Humans of coffee: Dylan Botha

Who is Dylan Botha?

This is probably the hardest question to answer. At 31 years of age I am yet to discover who I am. Each day is an exploration and learning experience of who I currently am. I can, however, tell you that I am a recovering addict with 18 months of sobriety behind me and a lifetime ahead of me. But I do not let this define me in the man I am & strive to be. 

I am a Durban boy through & through, although I did live in Cape Town for a year or so. I now live in a one bedroom apartment on Florida Road with my wife & 3 cats. We are not wealthy in money but rich in community – our home is almost always full with family and/or friends. I am very dedicated to my work so when at home I cherish the time I have with my close community of people.

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What is your best childhood memory?

I have many fond childhood memories. But if I had to pick one it would be one of time spent with my father while he worked.

When I was a child he owned a wholesale meat supply company, supplying a few of the restaurants in the area and I would accompany him on his deliveries. My first & fondest memories of a restaurant were through the back door of the kitchen. From that time I think it was forever ingrained in me that I would be in the hospitality industry. Although I must admit my path along the way between then & now did see many a different career “hiccups”, if you will.

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

Other than a few bad tattoo choices, I wouldn’t change much. A lot of who I am today is because of the choices I’ve made. Good & bad, it has all been as it was meant to be.

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What do you feel most proud of?

The day I married my amazing wife Shannon Botha is hands down one of the proudest days of my life.

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

  1. A pair of my Vans – it’s rare that you’ll find me barefoot. I’m weird that way.
  2. My phone – I’m way too attached to that thing. I think I may have a problem.
  3. My wedding ring – this needs no explanation.

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What do you want your tombstone to say?

I have a stupid irrational fear of waking up and realizing I’ve been buried alive underground. So I will be cremated. And on my urn it will say:

Recommended brewing method – Dose, 16g…

What is Noble Coffee?

Noble is a passion project, one that has evolved many a times & continues to evolve. It was born from the inspiration of an Espresso bar in Australia called Bunker Coffee. The drive behind Noble has always been COFFEE, COMMUNITY & LIFESTYLE. Community has been the back bone of this brand & it has afforded me opportunity to meet the most amazing people.

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What’s your favorite kind of coffee, brew method or coffee origin?

I am a sucker for a good Burundi from Long Miles & I enjoy my coffee in just about every method. In the mornings (at home) I’ll brew a French Press for myself & my wife. At work it’s normally a Flat White or Pour Over. When out at a café a Cortado.

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

2018 has been a manic year & with that I was afforded the opportunity to open a new café (Prodigy Coffee) in Umhlanga (Durban) with my good friends Craig & Kristi Smith from Ground Coffee House in Hilton. You can find me here most days. If I’m out & about we will probably cross paths at Love Coffee (Florida Road) or Skyline (Gordon Road).

What does a perfect day look like?

I am fanatic about our beautiful country. A day traveling, exploring & camping with friends, family and, of course, coffee is just about as good as it gets for me.

Photography by Shannon Botha

Humans of coffee: Panos Chasapis

Who is  Panos  Chasapis?

He is a storyteller. He likes to tell stories (mainly fantastic).

He was born in Greece, lived in Switzerland for several years and today he writes you from Amsterdam where he lives.

He teaches his students to be in good contact with their feelings and to express themselves through painting, singing, playing, talking clearly and without shame.

Sometimes he fantasizes being «super Rufus» who eliminates fascism and drugs from the world by replacing fascists & drug dealers with manilas and coffee trees. Oh, what a beautiful world!

What is your favorite childhood memory?

For no bizarre reason, all my beautiful childhood memories are connected mainly with fragrances and plants. I remember every detail of the following scene.

I am hardly 9 years old.

It is summer, midday, just outside Nafplio (the most beautiful city in Greece!). The sea is dark blue and very rough… the wind blows hard and there is a scent of salt and reeds. My godfather has already made his famous American coffee and we have it along with some orange cake, together. We are on the veranda of his house away from the other adults. It’s the day my father’s summer holiday will officially begin. We expect him to come. He used to work a lot and he rarely spent his holidays with us. I stared at the iron gates looking out for his car to appear. My godfather poured coffee into our white cups and his pipe smoke mixed with the coffee smell. I loved his tobacco smell especially when it was fresh and wet inside his leather brown pouch and the words COLUMBUS  OHIO USA written on it. This pouch triggered my first interest in visiting America. I still remember my father’s grey Mercedes Benz… a model of 68, with brown leather seats and a gear lever on the steering wheel… going up the dusty garden road and stopping under the orange trees. I remember running to hug him. I remember him stretching/opening his arms and calling my name. His embrace always smelt basil. Because he always cut a small sprout of basil  from a pot near him and put it in his shirt pocket. That basil scent that came  from my father’s hug… the smell of the coffee and the smoke from my godfather’s pipe… and the smell of the sea at noon… Is everything that later defined my adult life, I guess… and my relationship with coffee.

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If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

I would like not to have daydreamed all the time, but to have acted more. I would like to have stopped thinking about dreams and targets and started planning and executing without fear and laziness. Immediately. Do you think it’s not too late for me to change?

What do you feel most proud of?

For many years I didn’t know what “being proud of something” meant. I had given this phrase a very selfish dimension and I avoided it. Today, I enjoy the notion of “self-centered” without any personal complex, I dare say that I am proud  of starting  psychotherapy eleven years ago and giving myself the opportunity of knowing me, understanding me, and probably accepting  me. Yes. I think I can flaunt it. Without this therapy I would never have learnt to love me. Therefore, I am proud of being able to love and hug.

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

Very spontaneously: my half marathon sport shoes because I love good food and I have to burn it, the “little life” by Hanya Yanagihara  (a hymn to friendship and love)  and my camera to photograph coffees , flowers… and little birds.

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What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker… Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way ” (lyrics from my favorite “Moon River” Music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Johnny Mercer) Yes I know… I am so retro…

What is @rufus_airlines?

@rufus_airlines & rufusailines.com (blog under construction) is a meeting platform. A place where photographers & poets , florists & musicians, experts of coffee and sweets, writers & instagrammers,  politicians & models we will meet. It is a dream which will take time work and patience to become true . A small globe which will host small birds searching for a shelter of inspiration and creativity.

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

When I’m home I prefer an Americano (new addiction: beans from Nicaragua, region Nueva Segovia) while definitely a cortado or espresso is always the best solution when I meet my friends in town. One day I want to learn to drink my coffee like the Italians: nattily, delightfully and with gratitude.

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Image by Maria Kennedy

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

In Buvette, in New York, with my latte… and waffle sunny-side egg, bacon & gruyère and an imaginary conversation with my favorite New Yorkers: Woody Allen, Francoise Mouly and Sarah Jessica Parker.

In my favorite Fragments in Paris with a cappuccino , a luscious iced lemon cake & the first insta story of the day.

In the Scandinavian Embassy in Amsterdam, 3 minutes’ walk from my place, with filter coffee and a porridge and all my  instagram birds around .

What does a perfect day look like?

I believe that every day could be perfect… but the following one would be magical: In Serifos island in Greece, one day in September, at 7 in the morning. A double Greek coffee, with milk and honey, on a marble table, at a balcony overlooking the Aegean sea. I am tasting the first sip of the coffee. On the radio, the voice of Meryl Streep announces that President Trump has resigned and has decided to move to Mexico and become a barista. Marine Le Pen leaves Paris and opens a café in her beloved Algeria. President Putin opens a gay bar with drag shows called “the rosy babushka”, in Chechnya, while the Jihadists color their own beards gold and decide to rebuild Aleppo in Syria right from the start, in order to make it the cultural capital of the planet. John Lennon and Chet Baker smiles happily at me from the nearby balcony. It is an incredible, unbelievable day!

How to design a café

You’ve seen me comment countless times on my instagram posts that “coffee spaces are my favourite kind”. And they really are. I’ve often wondered what goes into designing a coffee space. So I asked an architect. Here’s what Ledda Russo Architects had to say about how they went about creating the space that is Salotto Cafe in Sassari, Italy:

The project is the result of reading the existing context. The main action was to reinterpret, respecting the character, an important Liberty interior, located in the main square of the city of Sassari. The main element of the new project is the bar, located at the end of the room, defining a scenery where the bartender and his activity take on a central role. The supporting plane of the bar is made in matt Orosei marble. The “bar facade” is made up of a series of wooden panels realised with the new 3d printing technology, in which there are different shades and where three-dimensional geometries overlap. The back of the counter, there is a dark grey steel bottle holder, which through the alternation of horizontal and vertical elements, this “architecture” defines the final appearance of the bar. The remaining elements inside the room are a succession of handmade furnishing pieces , combined in complete harmony with each other.

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Photography by Barbara Pau

Humans of coffee: Aga Bukowska

Who is Aga Bukowska?

A girl who wants to squeeze the most out of life. Who loves talking with passionate people, drinking coffee and taking pictures. Who thinks that there is no other way of doing things than doing them at 100%. Professionally, I am Expansion Supervisor at Coffeedesk, which is the leading coffee & coffee accessories distributor in Central/Eastern Europe. I am responsible for finding new spots, negotiating deals, operational synergy and marketing activities of our coffee shops. After 7 years of working in advertising agencies, I said to myself that I love everything about coffee community and I want to be a part of it full-time. As I’m the kind of person who can’t half-commit, here I am.

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What is your favorite childhood memory?

As a child I used to spend all of my holidays at my grandparents farm. I remember waking up at 5 to a cup of cocoa my grandfather just made with freshly squeezed milk. Then going to a fair at the nearest city to sell wheat and oat from the fresh harvest and then buying some ice cream on our way back. I remember getting home, my grandmother greeting me with a kiss and asking what I would like to eat. I used to ask for fennel soup and we were going together to their field to fetch fennel, carrot, and a few potatoes to make dinner. Then we were picking up horses from the pasture and sometimes my grandfather used to let me ride them. Then I was going to bed and there were kittens sneaking on my pillow.

I think that this kind of small farm do not even exist in Poland anymore! I am smiling when I am thinking about it right now and I am so grateful that back in time, childhood was not so sterile and people were not overprotective about kids doing kids things. I am not judging them because I may also be this kind of parent one day, I am just happy that me, and my dearest little sister had this kind of experience.

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If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

I believe that you always regret things that you did not do in your life rather than those you did. I once saw a great quote, on GIRLS TV series, that stated ‘I am very je ne regrette rien’y about it’ and I told myself that I would love to apply this and be very je ne regrette rieny about my life. I stopped making lists of things that I would like to do, I simply try to grab any opportunity that reveals it self.

What do you feel most proud of?

I am proud of having the courage to quit corporate 9-5 job, switch careers and starting everything from the very beginning to pursue my passion.

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If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

First of all, my camera. Right now I see life through frames, I look at the world around me and I see pictures. I am a total amateur in this area but I just love this feeling of capturing the moment and it would be hard for me to resign from it. Second thing, a Kindle reader. I am addicted to reading, I’ve been reading at least one book a week and I can’t imagine giving it up. Last, but not least, my beloved Moleskine notebook to write up my memories and thoughts.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

I don’t want to have a tombstone, I would like to be cremated. I don’t like the idea of taking away the space from the living. Neither do I want to even think about being eaten by worms! But if I had to leave people with one sentence, I would go with something funny, I once saw a tombstone with a signature cake recipe, that’s a heritage!

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What is Coffee Spots Polska?

@coffeespotspolska a project that was born out of passion to coffeeshops visiting. With Krzysiek, the owner of @storcafe in Warsaw and the author of Warsaw Coffee Guide from last year, we are working on a guide of all Polish specialty coffee spots. The idea behind it is not only to describe great coffee shops, but also to let people know what specialty coffee is, where it comes from and also to show its origins and history in Poland. We are meeting with passionate people who were the founders of coffee scene in Poland to describe it well and every day we are learning something new. We are visiting all the cafes that serve specialty coffee and alternative methods. Surprisingly, the scale of it is enormous, we have more than 100 spots in 25 cities on our list, so we are travelling a lot, talking with people, drinking coffee, taking pictures and videos, writing. I do not have any spare minute until July, when we plan on publishing, but I love it.

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What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I am a great fan of naturals. My favourite coffee is fruity and winey. My friends who are coffee professionals, are always making fun of me, for them this kind of beans as too obvious or even overfermented. But I am not pretending to be a Q-grader or a cup taster and I think that the best coffee is always the one you like. For example, I couldn’t get enough of @gardellicoffees Uganda Mzungu or @lacabracoffee Brazil Jaci. Regarding the method, I definitely prefer pourover to espresso and I find v60 the most consistent method so I use it most of the time.

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

I have two favourites in Warsaw, where I spend most of my time. One is @kawiarniacoffeedesk, where both team spirit is amazing and coffee beans range is one of the widest in Poland. Second one is @storcafe, situated in one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Warsaw, I love its interior, its jungle of plants and their amazing cake selection (with cashew cheesecake on the top of the list).

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What does a perfect day look like?

I wake up early in the morning, I drink a glass of lemon & ginger water and I do my yoga sequence at open air watching the sunrise. I make pancakes for breakfast and eat them with fresh fruit. I kiss my husband and we laugh at our cat together. I ride my bike, I drink coffee, I talk with people who love what they do, I read books & poetry. I cook a dinner for my friends and we eat in the garden.

Humans of coffee: Reg Barber

Who is Reg Barber?

Reg is an artist who ended up designing and manufacturing coffee tampers.

What is your favourite childhood memory?

Walking alone in the snow on our ranch when I was very young. I pretended that the field was an ocean covered in ice and I was flying my airplane over it.

If you could have a do-over in your life, what would it be?

I have always longed for my own coffee shop, which is what I was working on when I began making coffee tampers. Another do-over would have been the ability to have patented my coffee tampers.

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Image supplied by Reg

What do you feel most proud of?

Designing and making the World Championship trophies.

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

  1. My camera: I love taking photos.
  2. My gun: being from a ranch in southern British Columbia I began hunting for for food (deer) on horseback at an early age with my Mom who has just had her 100thbirthday and is good health. I have never missed a hunting season.
  3. My Polaris General 1000 side by side for exploring.

 What do you want on your tombstone?

I’ve been there and I got the T-shirt.

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Image by the Cutthroat Journal

What is your passion project?

I have always wanted to start a barista school for Native Americans. I am a Native Indian (Okanagan) and I would like my people to know what a rewarding career the coffee industry can be.

What is your favorite coffee?

The most memorable coffee I’ve had was in Australia when Rob and Anna McGregor of Coffee Lab in New Zealand came to visit Sean Edwards and I in Port MacQuarrie, Australia. Sean is the owner of Café Culture magazine and Golden Bean of Australia and North America. Rob and Anna brought with them coffee for a pour over. It was an Ethiopian Konga Sedie. Delicious.

What’s your favourite coffee shop?

In Penticton, BC there are no coffee shops where you will find me. During my time in Victoria I would hang out at the original Discovery Coffee and Roastery on Discovery Street.

What does your perfect day look like?

Getting up at 5 AM and having a full day of making tampers and being very tired but satisfied at the end of the day.

Humans of coffee: Wira Handaya

Who is Wira Handaya?

A creative coffee enthusiast. Started with passion for video taking, cinematography to be exact. Back in the old days, coffee was only a drink that helps me stay awake for the day, and I started getting inspiration from taking and playing around with coffee photos I took.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

I would probably say that is the feeling when I see my son. When the world still feel safe and carefree. I would careless about what I should do for fun, because everything I see, feel and touch still is new and fresh.

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If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

Life is perfectly imperfect. I wouldn’t change anything because everything builds who I am today.

What do you feel most proud of?

Simpelfideo. I have come a long way with many obstacles taking coffee photography but I still managed to build this name all through self learning and experimenting.

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If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

My heart, my love and my soul. haha

What do you want your tombstone to say?

God bless the world. HAHAHAHA

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What is simpelfideo?

Food photography that is simple yet creative that can sell and make money to support my journey on becoming a greater photographer 🙂

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

Black, simple and strong.

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

It hard, because I live in Indonesia. But if you ever likely to come, contact me and I will be there.

What does a perfect day look like?

I would start with a cup of warm and tasty coffee, and enjoy the rest of my day chilling by the beach with my lovely family, having bottomless coffee to always keep me calm and awake.

Humans of coffee: Sara Zuluaga Parodi

Who is Sara Zuluaga Parodi?

I was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia in a coffee grower’s family. From a very young age coffee has been part of my life. Growing up in the very heart of the coffee production in Colombia has allowed me to experience and learn about the whole process from within. I will say I’m a business woman of many many hats because I love the coffee world, I’m passionate about traveling and I’m a certified yoga instructor.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Spending time in the countryside of Colombia was definitely an amazing experience, from riding horses, bikes, climbing all kind of trees to swimming in rivers. I feel very privileged for being able to enjoy my exuberant country since I was a kid.

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Photography by Martin Nabert

If you could have a do-over in life, what would you do differently?

Nothing at all. I feel proud of who I am and I believe that all the experiences that we have in life are the result of who we become.

What do you feel most proud of?

Last year I did an amazing 6-month trip around the world where I visited 16 countries. I saw the cherry blossom season in Japan, one of the most incredible and amazing things I’ve experienced in my life. I also volunteered at a kindergarten in Vietnam, lived in a remote island in Thailand, indulged in “La vie en rose” in France, pigged out in Italy, almost froze to death in the UK… I saw the world with different eyes and that made me realize how amazing life is, how beautiful people can be and how happy you can be with just a little. Furthermore, I learned that you set your own limits and that you can do everything you wish for.

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Photography by Martin Nabert

If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

  1. Passport: As traveling is one of my passions, this is my access to key to different worlds.
  2. Camera: So I can keep memories of all the places I get to see.
  3. Chemex:  Because it’s my favorite Brewing method, of course.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Don’t look for love, look for coffee hahaha.

What is “Women of Coffee”?

I’m working on a project that empowers women of coffee to be independent and reach for bigger and better opportunities through education and the support of different entities.

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I love Ethiopian Yirgacheffe! That clean taste and bright acidity with complex floral and citrusy notes is definitely my favorite… And if it’s Chemex brewed, then it’s perfection.

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Photography by Benedict Kraus

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

Algarabia: They have a social project with coffee being produced in what used to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods Medellin. It’s of very good quality.

La Cafeteca: Owned by one of my coffee masters, they have the best coffee in town and also an amazing variety of naturals and honeys from Antioquia.

Café de Amalia: Located in downtown Medellin, a nice cozy spot to enjoy different profiles in a different area of the city.

What does a perfect day look like?

First, a cup of natural coffee on Chemex from my coffee farm, then some yoga to wake up followed by a round of banana pancakes with honey and more coffee. Afterwards, bike ride to ease the digestion and make room for lunch with family and friends. Then, maybe a little nap on my hammock, spend time with my dog and enjoy the sunset at my coffee farm on the top of the mountains. I’d probably wrap it up with a delicious dinner, a book and  some wine.

Cover image by Benedict Kraus