World Aeropress Champs imminent, SA competition date and host announced

Tuesday, 24 September, 2019

On Sunday, November 24th, the world’s best coffee brewers will head to Bethnal Green, East London where they’ll compete for the title of 2019 World AeroPress Champion.

Having defeated thousands of contenders in their own countries, these national champions will take the stage where the eyes of the coffee world will be firmly on them.

With just eight minutes on the clock, they’ll brew the best cup of AeroPress coffee they can while our panel of judges decides their fate. By night's end, we’ll have crowned a new champion. 

The South African competition has been set for Thursday 17th October in Cape Town hosted by the wonderful Tribe Coffee Roasting.

One of the best creative parts of this competition is the local hosts coming up with insane posters. See a couple of our favourites from this year's crop below. We can't wait to see the South African contribution to this pool of creativity! You can check out all the beautiful artworks on the World Aeropress Champs instagram page.

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Western Cape Regionals 2019

Monday, 19 August, 2019

Fun coffee times ahead in Cape Town! The annual SCASA Regional Coffee Competitions have found a home at GOOD in Woodstock this year and we're so excited! (And what a great poster!)

There are still a few days left for prospective competitors to enter and SCASA is always on the lookout for volunteer judges! The links to both of those entry forms are below.

Last year, Simnikiwe Mkhize of Rosetta Roastery, took Top Honours in the Barista Champs. Will she triumph again? She has some stiff competition, not only from Winston Thomas, returning SA Champ, but from within her own company, Justin Groep took Best Espresso on his debut competition a couple years back and we know the team at Origin Coffee Roasters always brings the heat! So it will be an entertaining competition for sure!

ENTRIES CLOSE 31 AUGUST for SCASA's 2019 Western Cape Region Coffee Competitions taking place 4-6 September at GOOD, Woodstock, Cape Town (242 Sir Lowry Road).

Download the Coffee Competition Entry Form HERE 

Judges who would like to apply can do so HERE
Judges training will be Wednesday 4 September 2019, Venue TBC.

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Deaf Awareness in the Coffee World

Thursday, 18 July, 2019

The differently-abled are part of the fabric of our communities and in celebration of the hearing impaired among us and in honour of Nelson Mandela Day, Ciro Coffee Academy and Hearing Works recently held a Deaf Awareness Celebration to continue the progress of empowering deaf baristas to be part of the coffee community.

Lizaan Alberts, Ciro's National Training and Events Manager told us about the event, "In the true spirit of the Nelson Mandela ethos – various partners and contributors to the employment, empowerment and upliftment of the deaf community gathered on Tuesday 9th July  in Bryanston.  All with one goal – to employ deaf baristas in the industry in order to change their lives for the better. We were surrounded by heart warming stories of partners and baristas sharing their experience working in a “hearing” world – the challenges and successes that comes with it.

The morning was built on three pillars that earmarks this amazing journey:  Courage, Vulnerability and Transformation.

We ended the session with a buildup of the Deaf Barista Competition and what to look forward to in 2019.  Each competing barista introduced him / herself and why they love working with coffee so much.

We are counting down the days to the competition and inviting anyone that is keen, willing and has the heart for change to be part of it."

Lizaan has been an integral part of this coffee programme and has become incredibly dedicated to making sure these candidates succeed in the coffee industry.

Next weekend, 27th July 2019, is the 3rd Deaf Barista Championship at 10am at the Coffee & Chocolate Expo. You can read more about that and meet the baristas competing here. It is always such an incredible event to be a part of, we can't wait!!!

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Deaf Barista Championship 2019

Thursday, 18 July, 2019

It's one of our favourite events of the year! Next weekend 27 July 2019 is the 3rd annual Deaf Barista Championship. It is being held at the Coffee & Chocolate Expo which has this year moved to the TicketPro Dome.

The Ciro Coffee Academy and partners are so looking forward to welcoming 9 competitors on stage to showcase their coffee skills. You can read their profiles in the gallery below.

This is always a heartwarming competition as these baristas come out from behind their work coffee machines and show the public how amazing they are and how coffee has helped to change their lives. If you can make it to Coffee & Chocolate Expo on Saturday, make sure you find your way to the Genio and Ciro Coffee Academy stage to see these wonderful humans in action!

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Gauteng Regional Barista Championships 2019

Friday, 19 July, 2019

The SCASA coffee competition season is well underway! We've already seen the Central Region competitors that will be heading through to Nationals.

Next up is the Gauteng Region hosted by Coffee&Chocolate Expo! It's going to be an epic couple of days, we can't wait! These coffee professional hopefuls will be battling it out to secure a place at Nationals to be held at Hostex in March 2020.

For the uninitiated, let's break down exactly what these Coffee Competitions are. SCASA holds the license in South Arica to run the World Coffee Events Coffee Competitions. Currently SA competes in 3 disciplines: Latte Art, Cup Tasters and Barista Championships. This means that we send National Champions to the World Championships to compete against the best from across the globe.

The World Barista Championships will be held in Melbourne in May 2020 at MICE.

It is yet to be officially announced, but it looks like the Cup Tasters and Latte Art will take place at World of Coffee in Warsaw in 2020!

The schedule will be released on SCASA's website soon.

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Mysterious Magical Milk Manipulation!

Wednesday, 12 June, 2019

Introducing the Mysterious Magical Milk Manipulation competition.  Presented by Red Espresso and Coffee Magazine with sponsors Milk Lab, Jersey Cow Company, ReCup ZA, Equipment Cafe, Importalia, Sanremo and Morrico.

We are working with illustrator Fathima's Studio to create a set of Barista Tarot Cards. Competitors will have to choose one card from each category to determine what they will pour. There are 4 categories:

- The latte base (beetroot, rooibos, turmeric, matcha, coffee) 

- The milk used (dairy, almond, coconut, soy, macadamia)

- The machine/grinder used 

- The latte art pattern (Swan, tulip, rosetta, phoenix, hearts, layered hearts, inverted tulips)

They will have 5 min to complete two (of the same) beverages to present to the judges! 4 competitors will go in each round and it promises to be a whirlwind of crazy fun!

There are amazing cash prizes for the winners and loads of product giveaways from our amazing sponsors. There are only 24 slots available so if you want to take part, fill in the entry form below ASAP.

Beer and snacks will be on offer for all attendees, spectators are encouraged! 

Mysterious Magical Milk Manipulation

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One week to go till Cape Town Coffee Festival!

Friday, 24 May, 2019

There is lot to look forward to next week when the Castle of Good Hope opens it’s doors for the very first ever Coffee Festival in Cape Town.  The Coffee Festivals are run in major cities all over the world, London, New York, Amsterdam and so on, and they are a great opportunity to emerge oneself in the Global Culture trends and get a sense of what’s happening in the Industry and also to see where things are heading.

We were lucky enough to attend the London Coffee Festival last year, held off the iconic Brick Lane in the East End in the Trueman Brewery, and it’s cool that the Organisers have chosen The Castle in Cape Town to hold the first ever African Coffee Festival.

The Castle of Good Hope - click on the image for more info and FAQ's about the venue.

So, what to expect?

Great coffee of course! With Father Coffee (JHB), Bean There (JHB and CT)  and Origin Coffee Roasters (CT) collaborating on “The African Coffee Experience” you will be sure to taste some amazing single origin coffees from Africa.  

Great food, beverages and great music too. With a stella line-up of Cape Town’s most loved street food vendors like The Kind Kitchen and Dos Chido Mexican BBQ to name but two,  and the famous Italian bar company Tia Maria (who were also in London!)  serving up espresso martinis and tonics! Then there’s the live music stage - some of Cape Towns best talent, so it’s trifecta of good vibes!

We caught up with Byron Keen, x2 SA Latte Art Champion and currently working for Sanremo, who are providing some beautiful espresso machines for the event:

HI Byron, Tell us a little about Sanremo’s involvement at CTCF in 2019?
For the Cape Town Coffee Festival, Sanremo will be the main equipment sponsor for the event. Most of our sponsorship focus has been on the Latte Art Live Stage which will include one of Sanremo’s latest models,  the Café Racer.
We also have a few interesting ideas for equipment at the Lab
BUNN will be providing the latest equipment on the African Coffee Experience Stage along with Bean There, Origin Coffee & Father Coffee
What are you most looking forward to at this very first ever, Coffee Festival, held in CT?
There are a few different aspects I'm looking forward to: Dritan Alsela's involvement is a great addition by the Allegra crew, I really think he is an inspirational individual and for our baristas & upcoming latte artists to have the opportunity to work with him for 2 days will be incredible. With the variation of roasters and coffee professionals also looking forward to some diverse & interesting coffee !!
Above all of this I’m mostly looking forward to Cape Town consumer's reaction and interest gauged by the event.
Cape Town has never really had a major coffee event and I really believe the Cape Town Coffee Festival has the potential to grow exponentially in this city.
What will Sanremo be bringing to the Party? What can visitors to the show look forward to?

At the Electrical Industries stand you can expect an array of different roasters working on the Sanremo Equipment and promoting their latest single origins and innovative blends…expect lots of tasting , milk spilling & latte art!!
We also will be officially launching our new Sanremo F18 & The BUNN Platinum Filter Brewer.
Our drive this year was to make an interactive, fun & welcoming stand everyone can enjoy and be part of.
Do you have any words for people in Cape Town that might be on the fence about visiting the show?
Knowing the Allegra Team and experiencing the London Coffee Festival, there is no doubt this will be an event you wouldn’t want to miss.
The Coffee Festival Events are always fun , interesting, social and caters for anyone ; from families , to millennials and coffee enthusiast.

Dritan Alsela - always a crowd favourite at the Coffee festival events around the World.

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Cape Town Coffee Festival - Winston Thomas on Latte Art Live and other attractions

Thursday, 16 May, 2019

Winston Thomas is 2x SA Barista Champion, Freelance Coffee consultant and all round good guy in Cape Town's coffee scene. Coffee Magazine caught up with the Champ to talk about the upcoming Cape Town Coffee Festival, 1-2 June, in the Mother City. 

Hi Champ, tell us a little about your involvement in the upcoming CTCF? 

I’ll be collaborating at one of the vendor stands throughout both days but I also have a slot at the Latte ART Live and The Lab. Latte art has always been the crowd pleaser when it comes to coffee so I will be focusing on teaching the basic Tulip and Rosetta free-pour designs. I always refer to myself as a “production barista” because of the high volumes I was exposed to when I worked as a barista. So it was important for me to learn to be consistent at 4 - 5 designs that has a certain level of complexity. This is what I’ll be teaching during my Latte ART Live session.

Winston pours his best latte art during the milk-based course at SCASA National Barista Championships 2018 Finals, which he went on to win.

What can people expect to see?

People can expect to see all facets if the industry! There will be a variety of coffee related activities - the best baristas, mixologists and coffee makers will be there. There will be demos, workshops, talks on all things coffee and lots of espressos and filter coffee to sample, so much more than just the average flat white and retail coffee for sale!

Have you met Dritan Alsela before?  Word on the street is that he has some pretty mad latte art skills.

No I have not. I was hoping to chat to him at the New York Coffee Festival in October last year but he was always crowded by fans so I’m happy to get a chance in Cape Town this time.

What are you most looking forward to?

The consumer/visitors response to what the festival has to offer. As much as we are growing as an industry I’ve learnt that in order to actually move forward as an industry we need our consumers to grow with us. The Cape Town Coffee Festival is the perfect platform to do so!

How has latte art changed coffee for the consumer in recent years?

In my experience I think that customers have shifted from being surprised and impressed when served coffee with Latte Art to being expectant and more critical of the Art. This is good because it pushes baristas to be more consistent and maintain standards.

It takes many thousands of pours to perfect latte art free pours. Winston shows how.

What is your favourite free pour and designed pour right now?

My favourite free pour is a combination of a Rosetta and Swan. Instead of cutting through the center of the Rosetta to create symmetry I cut it along the side and add a swan, using the base of the Rosetta as the swans wing. I’m still trying to nail the design pours!

Is dairy easier to manipulate than the alternative milks?

Yes it is. If my memory serves me correctly the fats in the milk allows us to builder better and more “stable” bubbles or micgrotextured foam for latte art. The alternative milks are the opposite.

Who do you look up to in the latte art world right now?

Christopher Abrahams - our current SA Latte Art Champ. His knowledge when it comes to latte art and manipulating milk is amazing. My money is on him to be the first South Africans to make semis and beyond for Latte Art.

Favourite insta page for latte art?

Once again Christopher Abrahams! @the_caffeine_guy

 Thanks Champ, we can't wait to see you there!

Check out the CTCF facebook page:

and remember, TODAY (Friday 17th May ) is the last day for Early-bird ticket prices!

From the CTCF website:
You’ve seen them on Instagram, and now they are at work right in front of you. Phoenix, rosetta or swan; you name it, the legends will pour it.

Witness incredible throwdowns
Cheer on your favourite baristas in rip-roaring throwdowns and get ready to be vowed and entertained. Cape Town’s top baristas will face-off for massive prizes and you'll see latte art you never thought possible.

Try your hand at latte art
Take part in 35-minute hands-on workshops and demonstrations. Including daily coaching sessions by world famous barista Dritan Alsela, the pros will teach you the techniques and skills behind jaw-dropping latte art. With a rotating cast of baristas, pop back as many times as you like to learn different skill sets, from coloured latte art to flying phoenixes.


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