Meet Kgune Dlamini, the KwaZulu-Natal Region's Barista Champion for 2019 November 15 2019

After placing third at the KZN Coffee Competitions last year (2018) and sixth at Nationals this year (2019), Kgune Dlamini from Lineage Coffee was ready to step up and win his first barista competition.

(Kgune Dlamini from Lineage Coffee, the winner of the 2019 KZN Barista Competition, here with 2018 winner Dieter Liebenberg. Photo: The Coffee Magazine)

(Kgune Dlamini home at Lineage Coffee. Photo: Facebook)

Tell us a bit more about yourself? Who do you work for? How did you get into coffee? 
Well I am creative by design, a Performance Poet to be specific. When I am not writing a poem, I am writing a book. In fact as we speak I am working on my book titled 'Silence, a Love untold.'

This is infact all of Kgune Dlamini in one sentence. As 'Silence' is the tool with which I have come to pursue my love for people (Which is funny because I talk a lot).

However, this mantra has become the very foundation for my Coffee journey. Because I have come to believe and conclude that Coffee is People. And this epiphany came about in March of 2016. When our systems Manager asked the team at work, what we loved the most about our job. Without a second thought I replied: People, because Coffee is People.

And this marriage, of Coffee and People, began at Lineage Coffee with Craig Charity in 2015. I have only worked for Lineage Coffee and to be trained by the highest ranking Barista in South Africa to this date, has been nothing but an honour and a privilege and it is the very reason why, 3 years later into competing, I have won my first ever Barista Championships competition.

(Photo: The Coffee Magazine)

Tell us a bit more what this win means to you?
I think this win came at the right time. Had it come sooner, I probably would have assumed the position of "Better THAN". And my being here and or winning, is not to be better than anyone but to stand with everyone. I guess when you have taken your losses, from being disqualified, to making rookie mistakes like spilling an Espresso on stage, I guess to win simply means: To learn. This is my position and centre, really. I am here to learn, have fun and with Coffee as a medium, love as many people as I possibly can hahaha.

How long did you train? And what specific methods do you apply when approaching a competition?
Well this time around I felt somewhat rested, so my preparation began 4 weeks before the competition. But that rest soon went out the window as I realized, 'Champions are not built on hope, but hard work.' Having placed 6th at Nationals, the trap was almost too easy, "Rest, you have been in the deep end, you got this." And I am super thankful that I never fell into that trap of complacency. Because where I come from, you are as good as your last poem. And in this context, you are as good as the last coffee you make.

With this in mind, my preparation would begin 5am in the morning for 45 minutes, then again from 17:30 in the evening to 23:30. I did this for 4 weeks. However I wouldn't say this is the only formula. For advice I'd say, prepare in time, pace yourself, all in all enjoy and learn from the process.

What are your interests outside of coffee?
Well I am a Performance Poet, Writer and a Dancer. 

The KZN Region Coffee Competitions were such an exciting event this year, tell us more about your experience and how it felt like competing and your set?
This year was absolute fun, in fact my plan was quite simple, 'to have fun'. I made this my daily mantra. Because truly, if I wasn't going to reserve myself the right to have fun, I don't think I'd want to compete. That was the plan, to go there and have fun, and if you saw my set, I think I did exactly that. As for my Signature Drink, I wanted to explore species. For me it was an untouched terrain. So I did that, I made a spice infused cacao reduction. Added cloves, cinnamon and star anise and some coconut cream with some grapefruit. And guess what? The whole thing tasted like dark chocolate with Orange notes hahaha truly beautiful.

(Kgune with his two Specialty Awards for Best Signature & Espresso Drink, here with SCASA chairman, Bernard Muneri)

Did you ever expect to win two Specialty Awards?
Well that was the idea, to get at least two. I love Espressos, so I always expect to get that one hahaha. So when I don't, you best believe I look myself in the mirror and give myself that scolding look hahaha. So when I was done experimenting with the signature drink, I was almost certain that I would get the award. 

(Kgune far letf with fellow competitors, from left to right, David Kazembe, Fikile Khuzwayo, Jason Nkosi and Bruce Manning) 

What is great about coffee in KZN?
We are a huge family and a bunch of coffee enthusiasts and professionals who truly enjoy each other. I have not been to other provinces but for what I know here, we don't compete against each other, we sharpen each other for the sole purpose that, in the end Coffee wins. 

What is your favourite coffee at the moment, and why?
Guatemala Canalaj from Bluebird Roastery. Absolutely clean. In fact the word that I used to describe it when I first tasted was, crisp. A crispy clean coffee. Now that right there, is magic in a cup.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize, or who helped you to prepare for the KZN Region Coffee Competitions?
There is a legion of people, however in no specific order. Craig Charity and the entire Lineage Team at large. My family, leaving the house at 5am and only to return at midnight hasn't been easy, but my family's support has truly been my back bone. Also our Lineage Customers, Karl of Salt Rock Coffee Company. Toni of Back in Thyme. These guys have been absolutely, absolutely amazing in this whole journey.

(Photo: Facebook)

What’s next for you and where do you see yourself in five years? 
The next stop is Nationals next year (2020). And the idea hasn't changed. To go there and have fun and learn as much as I possibly can whilst I'm at  it. And in five years time? Well I have a very strong passion and heart for the deaf. So in five years time, I probably would be owning my own space. Where I would offer my heart, my coffee skill set and also my expertise in the arts, to partner with the deaf community and therefore empower the ‘Hearing to See’. To see as in, to see as I have always dreamt. The Hearing and the Deaf in one space, enjoying Coffee, Art and Love and People. Without the slightest reminder of language being a barrier. 

Sounds great Kgune, thanks for chatting to us and all the best with your preparations for Nationals in 2020.

Meet Wency Masawi, the KwaZulu-Natal Region's Cup Tasters Champion for 2019 November 13 2019

It's been three years since Wency Masawi has tasted victory. The 2019 and 2016 Cup Tasters Champion spills the beans on his coffee journey at the recent KZN Coffee Competitions.

(Wency Masawi the winner of the 2019 KZN Cup Tasters Competition. Themba Ndlovu was second. Photo: The Coffee Magazine)

Tell us a bit more about yourself? Who do you work for? How did you get into coffee? 
My professional coffee carrier started in 2010 when l met the coffee LEGEND Bernard Muneri soon after he came back from WBC Colombia in 2011, at a Ninos restaurant, he saw the talent and age then he invested his valuable time on me the rest is history, I am an entrepreneur and coffee professional who owns Tanaka Coffee Consulting Company as well as working hand in hand with Mark Platt of African Roots Coffee in Umhlanga in Durban, I am an AST (Speciality Coffee Association Accredited Trainer) certified who operates in Durban.

Tell us a bit more what this win means to you? 
This win I dedicated it to Tanaka Coffee and African Roots for the hard work which is being done behind the scenes by making sure that a Fair Trade practice is in place and giving back to the community as well as Value For Money to our customers.

(The Top 2 Cup Tasters Themba Ndlovu and Wency Masawi. Photo: The Coffee Magazine)

Did you train? And what specific methods do you apply approaching the competition?
I believe if you are a coffee professional it is suppose to be a habit not an act when you are dealing with speciality coffees, I train baristas and taste coffees day in day out for a living, I did not train and I take responsibilities as they come.

What are your interests outside of coffee? 
Soccer and hanging out with friends and family.

The KZN Region Coffee Competitions were such an exciting event this year, tell us more about your experience and how it felt like competing?
Traditionally KZN always brings their A game when it comes to these kind of events, without any surprises I was expecting a tough competition, I had former KZN Cup tasting champions competing against me, which was a norm in our region. It was quite tough but I came up victorious with a flying margin, 6 out of 8 coffees.

(The Top 4 Cup Tasters finalists F-L-T-R: Themba Ndlovu, Bruce Manning, Wency Masawi and Melanie Winter. Photo: The Coffee Magazine)

What is great about coffee in KZN? 
Coffee in KZN is a culture, we have a very close relationship amongst us coffee professionals and customers, our goal is to give our customers the most finest coffees we can source.

What is your favourite coffee at the moment, and why?
I have recently fell in love with coffee from Malawi (Livingstonia)… a mushroom farmer took a risk by planting coffee for a change, eventually it paid off, it is one of the best coffees Malawi has produced, I enjoy to drink it in drip filter with soft water.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize, or who helped you to prepare for the KZN Region Coffee Competitions?
I would like to give a word of appreciation to Jonnson Workwear for providing me with the awesome apparels, I was looking fabulous during the competition period I hope you saw the pics hahahaha, always feel comfortable in those, African Roots Coffee for a great work space and speciality coffees we get to source and brew, and The Coffee Mag for being the great voice of coffee in SA.

What’s next for you and where do you see yourself in five years?
Up next it is the National Competitions in March 2020, I see myself as the next coffee hero in the country helping the under privileged with the necessary coffee trainings at no cost with the help of sponsors.

SCASA KwaZulu-Natal Region Coffee Competitions 2019 - Winners November 09 2019

Congratulations to all our KwaZulu-Natal Region Coffee Competitions winners!

All three competitors have qualified for the National Coffee Competitions in March 2020.

The Barista Specialty Awards went to (as determined in the semi-final round):
⭐️ Best Technical: Dieter Liebenberg (VDP Distributors)
⭐️ Best Milk Beverage: Jason Nkosi (Lineage Coffee)
⭐️ Best Signature & Espresso Drink: Kgune Dlamini (Lineage Coffee)

Kgune Dlamini the 2019 KZN Barista Champion

FINAL Barista Standings:

1. Kgune Dlamini (Lineage Coffee)
2. Fikile Khuzwayo (Mr Price Foundation)
3. Bruce Manning (Brustar)
4. Jason Nkosi (Lineage Coffee)
5. Nkosingiphile Hlophe (Tribeca Coffee Company)
6. David Kazembe (Kivu Projects Café)

The 2019 KZN CUP TASTERS Champion is Wency Masawi from Tanaka Coffee/African Roots Coffee. Themba Ndlovu from VDP Distributors was second.

Both competitors have qualified for the National Coffee Competitions in March 2020.

Wency Masawi the 2019 KZN Cup Tasters Champion

The 2019 KZN LATTE ART Champion is Ndumiso Ngcobo from The Talkhouse Cafe! Jeff Stopforth from Beaver Creek Coffee was second.

Both competitors have qualified for the National Coffee Competitions in March 2020.

Ndumiso Ngcobo the 2019 KZN Latte Art Champion

Thank you to all the judges and everyone else who made the KwaZulu-Natal Coffee Competitions happen, including all our sponsors and partners: DaVinci GourmetCiro Full Service Beverage Co., Vision Works SA, Bühler Group, Blue Diamond Almonds South AfricaScotsman Ice Systems AfricaMorricoVictoria ArduinoEquipment CafeMahlkönigUrnex BrandsUltimate WaterThe Coffee Magazine and The Pearls Mall. Thank you.


SCASA KwaZulu-Natal Region Coffee Competitions 2019 - Finalists Announced November 08 2019

Congratulations to all the KwaZulu-Natal Regionals' finalists competing Saturday 9 November at The Pearls Mall in Umhlanga.

LATTE ART FINALISTS (in no particular order) performing from 09:30. The WINNER and Runner-Up will qualify for the National Coffee Competitions in March 2020.
Jeff Stopforth - Beaver Creek Coffee
Ndu Mthalane - The Talkhouse Cafe
Thamsanqa Ndlovu - Coastal Coffee Roasters
Ndumiso Ngcobo - The Talkhouse Cafe

CUP TASTERS FINALISTS (in no particular order) performing from 11:00. The WINNER and Runner-Up will qualify for the National Coffee Competitions in March 2020.
Wency Masawi - Tanaka Coffee
Melanie Winter - The Coffee Magazine
Themba Ndlovu - VDP Distributors
Bruce John Manning - Brustar

BARISTA FINALISTS (in no particular order) performing from 11:30. 
The TOP 3 FINALISTS have qualified for the National Coffee Competitions in March 2020.
Bruce John Manning - Brustar
Fikile Khuzwayo - MRP Foundation
Kgune Zamo Dlamini - Lineage Coffee 

SCASA KwaZulu-Natal Region Coffee Competitions 2019 - Schedule & Competitors November 06 2019

KwaZulu-Natal's 2019 Regional Coffee Competitions will comprise of three disciplines: The Cup Tasters Competition, the Latte Art Competition and the Barista Competition, running 7-9 November at The Pearls Mall in Umhlanga, Durban (6 - 8 Lagoon Drive, 4320 Umhlanga Rocks).

2019's competition will see 7 Cup Tasters, 18 Latte Artists and 8 Baristas!

Download the 2019 KZN Region Coffee Competition Schedule

Bruce Manning
Iain Evans
Themba Ndlovu
Melanie Winter
Chad Aiden Whitby
William Steyn
Wency Masawi

Thabo Boyce Nleya - Machine Washworx & Café
Philani Siyabonga Manukuza - Tribeca Coffee Company
Lihle Sphamandla Khoza - Blue Onion Foods
Khayelihle Ngcobo - Coffeebox
Ndu Mthalane - The Talkhouse
Nokwanda Bhele - Blue Onion Foods
Mdumiseni Bhengu - Tribeca Coffee Company
Thamsanqa Ndlovu - Coastal Coffee Roasters
Nokwanda Ndumo - African Roots Coffee
Nompumelelo Xaba - Blue Onion Foods
Jeff Stopforth - Beaver Creek Coffee
Sikhulile Promise Msane - Blue Onion Foods
Karabo Motla - Tsogo Sun
Ndu Ngcobo - The Talkhouse
Sihle Sikhakhane - Savior Café
Mbali Mpungose - Blue Onion Foods
Vincent Majola - African Roots Coffee
Nandipha Makhanya - Blue Onion Foods

Download the Latte Art competition criteria for 2019

Fikile Khuzwayo - Mr Price Foundation
Nkosingiphile Hlophe - Tribeca Coffee Company
David Kazembe - Kivu Projects Café
Thabo Boyce Nleya - Machine Washworx & Café
Kgune Dlamini - Lineage Coffee
Dieter Liebenberg - VDP Distributors
Jason Nkosi - Lineage Coffee
Bruce Manning - Brustar

Download the 2018 WBC Rules and Regulations

The competitions will start on Thursday 7 November with the Cup Tasters competition at 10:00. Followed by the Latte Art competition at 11:00 until 18:00 on Day 1 and continuing on Day 2 (8 November) at 09:00 until 11:00. The Barista competition will start (on Friday 8 November) at 11:30 and will run until 17:00 with the finalists' announcement thereafter. Finals day, Saturday 9 November, will begin with the Latte Art final at 09:30, followed by the Cup Tasters final at 11:00. The Barista final will see six competitors, with the competition starting at 11:30.

Don't forget about the 'Almond Breeze Latte Art Smackdown', sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond South Africa, (SCASA's Bronze Competition Sponsor) featuring competitors, running on 7 November between 10:45 and 11:00, 8 November between 15:00 and 15:30 and on 9 November after 15:00, just before the winners' announcement. 

There is also a discussion scheduled on the 'Barista Wage Calculator' a collaboration between SCASA, CIRO Coffee Academy and The Coffee Magazine, just before the winners' announcement on Saturday 9 November. 

Thank you to all our sponsors for making this event become a reality and wishing all our KZN baristas the very best of luck with the competition.

Please Note: all schedules subject to change at short notice.
Any queries please email

SCASA KwaZulu-Natal Region Coffee Competitions 2019 - ENTRIES OPEN September 18 2019

ENTRIES NOW OPEN for SCASA's 2019 KwaZulu-Natal Region Coffee Competitions taking place at the Pearls of Umhlanga Mall, in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban, 7-9 November.

Download the Coffee Competition Entry Form HERE

Judges who would like to apply can do so HERE
Judges training will be before the competition all details TBC.


KZN Coffee Competition Results 2018 November 14 2018

Well done to the new KZN Champions and the coffee professionals heading to Nationals early next year!

Barista Champs:
CHAMPION: Dieter Liebenberg - VDP Distributors
2. Bruce John Manning - TriBeCa Coffee
3. Kgune Zamo Dlamini - Lineage Coffee
4. Minenhle Sibisi - Colombo Coffee
5. Ndumiso Ngcobo - The Talkhouse Cafe
6. David Kasembe - Steampunk Coffee South Africa

Cup Tasters:
CHAMPION: Chad Aden Whitby - Colombo Coffee
2. Andile Zulu - Terbodore Coffee Roasters
3. Melanie Winter - The Coffee Magazine
4. Sean Brydon - Colombo Coffee

Latte Art:
CHAMPION: Thami Ndlovu - Coastal Coffee Roasters
2. Ndumiso Ngcobo - The Talkhouse Cafe 
3. Sphamandla - Blue Onion Foods
4. Siyanda Ceejay Ntleko - Skyline Coffee Roasters

Thank you to all the Sponsors, volunteers and the awesome venue, Lifestyle Centre Ballito. Fantastic weekend all round.


KZN Schedule Coffee Competitions 2018 October 31 2018

KZN Coffee Competition Dates 2018 October 08 2018

KZN Regional Barista Championships

When: 2, 3, 4 November 2018

Where: The Market, Lifestyle Centre, Ballito

Format: Latte Art, Cup Tasters, Barista Championships

Download the Entry Form here and send to


Winners in KZN! December 04 2017

The SCASA KZN Regional Barista Champs, Latte Art and Cup Tasters competitions were held this week in Durban, and 3 new Champions were crowned! 

Anthem Conference Centre in Durban North played host to the coffee competitions, the last of the 4 Regionals, which determines the final line-up for Nationals,  to be held at Cape Town Coffee Festival in February 2018. 

In the Barista Competition, it was newcomer, Simnikiwe Mkhize (Counter Culture Coffee), that impressed the judges to defeat the reigning champion, Bruce Manning (Tribeca), into second spot.

In the Latte Art it was Minenhle Sibisi (Colombo Coffee & Tea) who clinched the Regional Championship Title from Ndumiso Ngcubu (Talkhouse Cafe) and in the Cup Tasters competition it was Iain Evans (Coffee Magazine) who narrowly beat Sinjon Wicks (Terbodore) for the Title. 

Besides the seriousness of the competitions, it was an incredible week of coffee making, idea sharing and camaraderie amongst the KZN Coffee community - some highlights were Ndumiso Ngubu winning R2500 in the Almond Breeze Barista Blend Smackdown, Monin syrups representative Jason Andrews showcasing some incredible new latte art designs with the new Monin products and the usual barista Afterparty, with the now traditional Winner on the table shot! 

Full results as follows: 

Latte Art:
1. Minenhle Sibisi - Colombo Coffee
2. Ndumiso Ngcobo - The Talkhouse Cafe

Cup Tasters:
1. Iain Evans - The Coffee Magazine
2. Sinjon Wicks - Terbodore Coffee Roasters

Barista Championship:
1. Simnikiwe Mkhize - Counter Culture
2. Bruce Manning - TriBeCa Coffee
3. Ndumiso Ngcobo - The Talkhouse Cafe
4. Seshnie Govender - TriBeCa Coffee
5. Armandt Lauwrens - Ground Coffee House
6. Fikile Khuzwayo - MRP Foundation

Thank you to all judges and Sponsors!

Morrico Import and Export - Victoria Ardunio Black Eagle Espresso machines
Koldserve - Mahlkonig K30 Grinders
Ultimate Water - Water filtration

Almond Breeze - Gold Sponsor
Monin - Silver Sponsor
Vision Works - Bronze Sponsor

Schedule of Events: KZN Date and Venue, get your entries in! November 06 2017

IMPORTANT DATE & TIME Adjustments for KZN Barista, Cup Tasters & Latte Art Regionals:


Date      : Monday 27th November - Thursday 30th November 2017

Venue   : Anthem Conference Centre, Mackeurten Drive, Durban North

Outline of programme of events (subject to change) :

Monday 27th November

9am - 2pm : Competition Setup at Anthem Conference Centre  - KZN Organising comittee 

9am - 4pm: Judges Training: Venue TBC

3pm - Barista Orientation at Anthem Conference Centre.  

Tuesday 28th November

08h00 – 09h30         Cup Tasters Semi Finals Rounds

09h30 – 11h00         Latte Art Semi Finals 

11h00 - 14h30  Barista Semi Finals (+/- 5 competitors)

Wednesday 29th November

09h00 – 17h00         Barista Semi Finals (+/- 12 competitors)

Thursday 30th November

09h00                         Barista Finals Top 6

12h00                         Cup Tasters Finals 

13h00                         Latte Art Finals & Almond Breeze Smackdown

15h00                         Monin In A Minute

15h30                         Prize Giving

18h00 - late  Barista Afterparty!


Get your entry form here and email to 

If you would like to be a judge, please email

Thank you to Anthem for coming to the party and sponsoring this venue! 

KZN Competition Date and Venue to be announced soon. October 17 2017

With the setback of both hosting venues pulling out of their KZN shows, SCASA has been trying to determine a suitable venue and date for the KZN Coffee Competitions 2017. We will be announcing this as soon as possible and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. In the meantime, you can download the entry form here.

Watch this space for updates. Thank you for your patience.

Bruce Manning is still the reigning KZN Barista Champion, could you be next?!


KZN Expos Cancelled: KZN Competitions Venue and Date will be announced soon. August 10 2017

Due to the unforeseen cancellation of both Coffee&Chocolate Durban and Good Food and Wine Show Durban, the KZN Coffee Competition Regionals will be rescheduled to a new venue and the date will be confirmed as soon as possible. They will likely take place around the end of September.

Thank you for your patience in this regard.

You can keep your entries coming as the show will go on! You can download the form here and then send to Amanda at

Enter the 2016 KZN Coffee Competitions: Barista Competition, Latte Art & Cup Tasters September 23 2016

Calling all Coffee Professionals, Baristas and aspiring Home Baristas in KZN! The 2016 SCASA Regionals is happening on the 28th - 30th October (that's 5 weeks away!) at the Good Food & Wine Show, Durban Exhibition Centre. 

Categories are Barista, Latte Art and Cup Tasters competition as per the World Coffee Events formats. 

If you want to enter, click and download the entry form and send it to
Interested in the schedule for the competition? Take a look below.
Judges Training
3pm: Barista Orientation at DEC, attendance is compulsory for all competitors
KZN SCASA Roadshow - Venue and time TBC

Friday 28th Day One
10am: Semi-finals Barista Championship
5pm:  Cup Tasters Semi-finals 
7pm: Almond Breeze Barista Smack Down

Saturday 29th Day Two
10am: Semi-finals Barista Championship
5pm: Latte Art Semi-finals
7pm: Almond Breeze Barista Smack Down

Sunday 30th Finals Day
10am-3pm: Barista Championship Finals
3pm-4pm: Cup Taster's Finals
4pm-5pm: Latte Art Finals
5pm: Monin Minute
5.30pm: Prize-giving

Enter the 2015 KZN Barista Competition February 02 2015

2015 is an exciting year for KZN but before Nationals we have our Regional Barista Champs taking place at the Coffee & Chocolate Expo. This is a competition you really don't want to miss. You don't have to be a professional barista to enter these competitions. If you think you have what it takes then enter today

Date: 1 - 5 May

Venue: Suncoast Casino, Durban

KZN Baristas it is time to get your entry forms in so click HERE to download and ENTER!

KZN Regionals at Durban's Homemakers Expo May 13 2014

Wency Masawi (Nino's) competes at the KZN Regionals in 2013

The KZN Regionals will be happening in October, this year, at the Durban Homemakers Expo.

All the details are listed below so be sure to put these dates in your diary now.

Dates:         Friday 03 October to Sunday 05 October 2014
Times:        Friday & Saturday, 10:00 – 21:00  Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00
Entrance:   Adults – R50 | Pensioners – R25 | Children under 12 – Free
Venue:       Durban Exhibition Centre, Walnut Rd, Durban.

KZN Champs 2013

If you would like to register for this competition click here.


*Images courtesy of The Coffee Mag