SCASA: The Politics of Coffee and what you can do about it.

Thursday, 6 April, 2017

By Iain Evans

So it’s all about the marches this week. To march or not to march, why I’m marching etc.
Endless rhetoric, justifications, counter-punches and all the emotions that fizzle and crackle around this sense of emboldened action spurned on by the ex-Finance Minister. At least people are beginning to shake off their apathy, regardless of their motives.

But this is not a political post - it’s a post about coffee. But it is directly linked to the sentiment around the marches. This is a post about community, the community of coffee - and this is a direct plea to take action (since we’re all in the mood this week to take action!). SCASA, the Speciality Coffee Association of South Africa is giving you, Coffee Shop/Brand/Service owner/patron/citizen of the Coffee Community to be represented and stand in solidarity with others in the coffee community.

Yes, I’m taking liberties with political discourse, but there is a real and serious point to this post. In the past, and by that I mean, even until now, many people ask : “What does SCASA do for me? “ Why should I be part of this Association? (and so on…) and these are valid questions, and I hope to give you some simple and valid answers.  

Firstly, SCASA is not just about Speciality Coffee. This is a misnomer. It is about representing everyone in South Africa. The name is not as important as the vision and everyone in coffee in SA is welcome to be part of it.

Secondly. What does SCASA do? Basically, it does three things -

1. It owns the license for SA to participate in the WCE (World Coffee Events) Barista, Latte Art and Cup Tasters competitions, by running the Regionals and National competition in SA to the same standard and through these competitions, send South African National Champions to the “Worlds” in all 3 disciplines (and Judges and coaches and Team Members) The knowledge aquired at these global events filters back to us on the ground here, and then through to all our friends, staff, members and consumers and also puts SA on the Map (Don McLagan 5th in Cup tasters, Craig and Ishan, 15th and 18th at Barista Comp respectively.)

2. SCASA is aiming to allocate an enormous amount of time and expertise to training South Africans to be Coffee Professionals - baristas, roasters, green coffee traders and all other aspects of the food and hospitality Industry. SCASA is currently working on how to use your membership fees directly to upskill regular South Africans, including unemployed youth, those without access to skills training and the next generation of coffee professionals, from all walk of life in SA. 

3. Through it’s Members, SCASA has/is creating World Recognised training at SCAE and University standards - for more on these, click here, there’s an entire blog dedicated to this.

Finally…let’s answer the "What does SCASA do for me?" question…. In 2017 SCASA allows you and your coffee business to formally become part of the Coffee Community in SA at 7 upcoming events in the next 8 months. At the following Shows where SCASA is represented: Hostex, Good Food & Wine Shows (JHB, CT, DBN) and Coffee&Choc (JHB, CT, DBN) and Homemakers PE, you (by this I mean once you’ve paid your SCASA membership of R2500) you get a ridiculously good offer to join the SCASA Coffee Village at each of these shows, at a fraction of the cost of any other businesses out there.

Like the answer to many existential questions, often the true meaning in what we do is found when we stop looking out only for ourselves and realise that we are who we are because of others. Umuntu NgemuntuNgabantu. This is true of the Coffee Community in SA too!

So the next time you catch yourself or one of your coffee colleagues sitting around complaining about the Government of SCASA then ask yourself if you took the opportunities presented to you - and by this I mean a beautiful stand at the Premier Trade Shows in SA where literally thousands of people from the Public and the Food & Beverage Industry can sample your coffee/buy your equipment, chat to you about your business… and besides that, the chance to interact with hundreds (hopefully!) of other coffee businesses just like yours. Our community is only as strong as those who represent it positively!


Nick Sarnardas - or 083 519 3599

Good Food & Wine Show

Daniel Bloch - or 083 306 0579

Coffee & Chocolate

Nadine Shone - or 082563332

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