Andre Blignaut, SA Cup Tasters Champion heads to Chicago

Thursday, 4 April, 2024

Andre Blignaut, a rookie at this year's SCASA National Coffee Competitions went on to win the Cup Tasters Title and is in Chicago for the World Cup Tasters Championship this week! 

In a true testament to the camaraderie in the coffee industry, his competitor at Nationals Leigh Wentzel and his partner at Cedar Coffee, Winston Thomas, have been offering support to the Champ in the way of a space to practice, brewing all the coffees for him to train.

Chad Goddard (of Father Coffee and SCASA) sent all the different brewing techniques that are used at Worlds to test the tastebuds of the Cup Tasters competitors (find the basics of this comp here). This includes dilutions (so same coffee, diluted with water) and blends, which makes the process incredibly challenging.

Andre has tried to do two sets a day in the build up to the competition. He can't really do more than that as part of his process is to actually swallow all the coffee he tastes. So that's 24 coffees in 8 minutes! It's a bit unconventional, as the general rule of thumb is to spit the coffees because of the caffeine factor. But Andre believes that swallowing is an important part of the olfactory process and helps him to differentiate the taste and aroma of each cup!

The competition is stiff at World level, with 8 out of 8 cups being a common score and the ultimate winner being decided by time taken to select the correct cups.

That's a strong slurp, right there!

Andre will be lucky enough to have Stevo Kuhn, two time SA Barista Champion who assisted last year's Cup Tasters Champ, Retha van Rhijn, in his corner to help him get orientated on the World Stage, invaluable experience!

"I'm mostly excited to just be at the most amazing gathering of coffee people and soak up all the energy and products and get to meet amazing people!"

We wish him all the best! And will keep you posted on his progress! You can see his profile and all the other competitors here. Lots of our friends from Switzerland, Denmark, UAE to name a few are also competing! Have the best time!

You can follow along by giving him a follow.

The competitions will be streamed on the World Coffee Championships Youtube channel.

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