Scores of Protea Hospitality Group baristas are competing this month in a competition to find Protea Hotels top barista – not as simple an exercise as one might think.
The perfect cup of coffee doesn’t just happen, explains Protea Hospitality Group Operations Director William Ford. A lot of skill and knowledge goes into producing a flavourful espresso, cappuccino or latte that includes setting machines to the perfect temperature, texturising milk to create a visually and taste-perfected cup of coffee.
Baristas at Protea Hotels and African Pride Hotels from the 9 provinces around South Africa have undergone intensive training at the Ciro Coffee Academy in recent months and now get to showcase their additional knowledge and skill in three regional competitions.
The national winner will be the barista who scores the highest in the regional competitions.
The nine regional finalists also will be entered into the Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa regional competitions this year and will hopefully knock the socks off the competition, says Ford, who envisages at least a few regional winners making it through to the SCASA national finals.
Protea Hospitality Group Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue, Danny Bryer, says South Africa has a strong coffee culture and consumers are a more discerning and knowledgeable about coffee as a result of the coffee offering in both the retail and home environment.
“If you break it down to the fundamentals we’re in the business of beds, pillows, coffee and breakfast, so getting it wrong is not an option.
“We’re investing in ongoing training for our baristas to ensure that they’re at the top of their profession and that our offering is the best in South African hospitality. This is our minimum brand standard requirement for our hotels,” says Bryer.
“The baristas are all keen to enter the competition and I look forward to tasting the best coffee in South Africa.”
The regional competitions will take place at the following venues:
1. African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, February 22-23.
2. Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge February 23.
3. African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, February 22-23.