Meet Tshepo Modiakgotla, the Central Region’s Latte Art Champion for 2019

05 Jun 2019 | Central Region, Coffee Competitions, Competitions, Free State, News, Regionals

This year was Tshepo Modiakgotla‘s second time competing at the Central Region Coffee Competitions at Coffee Extravaganza in Bloemfontein.

We connected with the Bloemfontein Latte Art champion to discuss his coffee journey and the competition that took place earlier in June.

Tell us a bit about yourself? Where do you currently work and how did you get into coffee?
I’d like to portrait myself as a CREATIVE, I love being in my space and create. Besides being behind the bar and managing the shop, I usually sit with my laptop and graphic design. I love music, and would like to sing one day. I’m the middle child from a family of five, I have two siblings. I studied B. Agric. Agricultural management at the University of Free State.

I work at Royal Coffee House, I work both as a Barista and Shop Assistant Manager there. Well, I started working as Barista in December 2015. I was a 1st year student by then, when I saw a job post on social media from one of the local coffee roasters.

What are your interests outside of coffee?
I’ve always been interested in creative arts. As a child I loved playing with my mom’s bible and I’d draw on it. As I got older, graphic designing became my passion. In 2018, I took a leap of faith and started Media93 Graphics and Printing, a graphic design and printing business which has been running effectively with clients from all over South Africa. We assist small and medium corporates with our tailored-made branding and marketing solutions.

The Central Region Coffee Competitions was such an exciting event this year, tell us more about your experience and how it felt like competing? Please tell us more about your LA set?
This year was my second time competing at the central regions. The previous year I came second and got the opportunity to go and compete at the Nationals. Personally, I feel like this year’s competitions was a huge step-up from last year. We were given a big platform to showcase both our creative skills and passion for coffee. This year’s set was inspired by what I do on a daily basis, EXCITEMENT! I wanted to just have fun and enjoy myself on stage.

What is great about coffee in the greater Bloemfontein and Free State area
What has been very interesting for me to see throughout the past 4 years, was how people have actually grown to appreciate coffee. During the time I started, there were just a few specialty coffee shops around. But today, the number has immensely doubled. I have faith and hope that the culture will grow even greater in the coming years.

What is your favourite coffee, and why?
Wow this a tough one! Well, I guess it really depends on the mood. I love exploring my taste balances on a V60 and Chemex. My favourite coffee would have to be Tanzania Ngorongoro roasted by Royal Roastery.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or recognize, or who helped you to prepare for the Central Region Coffee Competitions?
Well, I have a list of people I want to appreciate. I want to appreciate my Former Barista Trainer Thabo Kheleroa (Jaru Coffee), Janco Holtzhausen (Owner at Jaru Coffee) who paved the way for me in the industry. I want to thank my church for the support. My friends and family for all your prayers and well thoughts.

Finally I want to thank my current employer and Business Coach, Ruan Immelman and his wife, who tirelessly put everything together and went all the way that we win. A big shout out to Ernest Lephuting also from Royal Coffee House who competed for the first time and managed to be placed 2nd. I also want to thank the rest of the Royal team for all the support and making sure that everything concerning my set was a huge success.

What’s next for you and where do you see yourself in five years?
The next step now is the Nationals. The training has already begun and the focus is just to polish where we went wrong. I see myself venturing in the coffee business and collaborating with the biggest players in the graphic design industry. I believe coffee is a good business and it is a good catalyst for every business venture.
Thanks Tshepo, good luck with the journey ahead.

(Photo: Royal Coffee House)