Baristas from around the Cape gathered this week to battle it out for the title of Cape Regional Barista Champ and the chance to compete at the National Barista Championship in March. The final showdown saw six incredible baristas putting their best portafilters forward with the top spot going to coffee queen, Joanne Berry from Origin Coffee Roasting. Runner-up went to Michael Bou-Rjeily from Tribeca/W Café and third place to David Donde from Truth. Ally Strachen (Ciro Coffee Company), Dayne Larke (Gourmet Coffee) and Luyolo Ndandane (O’Ways Teacafe) formed the remainder of the top six.
For those that are unfamiliar with this competition, the aim is to find the barista who will not only be awarded the title of National Champ but who will also travel abroad to represent South Africa at the World Barista Champs. The manner in which the regional and national competitions proceed is exactly that of what you would find at the World Champs. Competitors are judged by a panel consisting of four sensory judges, two technical judges and one head judge. The technical judges evaluate the barista’s skills and state of their workstation. The sensory judges are concerned with aspects like taste, crema, balance, and presentation etc. The baristas are required to serve each of the sensory judges an espresso, a cappuccino and a signature drink in a period of fifteen minutes. Now this amount of time may seem like a breeze – believe me, its not. It is a race against the clock and the main culprit is the signature drink. I was blown away by the creativity that went into these drinks. The rules are simple. It must contain at least four shots of espresso in total and a dominant taste of espresso must be present. Alcohol is not allowed but anything else goes, hot or cold. Ally Strachen whipped up a coffee shake with Dutch chocolate ice cream, homemade peanut butter and eucalyptus honey, naming it the ‘Dark Night.’ Michael Bou-Rjeily presented a beverage using chestnut infused cream and a cooling device that he designed and made himself. Joanne Berry blew the judges away with a Mexican hot chocolate that she presented in sugar glass cups and saucers. She went on to secure the prize for Best Signature Drink as well as the prize for Best Performance. Michael Bou-Rjeily won prizes for both the Best Espresso and Best Cappuccino while Dayne Larke took the prize for Best Technical.
The competition was well-organised and highly entertaining and all made possible through the sponsorship and volunteering of a host of coffee fans. Congrats to must be made to SCASA, the sponsors, the judges, the competitors and all those involved for a most professional and exciting competition. The next regional competition kicks off in Durbs in a week. Believe me, it is an event you don’t want to miss it.
Sponsors for this event included:
Nuova Simonelli: Morrico Import & Export, Detpak, Koldserve, Wimpy, Everpure, Sprada, Mast Marketing, Strictly Coffee, Origin, Truth, Red Cherry, Deluxe Coffeeworks, Rosetta Roastery, Ciro Coffee Academy, StilCoffee, Beanthere, Avanti, redberry, Colombo Coffee, Woolworths and Tribeca.