We were overwhelmed by the support you, our readers both consumers and industry, shared for the coffee places and people that bring a little bit of light to our days and do so much hard work behind the scenes in this industry. We run this platform to reward humans who are doing the most to educate, inspire and celebrate coffee everyday!
We will be releasing the Top 10 in a city near you in the coming weeks too, as our new initiative to reward and encourage more and more coffee businesses doing great work out there.
We put a lot of care into this process and while it will never be a perfect representation and some names have appeared for a number of years, we believe this is because these people and individuals put themselves out there and do the work. We will always be striving to make the Awards better and more inclusive. You will notice that there are a lot of people nominated and that is good news! But obviously not everyone can be recognised, we salute all coffee professionals working hard out there! We hope to see the Awards continue to evolve.
We are grateful to every single person in the industry from the amazing baristas who make us smile everyday to the people behind the scenes who make it all tick!
We took great care to go through ALL the nominees and we think the shortlisted are all incredibly worthy of recognition.
How are the winners selected from here?
The panel that decides is a brains trust of industry professionals that has been growing each year through this platform. Past winners, people we respect, industry leaders. We have compiled the voting form with info on why and how each company/person has been nominated, on which the panel will vote. Remembering always that this is to celebrate industry professionals so the public/customers are not voting. Like at the Oscars, the Academy decides from the shortlist of nominees. We also take into consideration that people involved in a category cannot vote for themselves in that category.
Huge thanks to our Partners that support this initiative.
Headline Partner: FNB
Best New Cafe
Presented by Red Espresso
Cafés are meeting places, they are spaces of community, business meetings, collaborations and first dates. We see new Café’s opening every month and the standard is increasing year on year – from better equipment, higher quality beverages, better service, to choice of design and outfitting, to creative seating, flow and ambience. Great toilets and bathrooms (everything counts!), and a fitting menu. Most of all though the criteria for this is based on the Café that opened in the last 18 months that has created something special where before it there was nothing.
Best New Roastery
Presented by Zuka Green Coffee
This category seeks to recognize Roasteries that have opened in the last year (up to 18months) and are gaining reputations as up and coming in the South African scene.
Dedication to Education
Presented by Ciro Coffee Academy
This award is handed out to the person or company who has dedicated their time and passion to coffee education, over and above what is required from their 9-5 responsibilities. They are always willing to share knowledge with those who want to learn. Ciro Coffee Academy has presented this Award since its inception as training is at their core and with a newly revamped Academy they continue to support education throughout the country.
Excellence in Coffee
This Coffee Professional strives for and achieves excellence in their chosen area of the Coffee Production Chain. They are innovative, are recognized as a leadership figure in their field and are constantly inspiring others around them.
Best Cafe Design
The spaces created for coffee add equally to the experience of enjoying that coffee. Here are some of the most beautifully designed spaces in SA, a feast for the eyes!
Coffee Instructor of the Year
Presented by Hostex 2024
This category has been adjusted slightly to include all instructors in the various stages of coffee. This excites us, because it means that the industry is growing! And that more people are wanting to learn about everything from green beans, to roasting, to brewing. These humans teach and inspire, they train and they serve. They impart wisdom learned from thousands of hours and their subject matter is technique, science, aesthetic and service and mostly getting better coffee to the consumer!
Best Coffee Packaging
Have you seen a bag of coffee on the supermarket shelves or at your local roastery that made you go, oooooh! Roasters put a lot of thought and effort into representing their coffees in the best possible way and packaging design has become more and more important over the years. These companies have produced some of the favourites in 2023.
Outstanding Woman in Coffee
Presented by FNB
Look how long this list is! And we had to shortlist. There has been progress. It is not enough, but we are making strides. In a male dominated industry, we want these nominations to shine a specific light on women doing the most to make spaces more inclusive, uplift other women and challenge stereotypes.
In 2024 The Coffee Magazine will be hosting a series of events for women in the coffee industry to continue this mission, watch this space.
Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year
Presented by FNB
Starting and running a business is really, really difficult, for anyone who attempts it. There are so many wonderful entrepreneurs in the coffee industry, but this particular category is dedicated to those who have, against all the odds, despite challenges like lack of seed funding or access to it and the political history of SA have come out swinging and we salute them. This Award is for coffee professionals dedicated to growing coffee culture and building community from the ground up, bootstrapping and making their coffee dreams come true.
Employing the bulk of the barista work force and satisfying tens of thousands of coffee lovers everyday, the Franchise coffee companies are an integral part of the coffee landscape and they are pushing the boundaries.
Best Supplier to the Industry
The behind the scenes companies that make life easier for cafes and roasteries that keep you happy on a day to day basis. Think espresso machines and maintenance, packaging, take-away cups, cafe supplies, green beans, online services. There's so much that goes into supporting your local cafes and roasteries!
Best Alternative Brewing Experience
Presented by Hario
AeroPress, Chemex, Siphon, Batch or V60 pour-over to name a few! A single origin brew that you can't forget? Who makes a black coffee seem like an adventure into a far-off land and creates a flavour explosion like no other?
Best Cafe Community Award
Presented by Red Espresso
This Award is to the teams who have created a loyal base of regulars who would ride-or-die for their favourite cafe. We decided to introduce this award, as voted by the public, as it is clear to see that some cafes have people that just absolutely love their work, and we LOVE that.
Coffee Team of the Year
Presented by BWT Africa
One of the most coveted awards in the industry! The Coffee Team of the Year Award recognizes that it is people that make a coffee company great – From the Owners who create a happy, respectful and creative ethos, to the staff who live the brand daily. A successful team is one in which all the people in the space uphold the same values and consistently serve with excellence and are rewarded well for doing so, creating a diverse and healthy team culture.
Cafe of the Year
Presented by Morrico Specialist Coffee Supplies
This award goes to the establishment that has consistently created an amazing cafe experience for its patrons, serves great coffee along with exceptional food, excellent service, great ambience, design and most importantly, a loyal community of patrons. This is a bustling space that can handle volume and do it in style.
Roastery of the Year
Presented by Bühler
The nominees in this category are the Roasteries in South Africa that have forged the path for speciality coffee in SA. They continue to push the boundaries of coffee roasting by sourcing the best coffees, investing in the latest technology, by collaborating, sharing and engaging with the global roasting community, by educating, informing and inspiring their customers – wholesale and retail and finally, by putting the highest quality coffee into the market that can make South Africa stand amongst the best coffee roasters in the world.
Barista of the Year
Presented by La Marzocco South Africa
Barista of the year is not limited to competitive coffee competitions but is the barista all-rounder. They are the barista who epitomizes what it means to understand, to respect and to serve up amazing coffee experiences. They are masters of extraction, technique and technical understanding, but most of all they cherish that it’s not just about the coffee served, but in the serving. This category is specifically for baristas who work behind the bar everyday and always make their customers feel like they're special, we salute you!