Common Ground: Angeline McLagan

Tuesday, 9 July, 2013
Interview by Megan Pilditch

Angeline McLagan: Regional coordinator for the Eastern Cape SCASA Coffee Competition.
This photo was taken while making coffee's at the Mobile Espresso Bar at the Full Iron Man last year.

What areas of coffee are you involved in?

I am very involved in SCASA (Specialty Coffee Association of South Africa) as the Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Cape and I am involved alongside one of my coffee colleagues in training our baristas as they prepare for the Barista Championships. My husband and I brought The SCASA Coffee Competitions to PE three years ago and our EC Regional Coffee Competitions have been hosted at the Homemakers Expo ever since then. I have been involved in the national championships for the past two years and have been a sensory judge for several regional Competitions. I am employed full time by Ciro Beverage Solutions at the Ciro Training Academy, as a senior barista trainer and assessor in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route Area. We are currently registering all our Ciro Training Centres as internationally accredited training centres, which is an exciting first in South Africa.

Where did your love of coffee start?

My love of coffee began as a little girl on our frequent visits to Switzerland. You can imagine the frustration at first, as coffee in good old SA 28 years ago was not what it is today. My husband and I and our two beautiful children did a stint in Wellington New Zealand for 6 months and this is truly where our love and appreciation of good coffee really took root and grew in leaps and bounds. We became true coffee snobs. On returning to PE, SA seven years ago, we really struggled to find good coffee and this is where our coffee journey began. With my husband finding his roots in the Speciality Coffee industry and me alongside him.

Angeline judging Freedom From Bean There Coffee at Gauteng SCASA Regional Champs.

What coffee lessons did you take away from these countries?

We were ruined forever, as what we thought was good coffee was indeed very different to what we had experienced before. We grew to appreciate a well-balanced sweet espresso, as well as the single origin slow brewed coffees and of course milk that has been textured correctly – velvet, sweet and smooth and glossy…unlike the foamy burnt froth we had been exposed to before.

Was coffee a career choice you always wanted to be involved in?

No, not actually…coffee found ME! I actually qualified in PR, Sales and Marketing. It‘s only in the last four years that a deep desire to be involved in the coffee world has really taken off and become a reality. Up until last year August, I worked alongside my husband, Donovan in His Speciality Coffee Company, Urban Espress Coffee Co. He has taught me a great deal and has imparted that same love and passion for this ever-growing and awesome industry. I applied for the Senior Barista Trainer Position at Ciro Beverage Solutions last Year August and have been apart of this amazing coffee team since then.

Tell us more about why you want to train baristas?

I so enjoy working with human beings, seeing their potential and tapping into that passion and the very thing that drives them to excel, is an incredible privilege. I really want to up-skill people. Our Ciro Academy Barista Upliftment Programme enables us to impact the community in our area quite largely. Coffee knows no boundaries and this is one of the many things I love about it! It impacts the farmers, his/ her workers, the various factories, roasteries and of course the consumers…having them enjoy a good cuppa Joe is deeply satisfying! When I started training baristas in the Eastern Cape, many were very stuck in old trends and so it has been quite a challenge, imparting the WBC standards and ensuring that these new coffee trends and standards are upheld and maintained from management down. It is also so important to educate our coffee lovers in our region. CT, KZN and JHB are slightly further along in this process, but we are working steadily and passionately as a coffee family.

The very first SCASA Cup Tasters Competition in PE two years ago -photo with Lani Snyman -Director of Scasa and Ciro Coffee Academy and our winner Donovan McLagan and Runner up Carl Walton and Alessandro Moricco - WBC Judge and Nuova Simonelli King

How are you doing this?

I am {our Ciro Academy around the country} are currently starting an upliftment programme (starting in August) that will focus on the social justice side of the coffee industry. I want the baristas to be trained in the skill and knowledge of coffee and to realize and be proud of the fact that their skills are internationally recognised.

And your coffee dreams for South Africa?
I want the Eastern Cape to become the coffee capital of South Africa- that whatever coffee shop you walk into you will get the best flat white, espresso or brewed coffee you could ever get. More so, it would be awesome for our rainbow nation to be known for our awesome cuppas…For SA to be known as the coffee capital of the world! I look forward to the day when our SA National Coffee champs make the top 6 on the Barista Champ level! Currently, our highest placed South African placed 5th at the World Cup tasters Champs in Vienna Austria last year May…how amazing would it be to have a WBC champ winner from SA.

Hannah (Angeline's daughter) - A future world barista champion in the making. She made this macchiato on Saturday and she adores her coffee.
What was last years National Barista Championship like?

The standard of baristas was fantastic and Lovejoy, our current National Barista Champion scored the highest technical scores ever- an amazing feat!

And what do you expect for this years competition?
We have many of our “old barista boy’s” returning to take on the title of SCASA Barista Champion and I have no doubt that the standard this year will be higher than ever before … we also have the Cup Tasters, Latte Art and AeroPress competition titles up for grabs yet again in September at the Good Food and Wine in Gauteng…..exciting times! Who will take the titles this year?

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