South African Barista Champs

I don’t fully get started with my day until I’ve had a cup of coffee and have become a bit of a coffee snob in that I don’t drink instant ever. I’m also particularly moody until I’ve had that first cup, so it’s best to not make me meet you too early in the morning ;)
People who know me well will say I’m always moody, but I digress…!

Coffee culture has settled in SA for sure with amazing coffees and places to drink them arriving in our cities monthly, with a strong focus on the art of brewing the perfect cup. Gone are the days of a tannie stirring frisco into an enamel cup and serving it to you without even a glimmer of excitement. Now you could hear cries of ‘obrigado’, the hissing of a milk steamer, the grind of a freshly roasted bean and smell the delicious aroma of real coffee, depending on where you go.
{And if you are still content with a tannie coffee, we can’t be friends}

None of what we get at our local coffee shop is possible without an experienced barista. If you’re a coffee snob, you’ll know what I mean. What they do and how they present your coffee makes all the difference to your experience of it.
So when the SA Barista Champs took place at Gateway recently, I kept my eye beadily on the results and will be adding the places these guys brew at on my must-visit list. Obviously I was rooting for KZN boy Craig Charity, but Wayne Oberholzer pipped him to take honours to become the new SA Barista Champion, after narrowly beating out challenges from Craig and Alicia Butler.

It was a return to form for Wayne, who was last SA Champion in 2012 and the judges scored him ahead of the other finalists in the final round which included beautiful visual latte art in the milk based course, smoked wood cherry on the espresso course and ice-ball espresso’s in the signature drink round. Wayne will now represent SA at the WBC event in Dublin, Ireland in June 2016.

Here are the full results:

  1. Wayne Oberholzer – The Portland Project, Western Cape
  2. Craig Charity – Lineage Coffee, KZN
  3. Alicia Bulter – Molecular Bars/The March Hare, Gauteng
  4. Bilbo Steyn – TriBeCa, Western Cape
  5. Craig Sampson – Ciro, KZN
  6. Arno Els – Origin, Western Cape

There were also Cup Tasters and Latte Art Divisions, which saw both Donovan McLagan & Byron Keet successfully defended their National Titles and they’ll both represent SA in Shanghai, China at the World Events in 2016.

Cup Taster Results:

  1. Donovan McLagan – Urban Espress, Eastern Cape
  2. Jonothan Robinson, Bean There, Gauteng
  3. Bernard Muneri – Nino’s, KZN
  4. Simpiwe Adams – Sumatra Coffee, Eastern Cape

Latte Art Results:

  1. Byron Keet – Famous Brands, Eastern Cape
  2. Alhenrico Thomas – Famous Brands, Western Cape

The barista champs are arranged by SCASA – the Speciality Coffee Association of South African – which is basically a cool group of peeps aiming to make sure no one drinks kak coffee. Nice one guys.


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