Between the 26th and 28th of May 2023, the bustling Fourways Mall in Gauteng, South Africa, became the epicentre of coffee excellence as the Specialty Coffee Expo opened its doors for its second year. This eagerly anticipated event brought together the crème de la crème of South Africa’s coffee roasters, pâtissiers chocolatiers, captivating attendees with their remarkable craftsmanship and passion. Event organisers, Jason and Cezanne Zeeman have created an inclusive space that aims not only to expose the South African public to some of the world’s best coffee, but to highlight the skill, craftsmanship and expertise behind every sip.
This year the expo boasted a jam-packed line-up of 14 roasters from around South Africa, each employing a Linea Mini to showcase their exceptional talents and skills. Amidst all of the action in the roasters village, the expo also played host to the Gauteng Regional Heats of the National Barista, Latte Art and Cup Tasters Championships – a prestigious event organized by the Specialty Coffee Association of South Africa (SCASA). As a proud sponsor, La Marzocco provided their iconic espresso machines, enabling baristas to showcase their skills with unparalleled precision and artistry.
To top the weekend off, La Marzocco South Africa also hosted the first-ever “Crush the Rush” competition in the country. This thrilling contest pushed baristas to their limits, challenging their speed, precision, and consistency in crafting impeccable drinks under demanding circumstances. The event drew enthusiastic participation from the coffee community, fostering camaraderie and inspiring baristas to push the boundaries of their craft. Competitors battled through both time trials, and the team competition to take away some amazing prizes and most importantly – bragging rights. Taking the top step in the Crush the Rush team battle were “The Cycleholics” – a team comprised exclusively of passionate home baristas, who managed to edge their way ahead of the seasoned professionals.
As the echoes of the Expo fade away, the South African coffee community remains united, inspired by the shared experience and motivated to continue pushing the boundaries of specialty coffee. With each sip, we raise our cups in celebration of the remarkable talent, dedication, and unwavering pursuit of excellence that define South Africa’s vibrant coffee culture.