The Eastern Cape’s top baristas: Local baristas do well in local and national competitions
In July last year, the Specialty Coffee Association of Southern Africa (SCASA) held their Eastern Cape Regional Championships at the Homemakers EXPO at the Boardwalk Casino. The event proved that there were many talented up-and-coming baristas in our province.
“The standard of coffees and talent is increasing with each year and we are so incredibly proud of each barista that entered and braved the Local Barista Championship stage,” Angeline McLagan, Senior barista Trainer and Assessor for the Eastern Cape and Garden Route at the Ciro Coffee Academy, remarked then.
The competition saw a number of new entries with Seattle Coffee and the famous Mastertons, both being represented for the first time.
However, as Lennox Soul was unable to compete in the competition, Yibanathi, from the Radisson Blu, who was placed seventh in the provincial competition, went on to represent the Eastern Cape in his place.
In the 2014 SCASA National Barista Championship, which was held in Johannesburg, our baristas had proved that the Eastern Cape can hold its head high with Byron Keet, from Urban Espress Coffee Company, doing the best by coming tenth overall and also being awarded the Latte Art Champion.
Six top baristas later went on to represent the Eastern Cape at the SCASA National Barista Championships in Durban at the end of November. They were;
1. Donovan McLagan from Urban Espress Coffee Company, in Walmer, Port Elizabeth;
2. Garneth Jaggers from Mastertons, in Central, Port Elizabeth;
3. Sivuyile Jacobs from Kaffeine Espresso Bar, in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth;
4. Alex Mabaleka from Seattle Coffee, in Humewood, Port Elizabeth;
5. Eldricco Hansen also from Seattle Coffee, in Humewood, Port Elizabeth; and
6. Lennox Soul.
The top four and their categories:
• Best Espresso and Overall Impression: Donovan McLagan
• Best Technical: Garneth Jaggers
• Best Cappuccino: Sivuyile Jacobs
• Best Signature Drink: Alex Mabaleka
In 2015, the Eastern Cape carried forward the momentum to Durban. Although we did not register on the top 10 national baristas list, Byron Keet, now representing Famous Brands, and Donovan McLagan, from Urban Espress, both retained their titles as Latte Art Champion and Cup Tasters Champion respectively.
The competition was tough and McLagan and Jonothan Robinson, representing Bean There in Gauteng, both scored 6 out 8 in the Cup Tasters final, but McLagan won on a count-back because he had the faster time registered.
Keet narrowly edged out newcomer, Alhenrico Thomas, also from Famous Brands, but representing the Western Cape, in the Latte Art division, to take the title.
Both McLagan and Keet will now represent South Africa in Shanghai, China, at the World Events, starting on 29 March.
Photo caption: Our local PE Boys, Byron Keet, the 2015 National Latte Art Champ and Donovan McLagan the2015 National Cup Tasters Champ at the National Championships held in Durban.
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