Dive deep into the world of South African specialty coffee. Get to know the businesses at the centre of the specialty coffee scene in SA, as well as the people behind them.
E14 - Des Wichmann from Mpenjati
In this episode, we are not only joined by our first coffee-farming guest, but also someone who is growing specialty coffee in South Africa! Des Wichmann is busting all kinds of preconceptions about coffee farming, successfully growing specialty lots at sea level in KZN on Mpenjati estate.
While there is a lot to learn about coffee farming in this episode, there may be even more lessons about entrepreneurship. Des has taught himself how to grow, pick, process, and even roast coffee, without a big community of coffee farmers around him. Listening to him talk about how he has experimented, rolled up his sleeves and just learned through experience is quite inspiring.
You may be able to find Mpenjati coffees to try at Cape Coffee Beans, at certain times. You can also learn more about Mpenjati on the company's website. You can even visit if you're in the area.
Unfortunately, we were not able to find the article written by Dylan Cummings that was mentioned in the episode.
Here is a link to the documentary about growing coffee in LA that was mentioned from Vice (Munchies).
Episode 13 - Winston Thomas & Leigh Wentzel from Cedar Coffee Roasters
In this episode of the Cape Coffee Beans Podcast, we are joined by Winston Thomas, South African Barista Champion and previous podcast guest. We are also joined by Leigh Wentzel, Winston's co-founder at Cedar Coffee Roasters. In this episode, we get to know both founders a little better and dive into the story of how Cedar got started.
Winston & Leigh explain their ambitions for Cedar, as well as how they plan to grow a slightly different, second-generation South African specialty coffee business. We touch on everything from their approach to coffee to their go-to-market strategy. It's a fascinating conversation both from an industry perspective and from the perspective of the consumer.
If you'd like to support Cedar by buying some of their coffee beans, you can find their full range available at Cape Coffee Beans.
You may also enjoy listening to the previous episode with Winston Thomas.
Episode 12 - About The Cup Of Excellence Coffee Competition
In this episode, Joel Singer, founder & owner of Origin Coffee Roasting is back to talk to us about a very special coffee from Ethiopia. Grown by Gemeda Elias Dube, this coffee won 19th place at the first annual Ethiopian Cup of Excellence competition. This episode isn't just about that coffee though; you'll learn about what the Cup of Excellence competition is, how coffees are selected, and why the CoE award is so important. We also talk quite a bit about what makes Ethiopian coffee so special.
If you'd like to try this coffee, and you're reading this or listening to the episode not longer after recording (in February 2021), you should go to the Origin Coffee Roasting HQ on Hudson Street in Cape Town, or buy a bag at Cape Coffee Beans.
You can also read more about the Cup of Excellence competition on their website, including specific information on this lot. You may also enjoy reading about the first Ethiopian CoE competition which took place during the COVID-19 lockdown at Barista Magazine Online!
Episode 11 - Rosetta Roastery 10th Anniversary Reserve: Hacienda La Esmeralda Geisha Natural
This episode is all about a very special coffee, from a very special estate, of a very special variety. For their 10th anniversary, Rosetta Roastery is celebrating with a Rosetta Reserve coffee release: a Hacienda La Esmeralda Geisha Natural. This is an incredibly unique coffee and an extremely rare tasting opportunity, not only from a South African perspective, but also on a global scale.
In this episode, Rob educates us about the Hacienda La Esmeralda estate, the Geisha variety and how they chose the particular lot that they brought in. Rob describes some of the history of this celebrated coffee, and what makes it so special. Whether you get to try this coffee or not, this is a good opportunity to learn more about some of the best coffee in the world.
You can buy a bag of this coffee here, but it will only be available for a limited time following the release of this episode.
Episode 10 - CCB Coffee Awards 2020
Find out what coffee makers, grinders, accessories & roasters are most popular with South African coffee lovers. In this episode I go through the CCB Coffee Awards 2020 and talk about why some of the winners are so popular with our customers. I also talk about some of the runners up and products that didn't quite make it but are well worth a look.
You can listen to this episode on its own to find out what items were most popular at Cape Coffee Beans in 2020, but you may also enjoy reading the accompanying blog post. If you want to learn more about any of the specific products, you'll find links to all of them included in the post.
Episode 9 - Winston Thomas - 3 Time South African Barista Champion
In this episode of the Cape Coffee Beans Podcast, I speak with Winston Thomas, 3 time South African Barista Champion (at the time of recording) and arguably the best known barista in the South African specialty coffee scene.
Winston has an amazing story to tell. He went from knowing little about specialty coffee to being crowned best barista in the country three times in just a few years, through incredible hard work, passion and dedication. He shares his story, as well as some interesting perspectives and tips for both home brewers and professional baristas. He also shares his thoughts on where the industry is going.
You can find Winston on Instagram. You can also support him by using his affiliate link when shopping at Cape Coffee Beans.
We need more!
It’s been about 7-8 months since discovering the rabbit hole that is Specialty Coffee, and after running out of James Hoffmann videos a while back, I didn’t know where to go to learn something new in an industry which seemingly has infinite things to teach you. As a relatively new and young coffee hobbyist, I sometimes feel a bit intimidated to explore and ask questions.
I was thus left with tons of unanswered questions. Yes, I knew how to dial in my espresso. Yes, I knew how to brew a wide range of brewing methods and I certainly knew how to distinguish a good cup from a bad one. But eventually the information started to dry up and my only real source of info became my local Barista, or the recycled content on YouTube of equipment reviews and brew techniques.
Then I stumbled upon Phaedon’s podcast.
Immediately I’m excited right from the very beginning. You showcased that coffee is much more than the drink, it’s more than the gear and it’s more than the recipes. As hobbyists we tend to be attracted to the shiny equipment and how we could expand our brew bar, but you are able to highlight the industry in a way where you cover the whole entire process- from the cherry itself, to the roasting process, to the cup I drink each morning. Now each of the different Roasters featured on CCB has a personality for the listener, and I no longer just see them as specialty coffees in different packaging and at different price points. I was able to relate to each roaster and compare where I am right now in having to start thinking of a career and where they were when they had to dive into the coffee market in SA. I’m able to see the different founders’ views and goals when I drink their coffees instead of just the tasting notes.
You definitely helped me zoom out and view the industry with a much less narrow outlook, and suddenly I’m thinking that maybe I can turn this hobby into my own business one day if life turns out that way.
Thanks for exposing us to hours of invaluable information and thanks to each of the guests on the podcast for putting your knowledge out there.
I think I binged all the episodes available right now in about 3 days, so I’m definitely waiting eagerly for more to come. And also thanks Phaedon for being patient and replying to all my instagram messages whenever I’m curious about a certain coffee.
If you’ve read this review all the way to here- what are you doing? Go and listen to the podcast for crying out loud!
Hi Phaedon, I’ve been listening to your podcast and I have to say that it really is a fantastic idea and really enjoyable to listen to if you are a coffee lover or in the industry. Really great idea launching this during lockdown to get some insight as to how some the specialty guys are doing out there - well done!
A really good glance at the SA coffee industry and it’s history.
Well produced and interviewed. Well done team, very impressed.