blog humans of coffee

Humans of coffee: Seb Schneider

Who is Seb Schneider?

The son of Helmut and Veda Schneider, two exceptional folks to whom I owe most of my admirable traits. I currently live in Johannesburg. I’m a bit of a non-conformist at heart, lover of the outdoors, old school hip-hop, cheerful people, misfits and skateboarding. I’m also a family man, besotted with my beautiful wife and daughter. I fill most of my waking hours as the General Manager and Head of Brewing at Motherland Coffee Company.

What is your best childhood memory?

When I was around 6 years old my father was transferred to a position in Durban and our family relocated to that wonderful city. My carefree parents didn’t have a home lined up, so we lived in a hotel on the Durban North beachfront for a few months. No school, no obligations, I just went to the beach every day, skated up and down the promenade, and drank what I still know to be the world’s best chocolate milk made by our waiter David, who naturally became a good friend.

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If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

Lived nearer to the ocean.

What do you feel most proud of?

I would probably say it’s what we’ve built in Motherland. It’s taken years of passion, perseverance and grit, but this coffee company represents to me a commitment to the pursuit of something you love, regardless of obstacles in front of you.

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If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why?

A steel Faber Castell pencil case which is an heirloom from my Opa (grandfather), a lovely old Bible which is stuffed with priceless notes, photos and scribblings from my Grandmother, and probably as many pairs of sneakers that I could squeeze between my arms. It’s no secret that I love sneakers and footwear of all kinds.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

If I’m honest, I actually want my ashes to be flung into the sea. But, I’d like people to remember me as a man who lived from his heart, lived for his faith in Jesus, was bold and kind. (And wasn’t overly grumpy or prickly, a secret nemesis I fight on the daily.)

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What is Motherland Coffee?

Motherland believes in the quality and heritage of African coffee. Whether you’re grabbing something to go, or you’ve come to spend some time in our stores, we want to add an inspired coffee moment to your day. We serve a variety of coffee drinks using our exclusively African blends and single origins, and also offer light snacks & delicious treats baked in-store. We focus on the craft and art of coffee, our baristas enjoy nothing more than serving a truly excellent cup. If you’re popping in for a delicious fix, looking for some beans to take home, or are coming to spend some time in one of our cafés, we want you to Drink the Love we pour into every cup.

…Yes, I just pasted our press release.

What’s your favorite kind of coffee?

I love brewing in a Chemex, but currently start most days with an espresso and a cortado.

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In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?

Any Motherland Café in Jo’burg, but I often gravitate to our new location in Parktown North. A light and airy corner spot.

What does a perfect day look like?

As a morning person, I don’t mind being woken before sunrise by my beautiful 7 month old daughter, and then brewing coffee as she smiles and chit-chats to me in her own little language. I then rouse my non-morning-person wife with a bittersweet combo package of freshly brewed coffee and our little girl. I then stealthily back away, get ready and head off to work. I prefer days with less emails, admin and operations management, and more time behind the counter with my team of baristas and managers. I love the atmosphere in our cafes and interacting with our regulars, many of whom have supported us for years and are now more friend than customer. On the odd occasion I’ll leave while it’s still quite light, and meet friends to squeeze in a few skate runs down one of my local hills. These days don’t come by often, but the fact that they occasionally do makes me a blessed individual.

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