Month: January 2017

How to make your coffeeshop a catalyst for change

“Learn to make coffee, make coffee, chat, drink coffee, chat, change the world.” That pretty much sums up what it’s like to be a Green Bean at Vintage Coffee. But it is so much more that! Green Beans are an important part of who we are and what we do at Vintage. Vintage Coffee is driven by a simple, yet radical mission: to add value to our city one cup of quality coffee at a time. We actively do this by, firstly, giving a portion of our profits to different non-profit organisations every month and, secondly, by supporting four orphans by means of an established trust fund. Vintage Coffee started because we saw a need in our community and wanted our business to be a catalyst for change.  Consequently, we are a for-profit business that benefits non-profit organisations in and around our city. Vintage Coffee has found a way to give back to the community in the hopes that the profit donated will add value to the non-profit organisations, which will, in turn, add value …

Here’s why your next holiday needs to be to Vietnam

Viet Nam, a diverse Southeast Asian country bordering Cambodia, Laos, and China, has a lot to offer to a curious traveler, with the sprawling Mekong River Delta and non-stop rhythm of Saigon in the South, relaxed rural pace of Hoi An in the country’s center, and the stunning landscapes surrounding the capital, Hanoi, in the North. Charting a course from the South to the North, let’s embark on an in-depth exploration of this fascinating country, with stops below serving as guideposts to your own journey. South Vietnam: The energy, youth, and future of Viet Nam is here, in Saigon (officially known as Ho Chi Minh City). So is the foreign investment, the startups, and the momentum. The city is on fire and does not stop; there are more motorbikes than people in this metropolitan of more than 8 million – cross the roads at your own risk! The city is divided into 24 districts. Most visitors stay in Districts 1 and 2, but a more authentic experience awaits outside of this overdeveloped, backpacker-friendly scene. Districts …

How does a barista champion brew an Aeropress?

Ishan Natalie has been a friend of @manmakecoffee for a while now. He is a 3 time South Africa Barista Champion, a 2 time Africa Barista Champion, the South Africa Aeropress Champion 2012 & a Humans of Coffee alumnus. And this is his Aeropress recipe. Coffee: Ozone Coffee‘s Burundi, Munyinya Hill by Long Miles Coffee Method: inverted Grind: medium Coffee weight: 15g Water weight: 220g Pre-infusion: 50g water, 35 seconds Action: swirl, fill water to 220g Action: place cap, release air pocket & flip Action: press & extract Result: juicy, bright, sweet & fruity Enjoy! For more, follow Ishan on Instagram at @dodgybarista. The cover image of Ishan competing at the World Barista Championship in Seattle was taken by Pavel Zhdanov.

How I spent 48 hours in Edinburgh

After 2 caffeinated days in London it was time for the next half of our 5 year wedding anniversary celebration: Edinburgh. Virgin Trains took us along the scenic route. Free wifi came in handy for the parts that weren’t so scenic. Four hours later we arrived in one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. We Uber’d the 10 minutes to our hotel. Booking.com came through for us on this one. The welcome was warm. The check-in swift. The room luxurious. More about this hotel in another blog post. As was the case in London, and for the same reason, I only visited 4 speciality coffee shops in my 2 days in Edinburgh. Here’s how I spent my time… Brew Lab Fortitude Coffee Steampunk Coffee Roasters Filament Coffee My thoughts overall There’s a caption I normally add to my photos on my Instagram page when I run out of witty banter. “Coffee spaces are my favorite kind”. Edinburgh didn’t disappoint. Exposed brick. Herringbone floors. Friendly faces. Excellent coffee. My top tips For some …

How I went from zero to 100,000 Instagram followers in one year

The growth of my instagram account surprised me. I certainly didn’t set out for it to grow at big as it did. And I certainly am surprised it continues to grow at the pace that it does. I’m going to try to capture why I think that is. Community These aren’t all my own photographs. If they were all my own, I know my following would not be the size it is today. Because the fact is, I’m just not as good a photographer as most of my community. Eye The irony does not escape me here. I have an eye for a good photograph but I don’t always take the best shots. Regardless, I still know a good shot when I see one. Respect I don’t alter the photos I repost in any way. I may have an opinion on how to improve a photo with an edit of some sort (or I may not, given the previous point). But I don’t touch them. It’s a sign of respect to the photographer. Credit I’ve seen …

How I spent 48 hours in London

When I first visited London I had just broken up with my girlfriend. I was heartbroken. Depressed. Miserable. Much like the weather. This time, however, I was there with my wife. The trip was part of our fifth wedding anniversary celebration. And it was perfect. Like her. As usual, I checked out Travelstart for the best price. And as usual, Ethiopian Airlines had the best price. I found the hotel at Booking.com. Although, this time I wish I used Airbnb. More about that crap hotel in another blog post. Anyway, back to how I did London. I did coffee. Are you surprised? I visited only 4 spots in 2 days. I’m a proponent of the “too much of a good thing is bad” theory. Although I forget that regularly with sushi. Or Haagan Dazs. Or Krispy Kreme. I digress. Here’s a little photo essay that’ll give you a taste of where I went. Kaffeine Monmouth Coffee Company, Covent Garden Monocole Café Prufrock Coffee Monmouth Coffee Company, Borough Market My thoughts overall I loved each shop. …

The Midlands has a new coffee hotspot

The part of my ongoing education in coffee which I am enjoying the most is the discovery. Discovering new coffees, new perspectives and new coffee shops. And after I saw  photographer and designer Julie Patrick‘s lovely photo essay, one spot that’s made in onto my bucket list is Ground Coffee House in Hilton, KZN. Here’s a sample of the photographs that inspired me to add it to my 2017 list of coffee places to see. To see more, go to her blog post on this new hotspot in Hilton.

What is Speciality Coffee?

To this question, one cannot merely state what it is, but rather comment on what their individual perspective is to this illusive question. This question was recently asked by good friend and special friend of the coffee community, Ben Carlson, during a gathering and presentation on the work he and his family are doing in Burundi to share these amazing coffees with the world. Of course, the initial discussion around this question was surrounded around the grading aspect of the delicious and wonderful cherry and bean. Beans are graded due to the uniformity of size, shape, colour, density, and defects/ taints. But I don’t believe in this being the sole definition of what ‘speciality’ is. I refer back to my 2015 World Barista Championship presentation. I pushed back on who defines what is speciality, and how it’s decided. For me, to an extent, I don’t believe that only a buyer/ ‘green bean grader’ can solely define that. I went to the WBC with a coffee from Adam Overton, of Gesha Village Coffee Estate in Ethiopia. …