The Bean Green Coffee Company, best coffee in South Africa

Battle of the Baristas

It seemed very relaxed as we walked in to the Factory. A meeting of friends, a couple of beers after work on an average Friday. If you looked closer though, there was tapping on the bottles, a little bit of nervous laughter and over-caffeinated chatter in expectation of the coming festivities.

The Glen(n)’s  from Blackwood Baristi Blog organised a Latte Art Barista Jam at Colombo Tea and Coffee Company’s Factory Cafe. The coffee culture in Durbs is growing all the time and events like this only fuel the growing interest in the chemistry and passion behind making the perfect cup. If we’re honest, latte art is the Barista’s way of showing off. And man,  do they know how to show off!

Although it may seem like a lot of hot milk, there really is a lot of skill involved in this process. The only way the barista can make something beautiful happen is complete composure under pressure, honing all their training and experience to produce at least one cup worthy of competition. Rich crema on your espresso is integral to ensure definition and contrast in your art. The milk has to be perfectly micro-textured so it can be manipulated by the wave of the wrist, creating a smooth, glossy canvas. Oh and did I mention a steady hand with 50 plus people watching?

The rules were simple. All the competitors used the same beans, provided by our hosts.  Everyone got 5 minutes to set their grind and mentally prepare themselves, then 5 minutes to produce art worthy of winning them the R500 pot and the respect of their peers.

The Bean Green was proud to have both Nkosi and Rory taking part. An overwhelming amount of support turned out for our boys. At one point Glen, MC for the night, announced something along the lines of, “Anyone who’s been shouted at by Peter Winter in the Bean Green, give us a cheer. “ It was the loudest cheer of the evening. That’s my dad, infamous J

It was a tight competition with all the coffee professionals showing us just how passion creates beauty. In the end, the best was saved for last, Sipho, entered as an independent barista pulled the rug out from under the rest with a beautiful three tiered Tulip. Who were his closest competition? Nkosi (a Rosetta and Tulip combo), Rory (boasting the only Swan design of the evening) and Travis(National Barista Champion 2011, no less). Bean Green domination 🙂

Yours in coffee and vinyl