The Coffee Magazine Awards Winners 2023 have been revealed!
The 2nd of December 2023 was a very special occasion for so many reasons.
For our little business. It marked the 6th edition of the Coffee Magazine Awards. It is also Coffee Magazine’s 11 year in business – and we have just put our 46th issue of the magazine into print.
But the Awards especially are always a highlight, because of how it brings people together. And you could feel that in the room.
There was another sentiment echoed by all the winners, that 2023 has been a really tough year. We hope these Awards can bring a little bit of light and joy to a challenging time!
There can only be one winner in each category and there can only be a certain number of nominees, but going through all the names put forward for these awards, it reveals how rich, generous and caring people in the coffee community are. Such a cliché, but you're all winners in our eyes.
Thank you to everyone who travelled – at significant costs and time, especially those from far flung corners of SA and even overseas to be here at the event! We appreciate you.
Recently, in a discussion at WBC in Athens with a very significant Scandinavian coffee professional (one might say “celebrity” even) commented on the quality of coffee in South Africa – saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, that baristas across the board in SA are generally higher skilled, our roasteries are producing an exceptionally high standard of coffee and our café offerings are as good as any place in Europe. This is something to be extremely proud of.
And therefore, is more important than ever to celebrate the amazing people in our industry that keep pushing these standards and ensuring that SA continues to produce coffee experiences as good, if not better than many of the countries around the world. We highlight the incredible leadership of coffee companies and their staff, to shine a light on excellence and achievement in our wonderful coffee community in 2023.
To our incredible Sponsors, Advertisers and Event Partners who continue to support this event, to support our publication and to see the value in our media and the events that we run. Thank you.
Headline Partner: FNB
You can see all the nominees for 2023 here.
Best New Café presented by Kirsty Reid of 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.
WINNER: Sacred Space
A new cafe, but some very seasoned professionals are behind this gem. Nicole Terblanche and the team from Quaffee have created a welcoming and quirky space with undeniably great coffee that has immediately had an impact.
Best New Roastery presented by Cuth Bland and Tess Schmidt of 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. They bring new flavour to the industry in more ways than one!
WINNER: Culture Coffee
Calling this team 'dedicated' would be an extreme understatement. They're all in and after establishing a new spot for their cafe in Pretoria, they have gone head first into roasting their own beans. And they've done it with style! Congratulations Team.
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.
WINNER : Ettienne Broodryk
Ettienne leads by example and has pushed the university town of Potchefstroom to great coffee heights, along with his team at Toro Coffee through events, competitions and the day to day service, they have educated and inspired and he is determined to keep pushing, even when it's hard and there are challenges along the way. Congrats!
Dedication to Education presented by Samantha Naidoo and Rudi van Jaarsveld of Ciro Coffee
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.
WINNER: Stevo Kühn
Teaching is most certainly Stevo's passion, without personal regard for how much time he gives to his students and the people he mentors. Education is part of his DNA. Onwards and upwards, Stevo!
Best Café 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!
WINNER : Molo Coffee
A new little treasure on the southern coast in Hermanus conceptualised by Natalie Hauman, creating a compact space that just oozes calm and class. You won't want to leave.
Coffee Instructor of the Year presented by Hostex 2024 - Dee Miloa & Lerato Nako from Montgomery Exhibitions.
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!
Winner: Hayley Arendse - Origin Coffee
It would be difficult not to get excited about coffee if you were lucky enough to get Hayley as your teacher. And there are many, many, many, home and pro, baristas who have experienced this privilege through her work at Origin Coffee. She honours her students and the coffee value chain and she always makes time for the humans of coffee. Well done Hayley!
Best Supplier to the Industry
The behind the scenes companies that make life easier for cafes and roasteries that ultimately keep the consumer 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!
WINNER: Equipment Café
This is a tough category, because there are so many amazing teams that service the coffee businesses of South Africa, kudos to all of them. And it was close, but Equipment Cafe got the votes and when you're juggling so many brands and humans, it is quite amazing that everything continues to work! And you know technicians get the most grumpy coffee people as they are usually called in at a crisis. Well done Team Equipment Cafe!
Best Franchise Award presented by Koldserve represented by Warren Jenkings and Russel Mentz
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 because it is such a competitive market, they are pushing the boundaries of innovation at scale. This category is an excellent indicator of industry growth and all of the big names have been pushing hard this past year, we're impressed by all of them.
WINNER: PLATO Coffee
The new kids on the Franchise block have had a ridiculous year and they're being recognised for it. I think everybody is kind of left wondering how the heck they're doing it and if they can keep it up. But they're not going to slow down anytime soon. Can't wait to see what happens next!
Outstanding Woman in Coffee presented by FNB – Zaki Mtshali
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.
WINNER: Retha van Rhijn
Retha is young. Young in years and young in the industry. But she is bursting with enthusiasm and passion and she is an inspiration to other women who are just starting out. That it's possible, that you can dream big in this industry. Maybe you can make it all the way to Greece and represent your country on the World Stage, only the 2nd female to ever do that in SA's coffee competition history. Let's do this!
Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year presented by FNB – Zaki Mtshali
Starting and running a business is really, really difficult, for anyone who attempts it. This particular category is dedicated to those entrepreneurs who have, against all the odds, despite challenges like a pandemic, tricky locations and lack of seed funding or access to loans have come out swinging and we salute them. This Award is for coffee businesses dedicated to growing coffee culture where once there was none. The mavericks out there building community from the ground up, bootstrapping and making dreams come true.
WINNER: Lesiba Mashiane – Abstract Coffee Club
Abstract Coffee Club is bring community, delicious coffee and even a running club back to Juta Street and we love to see it! Lesiba is the man in charge and he has already created a loyal base of regulars and fans.
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, with sustainability at the forefront.
WINNER: Yellow Jacket Roasters
You can tell that this means a lot to Shewaan and Shu-aib. They have really put in a lot of effort and attention to detail to their box designs as well as their dedication to making sure it is also a sustainable solution. And they have even more exciting things just around the corner.
Best Alternative Brewing Experience presented by Hario and Equipment Cafe– Shawn Cloete
AeroPress, Chemex, Batch, Siphon or V60 pour-over to name a few! Who makes a black coffee seem like an adventure into a far-off land and creates a flavour explosion like no other?
WINNER: Bluebird Coffee Roastery
With an absolutely mind-blowing freezer selection at their beautiful roastery and cafe in Howick, this is destination coffee at it's finest. You will most definitely taste something you never have and you will have so much fun watching the precision with which it is brewed. Go do it.
Best Café Community Award presented by Red Espresso – Kirsty Reid
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, although it was not a category in the nominations, as through the over 1800 people who took the time to fill in the Nominee form, it is clear to see that some cafes have people that just absolutely love their work, and we LOVE that.
WINNER: MIKRO Coffee
"This is for you Hermanus!" Small towns really do have the biggest hearts. And MIKRO has obviously won all of the hearts in their town, one cup of coffee and connection at a time.
Coffee Team of the Year presented by BWT – Jayde Kennedy, Emile Berries, Ronan Best
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.
WINNER: Toro Coffee Roasters
Nominated for many years in this category, perhaps they have won this year for a reason. A team with more gees you'd be hard pressed to find and it shows in each coffee. I mean look at those matching trousers and white with a flash of green. Planned? They're all just on the same wavelength? TEAM.
Café of the Year presented by Nuova Simonelli represented by Paul Lukhele
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. It so hard to keep standards high and keep customers happy. All the nominees do that on the daily.
WINNER: Humble Coffee
Amy Gardiner is pictured below with Nomfundo Nyezi, her first ever employee at Humble Coffee back in 2019. An all women run cafe in an unlikely location, creating a destination and a haven for deliciousness and joy. You will definitely leave feeling better than when you arrived. And if a cafe can achieve and provide that for all that walk through the door, you know you're somewhere special.
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.
WINNER: Rosetta Roastery
Tim Porter accepted the award on behalf of the Roastery team led by Shannen Mackay. We know the work that has been put in to keep up consistency across the years, while staying true to their roasting philosophy.
Barista of Year presented by La Marzocco – Sinjon Wicks and Mike Khan
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!
WINNER: Thabo Moerane
"It's difficult to come up here and accept this alone, because this is for all the baristas. And for all their hard work. If I could have my wish, I would give this to all the baristas around the country."
And that's what you need to know about the spirit of Thabo Moerane. He's part of a team. Not just the team he loves at Bean There Coffee Roastery, but the broader team of baristas, who lift each other up and strive to give more everyday. He is an inspiration.
Thank you so much to everyone who attended. You are all appreciated and it looked like you had a good time, yay!