The Almond Breeze Barista Smackdown!

Monday, 14 November, 2016

Almond Breeze Barista Smackdown brings high energy and amazing Latte Art designs to the KZN Barista Championships at the Good Food & Wine Show!

The Almond Breeze Barista Smackdown, held at the KZN Barista Championships at the Good Food and Wine show recently saw 28 top Baristas go head to head in a Latte Art Smackdown that had the crowd cheering and the baristas celebrating!

Almond Breeze Barista Blend is an almond milk that has been specially developed for coffee shops as an alternative for their customers who are lactose intolerant but still want a creamy, delicious cappuccino or latte.

Held over 3 days, with two semi finals rounds, and a grand finale, the baristas used the specially formulated Almond Breeze Barista Blend to create their two best latte art designs in 5 minutes, in an effort to win a portion of the R10 000 in prize money on offer.

The first semi final had 16 Baristas, many of which were finalists in either the KZN Barista Championships or KZN Latte Art Championships, as well as leading coffee professionals and personalities, all showcasing their skills in the cup, with beautifully extracted espresso as the backdrop for their eye-popping designs. The no-holds barred competition format, the party atmosphere and the simultaneous use of a single machine between two competitors made for huge excitement as free-poured rosettas, tulips and swans went up against a menagerie of designed-poured teddy bears, elephants and wild-cats. Not even a pair of foam bare feet could walk away with the title as Ciro’s Craig Sampson and Talk House café’s Thami took the heat prize money and a place in the finals.

The second semi finals saw another engaging competitions with a full array of latte art skills on display and some freestyle pouring that had the crowd cheering and the foam flying! Colombo’s Chad Whitby even attempting to influence the judges by pouring a rosetta through his legs! But alas, points were only on offer for the best designs and it was Siphelele from African Roots Coffee and Phume Sithole from Nino’s who clinched the cash and the coveted final spots in the Grand Finale.

The Almond Breeze Barista Blend Final was a highly anticipated affair with each Barista already cash flushed and with nothing to lose going into the heat. With strong performances from former KZN Champion Craig Sampson, the other baristas were under pressure to produce world-class work, and in the end it was a glistening four-tiered tulip and a beautiful swan from Nino’s Phume that clinched the Almond Breeze Barista Smackdown title and R3000 in cash prize money.

Almond Breeze is a SCASA Gold partner and proud sponsor of the SA National Barista Championships.

For more info visit

Craig Sampson (Ciro) and Themba Romeo (Independent) having fun during the heats!

Fiks Kuzwayo (MPP) making sure people don't forget the name...How could we, Fiks?

Wency and Tino (both Nino's) enjoying the festival atmosphere and their time in the spotlight!

The menagerie takes shape! The Almond Breeze Barista Blend holding up the perfect texture against the espresso, allowing the baristas to create amazing designs. 

Dylan Da Silva (Skyline Coffee Roastery) put forward his best latte art designs. 

Sipho (Panarotti's) and Chad (Colombo) tag-team the Black Eagle espresso machine from Victoria Arduino. 

The winners, Craig Sampson and Siphilele, receiving their much appreciated cash prizes from Marcus Peil of Almond Breeze.

This is what we love about Barista Smackdowns: The Rivalries and the Friendships that are formed!  

The Grand Final: (L-R) Thami (Talk House Cafe), Craig Sampson (Ciro), Phume (Nino's), Marcus (Almond Breeze) and Norman (Beaver Creek)

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