From 21 – 24 February at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre just outside Durban, there are going to be some serious java skills on display, as country’s top coffee companies and individual baristas gathering to battle it out for leading honours in this year’s Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa’s National Coffee Competition.
That said, Wiesenhof Coffee Roastery is getting ready to impress with two of its leading coffee experts competing for the crown of the country’s best barista!
Wiesenhof roasts and supplies coffee products and coffee equipment used within the Wiesenhof and Dulcé Café franchise groups as well as various independent hospitality outlets, including small coffee shops, corporate offices, retail outlets and large organisations across South Africa.
The two Wiesenhof “gurus” who have qualified for and are competing in the National Barista Competition are Raymond “Ray” Roesstorff, Regional Operations Advisor for the Wiesenhof and Dulcé groups in Durban and the Eastern Cape and Khulekani “Khule” Mpala, the groups’ National Beverage Specialist.
Ray’s coffee journey began when he joined Dulcé Café in 2004 as a general manager.
“I had the basics for making coffee but didn’t really love it back then,” he says. “As the industry grew and the public became more knowledgeable about coffee, I had to grow too and started to educate myself on the art of making a great cuppa, practising on the machines that were available to me in the café.”
Khule’s journey to the Nationals couldn’t be more different. Originally from Zimbabwe, this 44-year-old father of three came to South Africa in 2006 in search of a new life away from the political strife in his mother country. He came with a marketing qualification, his wife Norma, their three children and very little else.
“My first job here was as a security guard,” he says. “It didn’t exactly fuel my passion, but I needed to feed my family so kept my head down and worked hard. I was laid off after only a year but ended up working in a restaurant in Midstream, as a scullery hand in the kitchen,” he adds.
He entered the Barista Championships in 2011 and again in 2016 when he won the Gauteng Regional Championships. In 2017 he came third in the Nationals and won the award for the best technical barista. Last year he was placed 6th in the Nationals and joined Wiesenhof.
Good Luck to both Ray and Khule – you got this!