Coffee Market Report March 02 2018

The Brazil Ministry of Trade have reported that the countries coffee exports for the month of February were 57,995 bags or 2.51% lower than the same month last year, at a total of 2,250,202 bags.  This is a relatively modest dip and when considered in terms of the exports being mostly related to arabica coffees, would seemingly indicate that the consumer markets continue to take delivery of just enough as is required of the Brazil quality coffee for their blends. 

Meanwhile in terms of weather the month of February has seen all the major coffee districts in Brazil receive good rains and with forecasts indicating good rains to continue, for the coming week.  Thus, for the present the forecasts for a significantly larger new Brazil coffee crop this year, remain weather supported and dampen many speculative spirits within the coffee terminal markets. 

With the Brazil weather issues for the present not threatening for global coffee supply, the focus shall be upon the start of the new summer rain season in Vietnam, which is due to start for the main central highlands coffee districts during the next month and shall need to come in time, to support a follow on good year end new crop for the country.    This shall be a factor closely watched and while one can expect some fear stories about dry weather threats to the new crop coming to the fore during this month, the La Niña within the Pacific Ocean is over and conditions are neutral, which would tend to indicate little threat of abnormal rains for this year.  

The May 2018 to May 2018 contracts arbitrage between the London and New York markets narrowed yesterday, to register this at 43.75 usc/Lb., while this equates to 35.3% price discount for the London Robusta coffee market.   

The Certified washed Arabica coffee stocks held against the New York exchange were seen to decrease by 435 bags yesterday; to register these stocks at 1,895,304 bags.  There was meanwhile a similar in number 437 bags increase to the number of bags pending grading for this exchange; to register these pending grading stocks at 34,787 bags. 

The commodity markets were mixed in trade yesterday, to see the overall macro commodity index taking a steady to buoyant track for the day.   The Natural Gas, Sugar, Cocoa, Coffee, Wheat, Corn and Soybean markets had a day of buoyancy, while the Oil, Cotton, Copper, Orange Juice, Gold and Silver markets had a softer day’s trade.   The Reuters Equal Weight Continuous Commodity Index that is made up from 17 markets is 0.33% higher; to see this index registered at 429.82.  The day starts with the U.S. Dollar tending softer and trading at 1.378 to Sterling, at 1.227 to the Euro and with the dollar buying 3.251 Brazilian Real, while North Sea Oil is showing some degree of buoyancy and is selling at US$ 64.40 per barrel. 

The London market started the day yesterday on a steady note and with modest buoyancy, while the New York market started the day trading marginally south of par and with the London market starting to attract support and move further into positive territory, for early afternoon trade.   Very quickly the London market attracted further support and with buy stops being triggered moved up into very positive territory which was followed by a recovery for the New York market, which took a more sedate and steady upside track for the rest of the days trade, as against the London market taking an erratic sideways track from the early afternoon surge in value. 

The London market ended the day on a very positive note and with 91.7% of the earlier substantial gains of the day intact, while the New York market ended the day on a positive note and with 91.5% of the gains of the day intact.    This close would tend to paint a more positive picture for the charts and one might think shall assist towards a steady start for early trade today, against the prices set yesterday, as follows: 

LONDON ROBUSTA US$/MT                       NEW YORK ARABICA USc/Lb. 

MAR   1807 + 37                                             MAR   122.45 + 1.40

MAY   1768 + 44                                             MAY    123.95 + 1.95

JUL    1794 + 40                                              JUL    126.00 + 1.90 

SEP    1796 + 40                                              SEP    128.10 + 1.90

NOV   1798 + 39                                              DEC    131.30 + 1.80

JAN    1803 + 38                                              MAR   134.55 + 1.75

MAR   1815 + 38                                              MAY   136.50 + 1.75

MAY   1830 + 39                                               JUL    138.20 + 1.70

JUL    1846 + 36                                               SEP    139.70 + 1.55

SEP    1854 + 40                                               DEC   142.20 + 1.55

Build Up to Nationals: Barista Profiles Three February 16 2018

Things are heating up now! With only one week to go, everyone is getting incredibly excited. Our favourite question is the un-coffee related one, we're learning so much about these wonderful coffee personalities!


Name: Sinjon Wicks

Competition History

2015 KZN Barista Championship - 8th Place

2015 KZN Cup Tasters - 5th

2017 KZN Cup Tasters - 2nd


 Terbodore Coffee Roasters

Why did you enter this competition

My first experience with competitive coffee was in 2015, not long after starting my coffee journey. I saw it as an opportunity to learn from some of the top barista's and coffee professionals from across the country, sharing ideas and growing the speciality industry as a whole. Competition also provides a unique platform for exploring trends, experimenting with new coffees, and beverage recipes as well as the opportunity to get all of us into one room and talk about what we love; coffee!

What is your favourite coffee at the moment

At the moment I'm obsessed with an Ethiopian Kana Heirloom natural process. Cortado in the morning, and V60’s all day after. 

What has been the highlight of the journey so far?

All of the amazing people I've had the opportunity to meet. These passionate individuals are the one's who are driving the speciality industry and market forward, I count myself very lucky to be able to share ideas and disseminate new information and techniques with some of the most knowledgeable in the coffee industry.

Why do you think these competitions are important ?

Running cafe's or roasteries is often a seven-day-a-week operation, and unfortunately doesn't really afford us the opportunity to engage with other like-minded people . Of course, the dissemination knowledge and personal growth through competition goes without saying, but the camaraderie developed through these events is absolutely amazing. 

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

When I'm not making coffee, I play drums and bass in a band with some of the other guys at the roastery. We're terrible.


Name: Christopher Abrahams

Competition History: WC Latte Art Regional Championship 2015,2016 & 2017. WC Barista Regional Championship 2016 & 2017. Runner-up SA Latte Art National Championship 2017.

Region and position in comp: WC Latte Art Champion & 4th place Barista Regional Championship.

Company: Ciro Beverage Solutions

Why did you enter this competition? 

 I entered the competitions because of my love and passion for coffee! It is also a perfect opportunity to meet barista within the coffee community, where great friendships are made :)

What is your favourite coffee at the moment?

My favourite coffee at the moment an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere through a chemex. It is absolutely delicious!

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far? 

The highlight of this journey has certainly been the opportunity to compete and continue learning about how special coffee is to South Africa. It is continuously growing and it is amazing to see the growth and talent of upcoming baristas in the industry.

Why do you think the competitions are important?

 I believe that the competition is important, as it allows baristas to express their passion for coffee as well as giving coffee companies opportunities to expose their brands.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself :

I am one of a twin. As funny as this may sound, I am actually passionate about trucks. I truly enjoy working with my hands and find the world of engineering absolutely fascinating!

Name: Dayle Visser

Competition History:

2nd in KZN Latte Art Championship 2013

Regional barista Championships:  KZN 2011,2012, WP 2017, 2018

Region and position in comp:

Barista Champs:

KZN 2011 (did not make finals), KZN 2012 (did not make finals), WP 2017 (did not make finals), WP 2018 (placed 2nd)

Latte Art champs: KZN 2013 (placed 2nd), Nationals 2013 (did not make finals)

Aeropress Nationals 2017

Company: Tribe Coffee

Why did you enter this competition:

I entered this year to better myself as a person as well as a coffee professional. I have also realised that these competitions are extremely fun and being part of the coffee community is a privilege very few get to experience. I'm doing this in hopes of proving to the world that South Africans kick ass at coffee.

Favourite coffee at the moment:

At the moment I'm really enjoying a Kenyan fully washed (its my competition coffee so won't give too much info lol)

The first thing I do in the morning is have it in an aeropress before heading off to work. Start your day off with perfect coffee right?

Highlight of the journey so far:

The highlight so far was standing next to our current national champ for the winner announcement at regionals. That feeling standing next to a champion, everyone dead silent as if no one was breathing, you could taste the excitement in the air. Winston is an incredible barista and it was honour to share a stage with him.

Why are the competitions so important:

The chance to show off your skills as a barista to a panel of judges and the public is so important for growth as a coffee professional. It's also a perfect way to introduce the general public to speciality coffee. Being a professional barista is damn cool and these competitions prove it.

Interesting facts about me:

I am currently working on massive art pieces.

I have been skateboarding for 17 years.

Just started a multi genre music project with one of my best friends.

NAME: Simnikiwe Mkhize

COMPETITION HISTORY: This was first competition. Ever.


COMPANY: Counter Culture SA

WHY DID YOU ENTER THIS COMPETITION? Honestly, I was peer pressured, by the bosses, co workers and customers. I gave in because the environment gave me an opportunity to put my skills up against other barista in KZN and also make new connections that I wouldn't have made being at the cafe.


WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF THIS JOURNEY FOR YOU SO FAR? Its definitely not the attention, but the amount of support and love I receive from coffee lovers who come from all over.

WHY DO YOU THINK THE COMPETITIONS ARE IMPORTANT? The bible verse that says "Iron sharpens iron" sums it up. you will never know how good you are unless you yourself against others who think the same about themselves. not says that if you don't come on top that your not but rather you learn where you need to improve.

TELL US AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOURSELF. Okay, this very personal. I have a 14 years old Surf City Barbie doll and a 8 years old Fashionsta Barbie doll. I make outfits for them as often as I can and obviously comb and play with them. :)

Name: Neil Gouws

Competition History: (what have you competed in before?) Cup Tasters Nationals 2017, Western Cape Barista Champs 2017

Region and position in comp: (i.e. KZN Cup Tasters 4th) Western Cape 3rd 

Company: Origin Coffee Roasting

Why did you enter this competition? I love competing, not only does it push me and improve my coffee knowledge, it's a great oppurtunity to connect with all the awesome people in the South African coffee community. 

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? (either the style or the coffee bean) I've recently had the chance to work with a few great Ethiopian Naturals. My favourite would have to be a Yirgacheffe Kochere Natural V60 pour-over.

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far? Nationals 2017 was a great experience. So much knowledge and experience gathered under one roof.

Why do you think the competitions are important? Competitions are one of the ways we improve our skills and up our standards. This is incredibly valuable in a relatively new coffee industry like South Africa's. Competitions gather the greatest coffee professionals, who are always willing to share their knowledge and sow into our community. 

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee:)  I really enjoy being outdoors. So if I'm not behind the bar you'll probably find me on the beach or a hiking trail in the middle of nowhere.

Name:Kuda Gezi

Comps History: 2nd place Western Cape Barista Championships (2016)

5th place Western Cape Barista Championships (2017)

Company: Ground Central Coffee Roastery 

Coffee I like: I’m so into Flat whites, especially with El Salvador beans

My Journey: It has been a tough at the moment to find time to practice and be behind the machine as I have been mostly involved in Coffee equipment selling & Coffee machine repairs and importing in my new job with Ground Central. It has been an exciting time, but still i’m always trying to give myself more time behind the espresso bar.

Why Comps are Important:  In my opinion they are important in a way that we get the time to showcase our skills,talent & passion.Also the fact that we are coffee  ambassadors & we all have the same obsession.

Fact about me: Look, my life has now changed hey from socializing with friends lol! I’m now a dad so he is now my partner in crime, always with him in my spare time :)

South African Champion at All Africa Barista Champs this week! February 12 2018

Winston Thomas, SCASA National Barista Champion, will compete this week at the All African Champs held at AFCA in Kampala, Uganda.

We wish him all the best and hope that he gains valuable insights that he can bring back to the broader industry. When we chatted to him last week, he was feeling confident and excited for this adventure!

AFCA is a very prestigious event, in fact the biggest coffee event in Africa! It's focus is for producers and exporters to share knowledge and strengthen Africa's position on the global coffee stage. South Africa has always been very active in this organisation. Read what Sarah Schach of WM Cahn, who was served on the AFCA Board since 2011, has to say about the importance of this conference here:

Build Up to Nationals: Barista Profiles Two January 29 2018

Another 3 competitors from Gauteng!


Name: Harry Mole

Competition History: Gauteng Regionals 2015 – 8th
Gauteng Regionals 2016 – 2nd, Gauteng Cupping 2016 – 1st.
Barista Championship Nationals 2017 – 2nd
Gauteng Regionals 2018 – 2nd (hope I got the dates right? haha)

Region and position in comp:
Gauteng Regionals 2015 – 8th
Gauteng Regionals 2016 – 2nd, Gauteng Cup Tasters 2016 – 1st.
Barista Championship Nationals 2017 – 2nd
Gauteng Regionals 2018 – 2nd 

Company: TriBeCa Coffee Company

Why did you enter this competition?
To challenge myself, my coffee knowledge and have fun!

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? (either the style or the coffee bean)

I’m really enjoying my morning Tanzania Kilimanjaro in a V60. Its tasty, it gets me ready for the day and gets me thinking of the mountain.

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far?

Coffee people are great people. Meeting others with the same passion and enthusiasm for coffee is addictive; as well as learning more about myself and my journey with coffee.

Why do you think the competitions are important?
It is important to challenge not only each other but our knowledge of what is possible with coffee in order for the coffee community to grow.
I also think for us working in the industry that it challenges us to learn and grow with coffee.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee:) 
I really love films! If I’m not in the cinema at least once a week I get grumpy :)

Name: Khulekani Mpala

Competition History:

Competed in Barista Championships

- 2011 Gauteng Regionals (finished towards bottom)

- 2016 Gauteng Regionals (1st place)

- 2017 Nationals (3rd place)

- 2017 Gauteng Regionals (3rd place)

N/B: 2011 represented Manna Cafe, the rest I represented Tribeca

Why did you enter this competition? It gives me the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people in the world, and helps me to learn from some of the best baristas.

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? (either the style or the coffee bean)
Currently my favourite is a cortado, exploring different single origins.

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far? Winning best technical and placing 3rd at Nationals 2017 brought a degree of satisfaction! So far thats the highlight.

Why do you think the competitions are important?
Competitions are important because they bring the coffee community together, gives us a chance to learn from each other and become better professionals.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself:
I grew up believing i would be a musician and my name was "General K" he he he he!!! I still listen to a lot of reggae.

Name: Thabang Maluleka

Competition History: The Cup tasting completion was my first time participating in a coffee competition
Region and position in comp: Gauteng Cup Tasters 2nd
Company: Ciro Beverage Solutions

Why did you enter this competition? This was a good opportunity for me to learn more about other coffees which are out there besides the ones that I’m used to, I also wanted to meet other people in the coffee community.

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? (either the style or the coffee bean)
My favorite coffee is an espresso made up of American and African arabica beans.

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far?
I have never thought of the coffee industry to be so big!, besides coming out second in cup tasting I would say finding out that there are a lot of coffee enthusiasts like me out there has been the biggest highlight so far.

Why do you think the competitions are important?
They are important to raise our coffee expertise as a nation to match that of world class nations in the coffee industry

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself (that has nothing to do with coffee:) I’m a founder of Uma Mente Music (Pty) Ltd, a Record Label and Music Publishing Company.

Response to Water concerns for National Coffee Competitions January 22 2018

A note from SCASA

Thank you so much for your thoughts on the location of the National Coffee Competitions, we always encourage our members to voice concerns and also express willingness to participate. We have taken your concerns very seriously, thank you for your patience in our response.

We are very much aware of the water situation and have made a considerate amount of effort to not use extensive volumes of water from the region during the competitions. Cape Town is welcoming such events (including the Cape Argus), as its economy desperately needs income to support this cause. SCASA has been in contact with Tourism, Trade and Investment officials in this regard.

We have taken measures to ensure that water will be brought from JHB for the competitions to run the espresso machines (15 x 20litre), as well as water to be supplied for competitors and their teams for drinking and cleaning up water. Domestic airlines have sanctioned visitors to bring water in their checked luggage. Any excess water will be donated to the community of Langa.

This is what has been organised by the SCASA BoD and volunteers:

- A free, sponsored venue. 
- Equipment sponsors
- Milk sponsored by a local dairy
- Bore hole water filtered through RO from Ultimate Water
- Water from Air Unit (150litre/day capacity) on site for drinking water and to take a couple litres home.
- Sponsored PA system
- A date that gives the Barista Winner at least 3 months to prepare

On tourism and water:…/tourists-bring-own-water-to-cape-to…
“Wesgro CEO Tim Harris emphasised that tourists are helping grow local economies and create jobs in the most remote parts of the province. "This is precisely why tourism is so valuable to our economy during these more challenging economic times, and why Wesgro will continue to do everything possible to ensure the industry continues to grow,” he said.”…/tourists-bring-own-water-to-cape-to…

This is a call to you, the members who have all competed/taken part in competitions organised for you, to step up and help make these competitions a success. The more members who put up their hands to help, the easier solutions are found. We look forward to any other suggestions that can help.

Tips to Save like a Local:…/save-like-a-local-how-visitors…

Thank you in advance for your support.
SCASA Board of Directors

Build Up to Nationals: Barista Profiles One January 17 2018

Leading up to Nationals in February, we will be profiling the amazing coffee professionals that are vying for the Championship spots and tickets to the World events across the Globe. First up, we have three contenders from Gauteng.

Name: John Evans

Competition History: I’ve competed in one regional barista championship, and judged one as well. 

Region and position in comp: Gauteng Barista Championship 2017 - 5th place. 

Company: TriBeCa Coffee

Why did you enter this competition? I wanted to push myself harder to be a better barista, and I want to do everything I can to promote specialty coffee in South Africa, and I feel like barista competitions go a long way in doing that. 

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? That’s a tough question! My go-to brew method is the V60, and if I had to pick, I’d probably go with something Ethiopian. 

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far? Probably the friends I’ve made. Coffee people are the best, and I love how we come together and look out for each other in competitions. 

Why do you think the competitions are important? I think they’re important for two reasons - as a barista, you can’t go into a competition and come out the other side without becoming better at what you do. You question everything, try everything, research everything and practice so hard that you become a better coffee professional. The other reason is that barista competitions bring the coffee community together, and I think that’s really good for us as a community. 

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

I’m a drummer!


Name: Trevor Fitz

Competition History: Before competing in the Gauteng Nationals, my only previous competition was The Coffee Magazine's Home Barista competition at the Coffee & Chocolate expo 2 years ago, where I came second. 

Region and position in comp: 1st place in the Gauteng Barista championships

Company: I am an independent competitor. My company is Winwin Consulting, but they are not involved in coffee.

Why did you enter this competition? To learn more about coffee and to improve my skills as a barista 

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? My favourite coffee is the Cortado at the moment, Preferably with Burundi 

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far? The Highlight so far has definitely been winning the Gauteng Regionals!  

Why do you think the competitions are important? Competitions force you to think more intentionally about coffee, how it’s grown, roasted and brewed, and encourages you to challenge yourself to become better than you were before.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself: When I am not making coffee, my favourite pass time is cooking and baking. I have been cooking dinner and baking cakes since I was 10 years old and have never gotten bored of it.


Name: Debbie King

Competition History: Cup Tasters

Region and position in comp: 

2015 GP Cup Tasters 1st

2015 National Cup Tasters 5th

2016 GP Cup Tasters 4th

2017 GP Cup Tasters 1st

Company: Stil. Coffee/ AfricaBlack Coffee Roastery

Why did you enter this competition? I really enjoy entering Cup Tasters as I deal with cupping, quality control and roast profiling at work, so it is always great to challenge my senses and taste new coffees.

What is your favourite coffee at the moment? (either the style or the coffee bean) Zimbabwean Smaldeel Honey Process

What has been the highlight of this journey for you so far? Traveling to a coffee estate in Malawi.

Why do you think the competitions are important? These competitions are important for the growth of the industry. From the Cup of Excellence to the Barista Championships, it encourages all coffee professionals to hone their skills to produce a great cup of coffee.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself: My favourite band is The Cure and I am addicted to playing Overwatch.


Excitement builds for Nationals in Cape Town, February 2018 January 10 2018

We are so, so excited for Nationals! It hasn't been in Cape Town for quite some time, but the Mother City is calling!

So from Thursday 22nd February - Sunday 25th February we will be throwing the pinnacle of South African Coffee Competitions in the Cape Town City Bowl.

*Please note, below schedule subject to change.


Thursday 22nd February

Event: Semi Finals of Latte Art  

Venue: TBC

Time: 6pm-8pm


Friday 23rd February

Event: Compulsory Barista Orientation

Venue: TBC

Time: 4pm

Event: Cup Tasters Semi-Finals

Venue: TBC

Time: 6pm-8pm


Saturday 24th February

Event: Barista Champs Semi-Finals

Venue: TBC

Time: 8am-6pm

Lunchtime: Almond Breeze Smackdown 


Sunday 25th February - Finals Day!!! 

Event: Barista Champ, Latte Art and Cup Tasters FINALS

Venue: TBC

Time: 9am - 5pm


Detailed Schedule and Times to be confirmed


Almond Breeze Barista Blend Smackdown December 05 2017

One of the highlights of our SCASA competitions over the past couple of years has been the Smackdowns run by Almond Breeze South Africa. There is a lot of tension at these events as all the baristas and organisers have invested a lot of time, energy and money in doing their best on stage and the Smackdown's have provided an amazing way for everyone to let their hair down and have some fun with latte art and Almond Breeze Barista Blend.

Thank you to our Gold Sponsor for giving back to the baristas. It is so appreciated!

Marcus Peil of Almond Breeze with Winner Ndumiso Ngcobo of Talkhouse Coffee in Westville. He won the R2500 grand prize on finals day!!!

Winston Thomas on his return to South Africa after WBC November 16 2017

Picture by The Coffee Magazine/Melanie Winter

“I would like to conclude with a quote from a famous chef Dan Barber. When speaking of the food he serves in his restaurant he says that you want the feeling and holistic idea of the meal to resonate with you long after you leave. Because at the end of the day it’s not just about the dish. It’s about what the dish represents that has to add up to something larger than just a plate of food. This is how I believe coffee should be and this is exactly what this coffee represents. The untapped potential of coffee in Africa. And as a proud African coffee professional there is no other coffee I would rather have served you today. So thank you so much for your time. It has been an absolute pleasure. Please enjoy your signature drinks. Time.”

These words sent shivers down our collective spine when Winston Thomas wrapped up his set on the world stage in Seoul. He certainly did South Africa proud and though the ranking might not be what we hoped for, the way he handled the disappointment is what really impressed us. He accepted it gracefully and got right back into the fray to help his fellow African competitor Martin Shabaya and learn as much as he could from all the inspirational people present at the World Champs.

You can watch his performance here under the 'Prelims Station 1' tab:

Our media partners, The Coffee Magazine, caught up with the Champ on his return to Cape Town, you can listen to the interview here:

You can read about his reflections on the experience here:

Picture by The Coffee Magazine/Melanie Winter

Save the Date: Watch Winston Thomas at the World Barista Champs! November 02 2017

Winston Thomas is leaving this week for Seoul and The World Barista Championships! 

There is a 7-hour time difference, so Winston will be on stage early on November 9th 2017, so set your alarm clocks and be in front of your computer by 6.30am!

His official competition time starts at 6.51am!!!

It will be livestreaming on

From the World Barista Championship Team:

"We’re getting close to Seoul, and we’re excited to share the schedule of competitors for Day 1 and 2 of the World Barista Championship! This includes timings for each competitor that competes on the mainstage, as well as details on Team Bar shifts. You can find always find updated Seoul schedules right next to the livestreams and other announcements at

Over the last seventeen years we’ve seen interest in the competition grow, with nearly sixty competitors expected to take to the stage in Seoul. In order to accommodate this growth, for the first time multiple competitors will take to the stage in staggered performances during the preliminary round only. All stage performances from preliminary and subsequent round will continue to be live-streamed around the world as usual, with multiple concurrent streams available on

Periodically during the preliminary round, scoreboards around the WBC stage and embedded into the online WBC portal will be updated with competitors’ current rankings as they stand.

In Seoul, the top 15 scoring competitors from the preliminary round will advance to semi-finals, along with the highest scoring member of the winning team, in a new ‘wildcard’ slot. The winning WBC Team will be announced along with the 16 semi-finalists at 5:30 PM on 10 November."

Build Up to World Barista Champs in Seoul October 24 2017

From 9-12 November 2017, the competitive coffee world converges to crown a new World Barista Champion.

Winston Thomas is our representative and we are so excited to support him in his endeavour to do South Africa proud!

Our media partners, The Coffee Magazine caught up with him. 


5 minutes with Alessandro Morrico - Official SCASA Espresso Machine Supplier Sponsor September 19 2017

SCASA is an NPO and none of what we do would be possible without volunteers and sponsors giving freely of their time and resources. Alessandro Morrico and his company Morrico Imports & Exports have been the supplier sponsor of the espresso machines from the beginning of SCASA and have always made sure that our baristas work on the best. We caught up with him about his involvement in the Association.


You have been part of SCASA since the very beginning, what inspired you to get involved at that time and what keeps you involved currently?

Mmmmm... This could be a really long answer, and we all know that I do tend to go on and on and.... 

My interest and passion for SCASA began at a time for me , when the young and tiny South African coffee scene was at a stand still  with minor waves of interest. I realized that there were very few individual like myself looking for a breakthrough and still enthusiastic enough to make the time and the effort to try to make it happen. Meeting up with Lani Snyman (current SCASA chairperson) helped me to keep up the enthusiasm, as I realized I was not alone.

 All these years later and finding that with the right people , SCASA has still maintained a very open mind and a very honest learning approach to all that is the coffee industry ,and all that its members and potential members require from us. It keeps the progress very interesting and generates the enthusiasm to be part of it, just look at what we have achieved. We have come a long way since the beginning.


As a WCE Qualified judge, do you think South Africa’s competitive barista standard has increased over the years?

It's a bitter-sweet answer unfortunately. The barista profession as a whole has definitely grown in size, skill, and recognition and for sure the level of baristas in the South African championships has evolved, just look at our recent finalist at world level such as Ishan and Wayne to name a few ....,  ..although ... ( and this is the bitter part )  .... considering the amount of effort and marketing as well as all the accessibility of material that we , as individuals can easily and freely retrieve on line or via various social media channel, one would expect a much fiercer level of competition, especially at national level.


Tell us about your business Morrico Import & Export and your involvement with Nuova Simonelli and Victoria Arduino, the WBC espresso machine suppliers.

We were approached by Nuova Simonelli Group. Nuova Simonelli were all about the coffee and the baristas, we loved their approach and professionalism from the beginning, and have been their distributors for over ten years since . We found them to be both innovative and humble in their approach, at the time striving for perfection of various composition of espresso machines but focusing so much research and development on "extraction", and this appealed to us as they were at the crest of a 'revolution' in terms of Espresso machines. They filled the gap between cheap and nasty entry level stuff  and the unnecessary overpriced and overrated models out there.

Victoria Arduino is a Simonelli Group owned Company, although apart from being acquired by the group, it is the oldest name in espresso machines, aka  "The father of espresso since 1905”. Who wouldn't want to represent the brand? Personally I have a passion for historic Espresso machines, leva models and the like. Today they build WBC spec Black Eagle Gravimetrics.


You have completed many of the SCAE certifications. Why do you think this an important unit standard measure?

That's correct, I qualified with over 100 credits about 4 years ago .

I believe I'm still the only individual with a full certificate, possibly in the continent , not sure about this, but I mention it because there should be MORE of us. I really feel that we need to rely on the overseas Associations, where they have enormous markets and resources, as their accreditations are very well planned and structured and really offer the individuals and opportunity to cover a large body of information - it would take us years and many man hours to try to reproduce a similar learning platform here in SA.


Profile on Deaf Barista, Thabo Mokhele September 19 2017

SCASA is invested in helping to train a new generation of baristas and the Deaf Barista program is one of the initiatives close to the Association's heart. Thabo was one of the competitors at the first ever Deaf Barista Competition. Well done to Lavazza and Spar Bean Tree for undertaking to uplift these baristas.

PROFILE: Thabo Mokhele

Thabo Albert Mokhele, 39, wasn’t always Deaf. He lost his hearing when he was eight years old and, to this day, he doesn’t know why.

Thabo grew up in Welkom and, when he lost both of his parents, moved to Johannesburg to find work. At that stage, he had no idea what he wanted to do, especially since communication with hearing people was a real challenge.

When the opportunity arose for Thabo to be trained as a professional coffee barista, he jumped at the chance. He completed an intensive barista training course at the Ciro Coffee Academy, in partnership with retail group SPAR and Lavazza, and was employed at a SPAR Bean Tree Café, where he has served coffee ever since.

Thabo says that working in the service industry as a Deaf person isn’t easier or harder than being a hearing person; it’s simply more ‘interesting’. He admits that, while he sometimes struggles to express himself, he uses every method he can to get his message across: Sign Language, finger spelling or lip reading.

Thabo describes himself as a humble man who respects everyone and who loves nothing more than serving a hot cup of coffee, made with love and accuracy. Why accuracy? Thabo says that if he had only one barista trick to share with ardent coffee-drinkers it would be this: It’s all about accuracy, whether you’re a hearing person or a Deaf person. 

He hopes to one day brew the perfect cup for veteran radio jock Bob Mabena, whom Thabo admires for his great humility.

Working as a barista at SPAR Bean Tree Café has made Thabo realise that perseverance pays off when you believe in yourself and accept who you are.

If you or your company would like to sponsor the training of a deaf barista (for only R2700), please email for more information.

Cape Town! Get your entries in, only 3 weeks to go! September 12 2017

Did you hear the news? The World Latte Art Champs will be held in Brazil!!! There has been a bit of controversy around where Cup Tasters will be, but you definitely want to throw your name in the ring to travel to these amazing locations in the name of coffee!

Sign up now for the Regional competition to be held at Coffee&Choc in Durbanville, 6-8 October. It's only 3 weeks away! Download the form here and send to

You need to be one of the top 2 at the Western Cape Regionals to qualify for Nationals. It's yours for the taking! Here is some inspiration from Caleb Cha, the 2015 Latte Art Champ to get you excited.

The Cup Tasters competition has changed Simphiwe 'Bobby' Adams life. You can hear more about that here.

Interview with Gauteng Barista Champion, Trevor Fitz August 28 2017

So Trevor, you don’t work in coffee, what’s your day job? 

No, I do not work in coffee funny enough. As a Company, we deal mostly with corporate strategy, training and communication. My role in all of that is basically a project management type of role. I make sure all the different elements of a project are being done and that we are staying on top of operations and costs. However, I also manage the Video and Multimedia side of the business as well.

How did you get into making coffee? 
My journey in coffee started a long time back, when I was actually told by my doctor at the age of 16 that in order to manage my chronic migraines i need to drink coffee daily. I tested this theory out, and it actually worked. So from that day on, I made every effort to learn how to make coffee properly and in the process of learning, I developed a passion for all the in and outs of coffee until eventually i found that i just couldn't learn enough. And nothing has changed since then.

When did you decide you would like to try your hand at the SCASA competition level? 
Well that was largely Nkulu’s (Khulekani Mpala) influence. He joined the barista championships in 2016 where he emerged as the regional champion, shortly after competing he told me that I should join because of how much I would learn and how much better it would make me as a Barista. So I convinced myself it was a good idea and started experimenting. 

Tell us about the coffee you used and the theme for your set. 
The coffee that I used for my competition was a Burundi bean roasted by Bean There (who were kind enough to sponsor them for me). The theme for my set was experiencing coffee, and how adding different ingredients changes that experience.

Who was your support team and who would you like to thank? 
I would like to thank Nkulu for his help and support, I ran many ideas and coffees passed him. I would also like to thank Claire, who helped me on many weekends and evenings to practice, and had to hear my set 100 times. The 2 of them, as well as Kobus, Leon, Dayna and Ella also endured tasting many signature drink fails. And of course my parents and sister who helped my buy and clean all my gear. Which all helped me prepare. 

What is your favourite way to make coffee at home? 
Chemex… I love Chemex! It’s what I make the most at home.


First published on the Coffee Magazine website. Imagery by Aubrey Hlongwane

Barista Guild of South Africa - How can you participate? August 10 2017

The Barista Guild of South Africa was started with one goal in mind: to bring baristas together more often so that they can share their experiences and learn from each other. 

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And we had some very promising launches back in 2014. But like most volunteer run endeavours, it became difficult to maintain. 

The Barista Guild of America requires membership fees of R1000/year and this is how they have the resources to offer Barista Courses and run events regularly.

We're certainly not there yet, but we can kick things off again at minimal expense if just a few of you wonderful coffee fanatics put up your hands to host events. 

We will promote the events on our platforms, including through our media partner, The Coffee Magazine, to make sure the coffee community knows about it. We will try help you find sponsors or connect you with other willing volunteers in your regions or connect you with the SCASA Director or SCASA Member that can help make an event happen. 

We need your help to collaborate regardless of which coffee company you belong to. This Guild is supposed to be a brainstorming platform, a way to bring coffee people together, to support each other through the daily experiences of being in this coffee and service industry.


- Fun Latte Art Competition

- Cup Tasting event to expand your palates and taste different coffees

- Coffee Cocktail experimentation

Email and we will try to support any volunteers! Please mention Barista Guild of South Africa, so that Amanda knows where to direct your email!

Join the BGSA Facebook page where we will hopefully be posting some awesome events soon!

 Photo: The Coffee Magazine

The First Ever Deaf Barista Competition July 24 2017

SCASA successfully hosts the first ever Deaf Barista Competition: 

"I can honestly say that this is the best experience of my life. Better than winning Latte Art and Cup Tasters, better than any coffee experience I've had before."

Esther Maasdam, Dutch Latte Art and Cup Tasters Champ in different years and current WCE All Star, was overwhelmed by the passion and skill of the 6 deaf baristas who competed on stage at Coffee&Chocolate 13-16 July 2017

Have you ever wondered where your SCASA Membership fees go to? Part of the funds go to running the association, another part goes to running the barista competitions and the final part is ploughed into Barista Education and training. The latest initiative, was to hold the first ever Deaf barista competition, which was initiated by the Ciro team Lani Snyman, Lizaan Alberts and Johnson Sehoro - and carried through with support from the SCASA Board members and SCASA volunteers. 

For the full story click here:  

If you would like to Sponsor a Deaf person to train to become a barista - all you need to do is email - cost is once-off R2700. 

Wrap Up: World Coffee Events All Stars July 19 2017

The World Coffee Events (WCE) All Stars graced Johannesburg at the recent Coffee & Chocolate Expo held at Montecasino and they did not disappoint!  

The six All Stars, all previous Finalists of WCE events were Um Paul (South Korea), Francesco Sanapo (Italy) Esther Maasdam (Netherlands) Michalis and George (Greece) and Alejandro Mendez (El Salvador).  The dedicated All-Stars stage was adorned with 3 Victoria Arduino Black Eagles, Mahlkonig K30 and EK Grinders, all of the barista toys a coffee geek could want and the visitors to the show were able to enjoy some exceptional coffees brewed by the All Stars themselves.

The All Stars were put through a range of challenges such a mystery espresso competitions, Latte Art challenges and head-to-head Coffee Cocktail competitions.  

One of the simplest highlights was the early morning brew bar sessions where all 6 of the All-stars simply made coffee and chatted to people  - either pour-overs, espresso or milk based beverages - the All Stars were very accessible, obliging with autographs, discussions from visitors and very professional in their presentations. Some visitors even got to sample George’s Panamanian Geisha which he claimed was around $300 a pound green! (It was sublime! Peaches I tell you, peaches!)

Congratulations to the Coffee & Choc Team, the SCASA Team, Wayne Burrows and the Urban Grind Team for assisting and to all the Exhibitors and Suppliers that made this a success.

It was without doubt the most international Coffee event, SA has hosted and from the connections, friendships and networking that was established over many cups of coffee - very worthwhile.

Gauteng Regional Latte Art and Cup Tasters Champions! July 18 2017

What an amazing weekend! Our regional Latte Art and Cup Tasters competitors got to share the stage with the World Coffee Events All Stars and it definitely pushed them to perform at their absolute best! Well done to all who competed!

Congratulations to the new Gauteng Champions! Both winners and the runners up go through to Nationals 2018.

With guest head judge Nina Rimpl of Switzerland, the local talent lifted their game and produced some beauties in the final round.

Latte Art:
Winner - Sibusiso Makhubo, nino's south africa
Runner Up - Mbongiseni Nkomo, Time Out Cafe

It was a tough round of Cup Tasters, with 4/8 being the winning number! Debbie King took top honours, beating out the rest of the finalists who all scored 3/8. Very tight indeed!

Cup Tasters:
Winner - Debbie King, AfricaBlack Coffee Roastery & Espresso Bar
Runner Up - Thabang Maluleku, Ciro Full Service Coffee Co.

Thank you to all our sponsors who make these competitions possible: Nuova Simonelli South Africa, Koldserve Food Service Equipment/ Equipment Cafe, Ultimate Water, Vision Works SA, MONIN/ LiquidConcepts, The Coffee Magazine, Rock & Roller Coffee Culture, Fairfield Dairy


SCASA Events Schedule for Coffee&Chocolate Expo!!! July 11 2017

The weekend of Coffee&Chocolate has arrived! We are so excited! Have you got your tickets yet?!

There is so much happening from so many of our SCASA members that you do not want to miss out!!

Some of the highlights are the World Coffee Events All Stars, the Gauteng Regional Latte Art and Cup Tasters and the first ever Deaf Barista Competition.

There will be previous and current South African Barista Champs on hand for demos and questions. It will be a hive of coffee activity! So much to learn, share, taste and discover!

Find all schedules and times below:

All Stars Schedule:


GP Regionals Schedule:

Friday 14th July: 18h00 - 21h00, Latte Art Round One 
Saturday 15th July: 18h00 - 21h00, Latte Art Round One
Sunday 16th July: 15h00 - 18h00, Cup Tasters Round One, Latte Art Finals, Cup Tasters Finals, followed by Prizegiving!

Deaf Barista Competition:


If you have any questions please email, we look forward to seeing you there!

World Champs Round Up: Catch up with Simphiwe 'Bobby' Adams June 28 2017



I don't know where to start. It was a great journey and i was so excited, emotional and nervous all at the same time, ha ha ha. It was a great feeling; everyone there spoke the universal language of "COFFEE"


I'm so disappointed and angry with myself but it was a lesson. I was not at my best and I made wrong decisions that cost me, some of the reasons were because of the long flight and i was very overwhelmed and lonely. It is so important to have a supporter,colleague or manager with you if possible to help keep focused and calm the nerves.


Try arrive a few days before the competition,to get used to the change in environment and culture and familiarise yourself with the city and avenue. Having someone to support you is extremely important.This to me was my biggest downfall. Thankfully I did know GEORGE KARATZAS and ALHENRICO THOMAS from SA, they together with the WEGA team at the expo supported, also my Family,Friends and colleagues at Sumatran coffee for their messages of support. I can't wait to qualify for next World Cup Tasters, hopefully there will be enough time for us to raise funds to take a supporter along.


Competing at International level helps us to grow and improve our coffee culture back home. There more we learn from other professionals in the industry, the more ideas, knowledge and experiences we bring back to our communities. There is so much happening in the coffee industry, new coffee and equipment out there, I mean amazing stuff.


Palate development helps a lot and cupping at least twice a week. Eat lots of fruit and different food, cupping/tasting coffee from different roasters around the world if at all possible, using beans mainly CENTRAL AMERICA, medium to dark roast, which increases the difficulty, avoid spicy food during the competition days.

SCASA Members - Sponsor a deaf barista and change a life! June 27 2017

Do you want to really change a person's life using coffee?  SCASA, in association with UNISA, EDeaf ( and Ciro have created an opportunity for SCASA members to Sponsor a Deaf person to join a training programme that will see them become a fully fledged barista.  The cost of the SCASA Member's Sponsorship is only R2700 per person, and this stipend will go directly to assisting the candidate's transport and monthly costs as Unisa is sponsoring the NQF Level 5 certificate "Short Course in Barista Skills" under the Unisa Department of Consumer Sciences.

This is an amazing opportunity and UNISA has created sponsored space for 30 deaf baristas to be trained for the duration of one month. EDEAF is facilitating this training on behalf of SCASA and the UNISA Sound Video and Photography directorate is developing a multi modal  training  DVD, so the empowerment process has legs beyond the training itself.  SCASA Members, Ciro have already committed to one sponsorship and Coffee Magazine to two sponsorships! All SCASA Members are urged to participate. There are 27 more sponsorships available!

How can you get involved?

*   email if you would like to Sponsor a deaf barista.

*   There will be a celebration of this program on the 4th of July in JHB at Ciro, to meet successful deaf baristas who has already worked in the industry for 2 to 3 years. UNISA and Edeaf representatives will be present to meet and to find out more information.

*   There will be a Deaf Barista competition at CoffeeChoc EXPO with an interpreter - In order to make it as similar in spirit to a regionals/nationals set, the deaf Baristas will prepare a set of cappuccinos in 10 minutes and be judged by George Bertolis, Alessandro Morricco and Lani Snyman with Iain Evans to MC . Come and support!


Partners: Unisa, Ciro, EDeaf, SCASA, CoffeeChoc, Coffee Magazine. Deaf Barista Program and competition celebration On 4th July. Rsvp at SCASA.


Watch the South African Champions compete at the World of Coffee!!! June 12 2017

Our Latte Art and Cup Tasters Champions are in Hungary this week competing at the World of Coffee!

You can support them LIVE by tuning in to the World Coffee Events website which is the only place the action will be streamed:

World Cup Tasters Championship

Simphiwe 'Bobby' Adams: 13 June 10.40am

Simphiwe is up against some tough competitiors, but the way this competition works is that every score goes on to the main leader board. The people with the most number of cups right in the shortest amount of time go through to the next round, so Bobby doesn't have to worry about the people around him, just the coffee in the cups! He, his colleagues at Sumatran Coffee and Shaun Aupiais have been training tirelessly to prepare for Budapest. He scored an amazing 8 out of 8 correct in his Final Round at Nationals at the beginning of May, we're confident he can repeat it!

World Latte Art Championship

Alhenrico Thomas: 13 June, last competitor of the day (no time given thus far)

This is Alhenrico's second time at World's so now that he knows what to expect we know he is going to do us proud. What an amazing achievement to go to Worlds in two consecutive years. He learnt so much on his first trip and he will certainly take all that experience to the stage with him. His company Famous Brands have supported him in a big way to get to this point. Well done to the Famous Brands team.


If you would like to see the full schedules please visit the World Coffee Events website, there will be loads of coffee entertainment all day!

Call for Entry: Eastern Cape Regionals 22-25 June 2017 June 08 2017

The Friendly City is one of the most passionate regions when it comes to love for coffee and it's growing every year. The current Cup Tasters Champion, Simphiwe Adams, calls Eastern Cape home.

It's happening at the Homemakers Expo and it's only 3 weeks away!

SCASA needs you to participate!

Are you an aspiring barista wanting to learn more about the industry and about your own capabilities? Have you entered yet? You can do so here.