Barista Champion Winston Thomas's TOP 3 Tips February 19 2019

Beaming from his recent Africa Barista Championship (AFCA - African Fine Coffees Association) win in Rwanda; Winston Thomas, South Africa’s current National Barista Champion, 
share some of his wisdom and experience with this year’s national coffee competitors (who’ll be bashing it out 21-24 February at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre). Winston, the 2018 and 2017 national barista champion is currently working as a freelancer and consultant offering barista services and training. Apart from that he is also working with a hotel group developing a barista program and serving his community with a development program providing knowledge and teaching coffee focused skills. 
As one of the hottest coffee professionals in South Africa if not the world today, we asked Winston which three key tips he had for this year’s competing baristas.
Tip Number 1
"Use the scoresheets to your advantage as if it were a rubric in a school project. They will allow you to tick all the boxes the judges require.

Tip Number 2
"Find a team. This doesn't have to be coffee specific individuals. Rather people who you trust and are able to take your mind off the stresses of competing but also help you switch on when it is required.” 

Tip Number 3
"Get people outside your circle to taste your coffee. What you and your colleagues/team think is best could be improved by different palates.

Asked what motivation he has for the competitors, Winston said: "Do it because you love it. Coffee is great but as someone recently told me 'it has no manners'. There is a fun and glamorous side to it but it is hard work.

Closing Comments
"I think the industry is growing from strength to strength. I have only been involved for the last five years and based on my understanding we are now moving into our 'teen years' which will be very interesting. It can grow as our customers understand more and demand more from us which also excites me. It means that we have to be better - more innovative, better service, etc."

Click HERE to download the latest National Coffee Competitions schedule. SCASA's Nationals will be taking place 21-24 February 2019 at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.
Photos: The Coffee Magazine/Melanie Winter