why do you think these competitions are important ?

Competition forces us as professionals to move the boundaries of innovation & excellence.  It also fosters a coffee community.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee)

Uhm, I used to be in a band that did short tours with Prime Circle & Dan Patlansky, haha!

If you could travel to any coffee producing country in the world, where would it be and why?

I suppose anyone would love to visit Ethiopia. For me- any African country would be amazing!

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!


Bringing the world of coffee to Tshwane!

Tuesday, 3 December, 2019

Local Pretoria coffee shop, CupoCafe has undertaken to bring coffee from farm to cup to the city! If you're looking to learn more about the process of getting the coffee you drink every day in your cup, then go visit the Le Roux family this December!

"This December we are caffeinating our CHRISTMAS

Come on over for a full farm to cup coffee experience right here at CUPOCAFE.

With and exhibition explaining the process of coffee farming from coffee trees to the drying bay and roasting process of coffee.

This is an interactive experience for young and old.
Want to learn more about coffee and how it is made?
- then this is for you

Learn to make a cappuccino like our baristas behind the bar
or learn how to brew in the comfort of your own home with home brewing methods of all kinds.

Step into OUR WORLD OF COFFEE with plenty of Christmas gift ideas to choose from."

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Who wants to go to Melbourne for WBC 2020?

Thursday, 28 November, 2019

In 2018, Coffee Magazine took a trip to Australia and one of our key experiences was the Melbourne International Coffee Expo aka MICE.  Now, for those of you who haven't heard of MICE, it is known throughout the Asia Pacific as the largest and most exciting dedicated coffee event. Established back in 2012, it has become a must-attend event for everyone in the coffee community. 

As a result of our visit and this magazine's steady growth trajectory both across Africa and the world, we are extremely honoured to be have been asked to be an official media partner to MICE and we can vouch from our experience, that from a coffee lovers point of view, Melbourne is one of the most progressive coffee cities in the world, so if you've ever wanted to visit down under and experience a city that takes it's coffee extremely seriously, then this is the perfect reason to visit. 

Regularly attracting over 11,000 attendees, MICE connects café owners, roasters, equipment manufacturers, service suppliers and more to facilitate real business opportunities. The expo provides a wealth of networking opportunities alongside Melbourne Coffee Week.

In 2020, MICE will host the World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup, showcasing Melbourne and our coffee talent to the world.  So who wants to go?

All you need to know can be found at https://internationalcoffeeexpo.com/

Plus, if you buy your ticket now,  you will enter into the running to win some amazing Christmas gifts on offer from some very generous MICE exhibitors. 

The giveaway will take place from 2 – 8 December and will involve products from exhibitors such as Undercover Roasters, Casa Espresso, Veneziano Coffee Roasters, Barista Technology, Pablo & Rusty’s Coffee RoastersChai Spice, Almond Breeze, Vitasoy, Jetblack Espresso, Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters, Five Senses Coffee, The Alternative Dairy Co., and Industry Beans.  

To be eligible for the draw, you must be a MICE ticket holder. Once you have purchased a MICE ticket, you will need to like / follow MICE on FacebookInstagramor Twitter as the daily prize draws will be conducted via these platforms. 

During the campaign week photos of the prizes up for grabs will be shared across MICE socials. The final step to win a prize simply involves commenting on a given prize photo using the hashtags "#MICE2020 and #XMAS". This can be done on either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Prize photos will be posted every day of the campaign week, with winners being announced on the same day.

Get your MICE tickets now to enter the running for some amazing prizes!

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Save the Date: Creative Coffee Week 2020

Wednesday, 13 November, 2019

We are super excited to announce the dates for Creative Coffee Week 2020!

For the 3rd year in a row, Durban will play host to some of the World's leading coffee celebrities and for 3 days they will hang out and impart their insights into coffee and generally just mingle as we run through the CCW programme.

Creative Coffee Week is unlike any other event on the Coffee Calendar. It's a chance for the top people in coffee ( and those interested in coffee) to get together, discuss relevant issues in coffee in SA, to share knowledge, to compete in A Shot in the dark, drink great coffee, discover new equipment and techniques, learn from experts in other fields...and generally just geek out amongst coffee friends. 

It all culminates with the Gala Dinner and the Coffee Magazine Awards  - a fitting celebration to reward the excellent people and businesses in coffee for 2020.

Save the date!  We hope to see you all there!

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KZN Cup Tasters and Latte Art

Thursday, 7 November, 2019

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Get Inked while you Drink (Coffee)

Tuesday, 8 October, 2019

On Sunday the 3rd of November Equipment Cafe will be celebrating the sub-culture of body art within the coffee industry, and the freedom of expression that this beautiful industry allows us. We can't wait, it's going to be so much fun!

One of the most highly regarded tattoo studios in the country, Sally Mustang Tattoos will be inking up coffee professionals with designs inspired by coffee culture

They'll also be hosting a Latte Art Throwdown in conjunction with the inimitable Wayne Burrows from MilkLab and outrageously good coffee from Seam Coffee and the chaps from Thirdspace.

Baristas will compete on the beautiful Modbar to win their share of R6000 in cash prizes, merchandise and coffee.


Terbodore will be keeping us cool and caffeinated with their incredible cold brew tonic.

Ladha Coffee Baristas will be slinging espressos throughout the day.

We'll also have food provided by The Filthy Moustache

Crazy Delter Coffee Press specials on the day!


Where: Equipment Café - 23 Susan Street, Strijdom Park
When: Sunday 3rd November (10:00 - 15:00)


For any further information email Sinjonw@equipmentcafe.co.za

We’d love you guys to be involved if you can, it’s something that we’re really excited about and should be a lot of fun.

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SA AeroPress Championships 2019

Friday, 4 October, 2019

Winner gets a trip to London for the World AeroPress Champs in November

Previous winners of this competition have travelled to Dublin, Seoul and Sydney, next stop London!

Where: Tribe Coffee Roasting
The Woodstock Foundry 160 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town

When: 17th October 2019
Doors open 17h00
Free Entrance for spectators.
R200 pp to compete

For more information & to register, contact Chris@tribecoffee.co.za

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Tell us about a coffee event in your area and we'll spread the word!

Friday, 27 September, 2019

Tell us about it and we'll tell everyone!

Simply fill in the form below, or email mel@coffeemagazine.co.za with all the details.

Tell us about your Coffee Event

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