What do you do when your body doesn’t agree with coffee?

Coffee is a peculiar thing.

Some love it, some hate it. Some start their day with it, others can’t make it through a day without it. 

It can be cheap and incredibly unpleasant or it could be made in a way that resembles art. 

For some it is all about the brewing method, for others it is all about the ratio between milk and espresso. No matter what your relationship with coffee is, how and when you drink it, what roast, whether it is organic or fair trade — we all have one thing in common when we sip away on that cup. It’s the intake of caffeine. 

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I am no coffee connoisseur, but I would say that I certainly know a good coffee from a bad one and I prefer to have good ones (to be precise, a flat white, medium roast, organic if possible, no sugar).

When my options aren’t good, I opt out instead and when my options are good, I’ll walk an extra mile for it. I love coffee for the taste, the ritual of making it and how it simply bring people together. 

I don’t drink coffee to fuel me, neither do I drink coffee for a certain image (yes, some people drink coffee for public perception) and definitely don’t drink it to keep me awake, because I love good sleep way too much. 

The unfortunate thing is, as much as I love coffee — my body (or more specifically my endocrine system) don’t like or tolerate it at all. 

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Women metabolise caffeine differently than men — and certain women, like me, are even slower at breaking down caffeine due to their genetic make up. 

The result? A liver that needs to work much harder than its capacity that gets ‘behind schedule’ with all its other duties. Like detoxing the rest of your body from the gazillion toxins that we are exposed to daily, without even knowing.

Have you ever experienced a backlog of work? Well, that was my liver. Constantly in arrears with metabolising caffeine and unable to do its daily chores to keep me well.

In January 2017 I finally connected these dots about coffee and my hormonal imbalance, better known as PCOS. I asked for help from a friend who also happens to be a holistic health coach (with a history of PCOS) and she confirmed my concern. I knew there is only one way to find out — to go cold turkey on my coffee habit and see if my suspicion holds truth. 

What followed mesmerised me.

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After 10 years of having irregular menstrual cycles (sometimes once in 6 months), my cycle started to regulate. Not perfectly, because caffeine isn’t the only false instrument in this mystical hormone symphony, but without a doubt I could see significant change. 

Not only did my cycles love me for it, but my afternoon anxiety disappeared all of a sudden. 

After more than 6 months of not touching a coffee, I tried one again and felt so disorientated that I actually called off my work and meetings that day. It wasn’t a good sight, or a good feeling. Clearly, the impact was real. 

Now don’t get me wrong here, I still love coffee and I really do have my days where I wish my genetics away, but in order to flourish and feel well, I have to carefully consider when and how I expose my body to caffeine. 

It really helped me to understand the science behind it, and I personally find a lot of wisdom from Alisa Vitti, founder of Flo Living. She even goes as far as to say that (all) women shouldn’t be drinking coffee at all. 

You can’t unlearn what you learn, and for me, my truth is that caffeine doesn’t serve my wellbeing, whether I like it or not. 

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Do I still sneak in a coffee now and again? I do. I am currently trying to figure out if there is a way to still have a coffee here and there without setting off a domino effect on my hormones. Do I want to be completely coffee-free? Yes, I do – because I know I feel my best without it. But the struggle is real, because once you’ve fallen in love with a good cup of coffee, it is hard to fall out if it again. 

On a final note —

Currently I only treat myself with a cup over the weekend and if I happen to be going to the mother city, my latest favourite is the newly opened Pauline’s in Sea Point. For those of you who can have coffee, please do yourself a favour and go have one on me. 

Feel free to get in touch with me if you find yourself in a similar situation. I know it can be a frowned upon conversation to have, but that is exactly why I open up about it — so that other women can see the light before they hit the caffeine tunnel.

This post was contributed by Marize Albertyn, founder of sheisvisual, a creative studio that tells visual & tactile stories through design & thoughtful curation. She also has one of the most beautiful instagram pages in the world. All photography in this post by Marize.

Humans of coffee: Kyle Wade Sheppard

Who is Kyle Wade Sheppard?

In a nutshell, I’m a husband, Jesus follower, professional photographer and coffee enthusiast, so basically your average Instagram hipster haha. I’m a big picture oriented dreamer with an excessive amount of energy and I’m frequently stoked about a great many things. Professionally, I travel and shoot weddings with my wife (Kyle Loves Tori Photography) which is a crazy awesome gig, I couldn’t be happier with it! When I’m not traveling, I manage social media and content creation for local businesses in St. George, UT, where we live currently. Though I live in Utah, I’m a native born Coloradan at heart, and I’m very proud of my home state.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

My dad bought a digital SLR sometime when I was in late elementary school/middle school. He would take pictures through out the week at the summer camp my family ran. Sometime in high school, I remember my mom telling me that he, referencing my dad, had a special eye for it. I don’t know why that moment lodged so firmly in my memory, but I remember latching on to that and wanting to be like him and have that same “eye.” I could write a bunch of these little stories about watching my dad as I grew up and how many small things he did impacted me and made me the person I am and strive to be.

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Photographer: Alyssa Ence

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

Honestly, I really love where my life is. A lot of mistakes that I made and paths I chose that I’m not proud of still led me to where I am, so in the large scheme of things, I wouldn’t change anything.

That being said, I would change my attitude and learn some lessons earlier. Namely, I would take a hold of the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well and embracing a willingness to be inconvenienced. Even though I’ve been taught those ideals for a long time, I didn’t let them sink in until the last couple of years and if I had taken them to heart earlier I think I could have grown more and left a bigger impact on the people I interacted with.

What do you feel most proud of?

Right now? The growth of my business. I left my job managing a local coffee shop earlier this year to go full time with photography, a goal I’ve been working towards for almost 4 years now. The business is growing more than I thought possible and I’m incredibly stoked to reap the benefits of all that hard work. It’s a huge blessing

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Photographer: Tyler Rye

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

Man that’s a hard question. I tend to more practical rather than sentimental when it comes to possessions, so I would probably say my computer, my main camera (I’m going to include a lens on there too, so that might be cheating), and my phone. I can pretty much do everything I need to with those three items.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Whatever he did, he did well. Whoever he loved, he loved dearly.”

What is The Handsome Wade coffee blog?

When I officially left the coffee industry to go full time as a photographer, I knew I’d want some sort of outlet for my coffee passion, so the coffee blog was born! I named it in part after my Grandpa Wade, because he was primarily responsible for getting me into coffee. According to the internet, Kyle comes from a Gaelic word that means “handsome” and that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I use it as a creative challenge to photograph and write on a consistent basis. It’s an opportunity for me to share what I love most about the world of coffee and it’s an invitation for others to see that world through my eyes.

 

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Photographer: Alyssa Ence

 

What is your favorite kind of coffee?

I love coffees with a more fruity and floral flavor profile, so pretty much anything from Africa, especially naturally processed Ethiopia’s. I love lots of complexity and profile shifts that tend to occur in natural and honey processed coffees. As far as brew methods, Aeropress is king in my book, followed closely by the V60.

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

To be honest, we don’t really have that many coffee shops here in St. George, so I end up doing coffee at home primarily. When I do venture out I usually end up at The Harbor, a church sponsored student/community center that offers pour over coffees from Hidden House Coffee Roasters. When I travel however, I love to check out local shops. Some of my favorites are: La Barba in Draper, UT; Corvus Coffee in Denver, CO; Kiln Coffee Bar in Grand Junction, CO; Wesley Andrews in Minneapolis, MN; Quixotic Coffee in St. Paul, MN; and Slate Coffee in Seattle, WA.

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Photographer: Kyle Sheppard

What does a perfect day look like?

I have two drastically different answers to that, because I love having variety in my life, too much of any day would lose its lustre very quickly for me.

In one of my perfect days, I’m shooting a wedding. I get up early with my wife, swing by a local coffee shop and meet up with the bride early to photograph her getting ready. I get to watch the anticipation build as the girls get ready and then go hang out with the guys for a bit (they’re usually playing games or something). As the day goes on, we get to know the couple and the people they’ve chosen to have closest to them on their best day. During the ceremony, we get to watch two people make some of the most important promises of their lives and begin a new chapter of life together. We get to take them to an amazing place, away from the hustle and bustle, so they can have a moment together to take it all in, just a moment to themselves. And finally we get to party like crazy with them. It doesn’t always happen in that order or exactly like that, but I love every minute of it.

At home, I get up early and make myself a cup of coffee and start my day with a chill hour of reading and praying before heading up into the office to work. Ideally, I get to meet up with some of my friends either for more coffee, rock climbing or bike riding. I then get to spend my evening with my wife watching Netflix or playing Mario.

In a nutshell, my perfect day revolves around variety and getting to spend time with other people either who are close to me or who I get to be a part of the best day of their lives.

Cover image by Chad Braithewaite

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 3 and 5 provide a more balanced option that is still within walking distance to interesting sights of Saigon, yet situated in a more local area.

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A Saigon street scene

Saigon has a wide range of activities a modern traveler would like – from war history museums and colonial architecture to cutting edge restaurants and shopping. The city streets, however, remain Saigon’s best attraction. Get lost in the alleyways between major throughways for hours on end and explore street markets laden with food, fruits, home products, souvenirs, and of course, pho. For less than a dollar a meal, a hearty bowl of chicken (pho ga) or beef (pho bo) noodle soup seasoned with fresh basil leaves, fiery red chilies, and a squeeze of lime can be found on every street corner.

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The view from the Chill Skybar in Saigon

If historical significance is what you’re after, a visit to the Saigon Central Post Office is due. Built in the late 19th century by Gustave Eiffel, the building with vaulted ceilings is a fine example of French Indochina period.  For a more modern touch, spend time at the Chill Skybar with stunning surround views of the city, and the Ben Thanh park where locals gather each morning to showcase their singing birds while sipping on dark, strong, and sweet Vietnamese coffee.

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Morning in Ben Thanh Park in Saigon

Speaking of coffee, a few shops with western-style coffee choices include The Good Coffee in District 5, ID Cafe with a few locations in the center, and Cycle Coffee Shop at a large roundabout on Ba Thang Hai street where you can observe chaotic Saigon traffic patterns for hours. For a more local take on the drink that powers the globe, sit down at any streetside cafe while your ca phe, a finely ground dark roast individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter, flows into your cup already filled with sweet condensed milk.

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The Good Coffee in Saigon

While in the South, add a trip to the Mekong River Delta to your itinerary. You can either arrange it with an agency in Saigon or travel independently. Going by yourself would ensure you are not being herded along with a group of tourists and have ample time for exploration of this dense area. My Tho is a town where most visitors start their Mekong experience. Instead, venture a bit further into Ben Tre, another town south of My Tho that is decidedly tourist-free. Once there, ride a bicycle in the fields and villages around Ben Tre and hire a small boat to go into the canals that criss-cross the land. This independent, leisurely exploration is sure to become one of your favorite memories of the South.

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The Mekong River Delta

Getting around:

Saigon – walking mostly, although taxis and especially motorbike taxis abound. The Mekong Delta – take a local bus to Ben Tre and back which can be arranged with assistance from your hotel.

Central Vietnam:

About 15 hours north of Saigon by train lies Hoi An, a provincial town off the coast of East Vietnam Sea. Hoi An Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which means it is overflowing with tour groups. Still, it is worth the stop if only to unwind after the fast-paced rhythm of Saigon. Locals aggregate here every night to get as many dollars out of tourists as they can with boat rides across the calm Thu Bon river, floating candles for good luck, and fried banana pancakes that are ‘number one in my shop‘ according to every street vendor. Despite the manufactured experience, Hoi An old town is still an adorable place.

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Cao lau noodles in Hoi An

The best of Hoi An, however, lies outside old town gates. A ten minute bicycle ride will take you into the fields, where friendly rice farmers will strike up a conversation with you and will pose for photos (some – but not all – are doing it to later ask you for money). Fifteen minutes away, Cua Dai beach is a mighty display of the power of East Vietnam Sea. Not to be missed in Hoi An are the cao lau noodles. Sold on every street corner here, they are a unique Hoi An specialty and are not available anywhere else.

Additional stops in Central Vietnam include My Son, an abandoned ancient Hindu temple site and Hue, a remnant of Vietnamese imperial past of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Getting around:

In and out of Hoi An by train via Da Nang (taxi or bus from Da Nang to Hoi An). In town, bicycle or walking is recommended.

North Vietnam:

If you stay in the North of Viet Nam for the full duration of your trip, you would not be disappointed. The region has several distinct areas of interest – the mountainous rice growing districts of Sa Pa, Ha Giang, and Mu Cang Chai; the unbelievable limestone islands of Ha Long Bay; the otherworldly landscapes of Ninh Binh province; and Hanoi, with its easy pace and historical heritage. Let’s dive in!

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Ca phe break in Hanoi

A fifteen hour train ride from Hoi An further north takes you to Hanoi, the capital of Viet Nam. It is a busy city, but its chaotic movement is nowhere near that of Saigon, the Southern rival. The streets are wider and quieter; the people friendlier; the cafe lounging longer. Most visitors stay in the Old Quarter, the city’s famed tourist and backpacker district. If you can, stay elsewhere or on the outskirts of Old Quarter for a more authentic experience. Just below the Old Quarter lies Ho Hoan Kiem lake and the park by the same name. It is a great destination to people-watch: on early mornings you’ll see older men and women practicing tai chi or dancing Macarena under the rising sun; in the afternoons, school children congregate in the park to play badminton and practice their English with foreigners passing by.

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A Hanoi street scene

Doong Tea and Coffee Express in the Old Quarter serves a very decent roast in a great atmosphere, with local teenagers perched up on stools outside while discussing the latest from Miley Cyrus. Street food abound, you’ll once again delight with pho and bahn mi, Viet Nam’s delicious take on the good old sandwich.

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Matcha latte at Doong Tea & Coffee Express in Hanoi

The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, about 25 minute walk from the Old Quarter, is an interesting place to visit for anyone curious about the crucial role this leader played in the direction the country’s development has taken. Many Vietnamese, especially in the North, have deep respect for ‘the uncle’, as Ho Chi Minh is affectionately referred to.

Once you are situated, make Hanoi your base for exploring the rest of the North. Getting around the region by trains and buses is most convenient to arrange from Hanoi. Although not impossible, it would be a bit of a hassle from other towns. One challenge to be aware of is the language barrier. Few locals speak English; those who do can often misunderstand what you say, leading to all kinds of misguided situations – but that makes traveling in Viet Nam all the more exciting!

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Top of Bai Tho mountain in Ha Long Bay

About five hours north-east of Hanoi lies Ha Long Bay, a stunning UNESCO site that is worth visiting for a few days. It’s quite hard to arrange an independent trek into the bay as there is no infrastructure for that. The solution that most visitors end up with is a pre-arranged cruise. Look for smaller boats and responsible agencies – although hard to find in the crowded Vietnamese tourism space, it is not impossible. The karst limestone islands form a phantasmagorical landscape that’s described as ‘the bay of the descending dragon’. Particularly in early mornings, when the bay is shrouded in fog, the stillness and isolation create an eerie atmosphere suitable for a dragon to plunge into.

In addition to taking a cruise through the bay, spend some time in Hon Gai, a local part of Ha Long City that very few tourists venture out to. In Hon Gai, you will not see another foreigner, and the surprised looks on the locals’ faces will be priceless. While there, you can do a hike up the Bai Tho mountain for a bird’s eye view of the bay. This is a sight visitors rarely get to see as the hike is barely known to the outside world.

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The view from Hang Mua Peak in Tam Coc in Ninh Binh province

Another worthy trek from Hanoi is to Ninh Binh, a province south of the city that is often described as ‘Ha Long Bay on land’. Situated about three hours away from Hanoi by train, the village of Tam Coc is where you’d want to go. It is set among dramatic landscapes of wide rice terraces and steep limestone mountains. The people are friendly and you can observe and participate in everyday rural life of Northern Viet Nam. Once here, take a boat ride from Tam Coc Wharf into the surrounding area while passing walls of mountains, deep caves, and flooded rice terraces.

Finally, book some time to explore the remote hill tribe provinces of Northern Viet Nam. Many options exist, among them going to the developed village of Sa Pa that attracts visitors year-round for its dramatic mountains, trekking to less-accessible Ha Giang on the border with China, or riding to Mu Cang Chai, a remote – and poorest – district with Viet Nam’s most recognizable rice terrace landscapes. Back of a bike is the most dramatic way to explore the area, with rice cultivation on steep mountain sides and many ethnic minority villages such as Hmong and Tay spread across the terrain. If you’re not an experienced motorbike driver, getting a ride with a guide is recommended as the roads in these areas are often unpaved and muddy.

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A Hmong woman in Mu Cang Chai district

Getting around:

Easy travel by train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and Sa Pa. Pre-arranged car rides to and from Ha Long Bay as part of cruise packages. Car/motorcycle rides to and from Mu Cang Chai. Walk everywhere inside Hanoi Old Quarter. Taxis in Hanoi are not reliable and have been known to grossly overcharge. Look for the Mai Linh taxi brand as it seems to be a more reputable option.

Written by Yulia Denisyuk, a brand manager, photographer, writer & wanderpreneur. Amongst many other travel publications she’s a contributor to Lonely Planet and has one of the most inspiring instagram travel accounts you’ll ever see, @insearchofperfect.

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.

Humans of coffee: Dan Carter

Who is Dan Carter?

That really famous All Blacks fly-half? Afraid not (I get that a lot). I guess first and foremost I’m a brother and a believer. I have so much faith that our strength, determination and will is enough to get us to where we want to be. I also happen to be a blogger and photographer which has opened my eyes to the endless possibilities and adventures that life has to offer.

What is your best childhood memory?

It was a few days before Christmas and I was standing in the middle of field somewhere in Belgium. My feet were as numb as a rock from the bitter, icy wind and I hadn’t felt my hands in a few hours. My sister was competing for England in a Cross-Country race when the snow began to pour down. I remember screaming and chasing her down to the finish line, my eyes welling up with pride as she took gold. We spent the afternoon eating waffles and drinking endless amounts of hot chocolate which bought life back into my hands. That day meant everything to me and still does.

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

I don’t have regrets as such. I think everything that we’ve done has led us to where we are now. There’s usually a blessing in the curse somewhere, it just takes a bit of finding sometimes. One thing I’d do looking back, is to quit defining myself and what I’m capable of by the limitations and expectations that others place on you. Oh, and follow my gut. Never stray from your gut!

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What do you feel most proud of?

I’m not sure I’m proud of anything particularly but I do look back over the past few years and realise how far I’ve come. I’m just grateful that I was able to put aside that fear of failing because that quite literally changed everything for me. After that, I was able to risk everything that I knew, in the hope of something more. I just refuse to accept that we are here to live some mediocre life.

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

This is such a hard one. I suppose I’d keep my notepad because without that I feel totally lost; my camera because capturing moments is such a massive part of what I do now… Would it be terrible of me to say my aeropress as number three? What’s life without coffee, right?

What do you want your tombstone to say?

A faithful brother, who’s strength is mine.
Hamba Kakuhle – Go Well

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What is dancarternow.com?

My blog is a collection of travel, fitness and coffee related posts. It’s basically a collection of stories, ideas and recommendations that I’ve discovered on my journey as a blogger. It’s where I can rant and rave and I’m so excited for the direction it’s going. Dancarternow.com is based on the idea that we need to live for now. Time doesn’t wait for anyone, you know?

What’s your favourite kind of coffee?

In the morning, it’s always a double espresso. It’s just that instant kick to start a productive day. I worked as a barista for a year at a cycle cafe called “G!RO”. I’d arrive at some crazy time in the morning when it was still dark and go straight to the grinder. Their espresso blend, ‘giropresso’ was the only thing that bought me to life. These days, I’m all about a really, really good almond flat white. It’s such a hard one to get right because almond milk is so unforgiving and burns so easily. But when it’s good, it’s flipping great.

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

Ground Coffee Society (Putney, London)
G!RO Cycles (Esher, Surrey)
Flat Mountain Roasters (Woodstock, Cape Town)
Origin Coffee Roasters (De Waterkant, Cape Town)

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What does a perfect day look like?

The perfect day would begin with a sunrise hike somewhere in the Western Cape, followed by a stupidly large breakfast at Jason’s Bakery (Bree Street) sampling every croissant on offer. The day would then be spent exploring and hiking, spending time with family and friends. Perhaps a long run in the afternoon with of course, another coffee stop. Finally, we’d watch the sunset which tends to be accompanied by a casual photoshoot. That’s the life, right? Basically as much time as possible in the outdoors.

Where is your home away from home?

Travel writing has taken me to some unbelievable places but South Africa well and truly stole my heart. Since I landed in Cape Town for the first time back in 2012 I’ve been back and forth every few months. There’s so much beauty: the landscape; the people and the culture. Running Comrades this year with a Cape Town based charity called Unogwaja was the most incredible display of love and togetherness I’ve witnessed, despite the history and ongoing need of repair. I just want to build upon that oneness on a personal level, hence I’ve just started to learn some Xhosa. I’ll always remember a good friend of mine, John Mcinroy using the phrase “Sawubona – I see you, I see your struggle.” And I felt that. I heard it: loud and clear. We live in a generation where we are so busy on our travels trying to ‘find ourselves’ that we don’t truly ‘see’ each other. That needs to change and that change can only begin with ourselves.

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.

Humans of coffee: Jo-Ann Strauss

Who is Jo-Ann Strauss?

I am a multi-faceted woman who is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up, but has no intention of growing up too quickly. I am a mom, a wife, a media entrepreneur and enjoy the absence of routine in my life.

What is your best childhood memory?

My baby brother (he is four years younger) and I riding our BMX bikes around the neighbourhood streets – we grew up in Blackheath in the Western Cape. He had a blue one and mine was red. We would ride through puddles in the gravel roads of our hood and splash each other wet much to our amusement and my mom’s consternation.

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

I would probably buy a few properties that I didn’t think I could afford back then. I look at how much I’ve learnt about the property market and realise how my gut instinct was often right and my fears sometimes threw me off course. But, hindsight is always 20 20 vision, so perhaps that helped me to get into the position that I am now. I am quite risk averse and at times wish that I weren’t as careful, but I think I am finding the right balance bit by bit.

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What do you feel most proud of?

My two gorgeous children – they are the centre of my husband and my universe 🙂

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

Define possessions 😉 I think my passport as it gives me access to the world, my credit card as it gives me access to most material things and my smartphone (with a wifi connection) as it pretty much gives me the world in the palm of my hand.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She lived before she died.

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What is Modern Mommy?

Modern Mommy is a blog that was born at around the same time as our first child two years ago. Since then, it’s become a lovely little community of moms online and I hope to grow it into a platform for working moms with great business ideas and a place to empower especially single moms. It’s all a work in progress and I’m trying to give it the attention it deserves, but with a 4 month old baby and a toddler – I am just about managing to keep it together 😉

What’s your favorite kind of coffee?

I love a flat white – in particular I like the coffee in my hood – Tamboerskloof – cute place called “The Blue Café” – the medium organic roast is my best!

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

Blue Café, I love Vida e Caffe and I also love Haas in the CBD.

What does a perfect day look like?

Anything that entails a sunset with my family followed by our bathtime ritual and then a glass of red wine with my husband (after the kids are in bed) and a roaring fire in our little fireplace. I enjoy the fact that all my days are different and that there is so much variety, but that the constant element is my little family.

All photos supplied by Jo-Ann