Introducing Zeus Gqabu, the youngest barista to win a Regional title

Wednesday, 17 August, 2016
Words by Garneth Jaggers

Zeus pictured on stage at the SCASA Eastern Cape Regionals with Ryan le Roux the MC. Zeus won the Latte Art competition.

This is the story of how Zeus Gqabu, the young guy I am supposed to inspire, inspires me.

I am the Head Barista trainer at Masterton’s Coffee and have been given freedom to build up this section of the company and the mobile coffee events, Zeus Gcaba was one of the guys I always hired for some of the events. I remember after the first time he worked for the company, both the owners Ryler and James Masterton complimented how wonderful his demeanour.

Almost a year later Zeus is a full time employee of Masterton’s. He entered the Latte art competition this year and took 1st place, the youngest barista to win the Latte Art! I believe he has the potential to win the National competition in 2017.

I met Zeus a few years ago while I was the Youth Pastor at a local church called Fathers House in Port Elizabeth. He was one of my youth kids and since day one he crept into my heart. I knew he was very special. As volunteers, we all had to be at the church by 6am every Sunday morning. Zeus was one of three guys to assist every single Sunday without fail, not expecting anything in return. I started giving them R50 on a Sunday for their help, which ended up being pocket money during the week.

I do not know the intricate details about his family but I know his dad passed away at he was brought up by his mum. In Grade 11 he dropped out of school because of financial reasons. As I got more involved behind the coffee machine, this soon ignited a passion for coffee I did not know existed. I started showing Zeus the ropes, but the only thing they were doing was extracting espresso shots for years, but he had the drive to do better. He became a very good barista as he is charismatic and vibrant, well spoken, driven, disciplined and a whole lot more. The following year he went back to school, working as a barista to support himself. He would work around his school schedule, after hours and during the weekends. I don’t think many people know the background of Zeus, but the little that I know inspires me as he is still always friendly and always willing to sacrifice almost everything to make sure the people around him are looked after.

I have seen him grow from strength to strength, overcome obstacles in life and inbetween it all conquer the mean feat of pouring a 5 or 6 layer tulip allowing him to qualify for the National Champs. The drive and determination that he has is incredible and in one of those fairy-tale sayings - I believe that the world is his oyster.
Zeus lives by principles that could be helpful for all of us: honesty, integrity, he never makes excuses or uses his background as one, he takes on every task that comes his way and conquers it.

I am no writer as I’m sure you have noticed by now; but I wanted South Africa to know how Zeus’s story has unfolded in front of my eyes. This young guy who I am supposed to inspire, is my inspiration! For a 19-year-old man he is already a well-known and respected barista in Port Elizabeth, I am excited to sit back and watch how his career in the industry unfold. This is just the beginning of his story – watch out South Africa!

Garneth Jaggers and the man who inspires him, Zeus Gqabu!

Both Zeus and I are incredibly grateful for the platform and freedom that Masterton’s Coffee and Tea has given us.

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