ASITD SA 2022: A New Champion is Crowned!

Saturday, 4 March, 2023

In this competition, there are always a few surprises!

And that's why we love this format. Blind and anonymous tasting by the judges always means that there are fascinating results and it is impossible to predict!

On Friday 3rd March 2023, we gathered at Genio Roasters in Johannesburg and we were joined by the online community, to discover what twists and turns this competition had in store this year.

And it did not disappoint...

Congratulations to Mike Ralph of Scorpio Coffee Roasters!

Now Mike was joining in online from an oil rig in Saudi Arabia, because he is an engineer by profession. That analytical brain obviously means that when he approaches a coffee, he wants to get the best out of it functionally! Scorpio is a micro-roastery based out of Stellenbosch.

There are a couple interesting things about his win. Firstly, because of his travel for his day job, he had to submit his coffee super early, which meant that when the judges were tasting them, they had been resting for 3 weeks. 

Secondly, when we were chatting to Stevo Kuhn, current SA Barista Champion and who kindly pulled our Top 10 espresso submissions, about what ratio he would use for an espresso blend of the three coffees supplied, he basically outlined Mike's exact ratio. And folks, it was the espresso round that was the decider after a hotly contested Cupping Round.

We got hold of Mike and he had this to say: "I am offshore in Saudi at the moment, and the connection was so bad that I missed the 10th position announcement, and assumed it was me!  

"Thank you for running such an awesome competition" 

Second placed Shaun Aupiais had an effusive, emotion-filled message as he found out the news: "There is very little I can say, we watched the presentation from start to finish - I was so stressed out this morning, before the announcement. I put my heart and soul into roasting this coffee. I am absolutely blown away. Thank you to everyone for putting on this competition, we absolutely loved it, we do it to honour the farmers and the community and it means so much to us!" 

In third place, Ettienne Broodryk from Toro Africa in Potchefstroom, was present at the awards and was able to receive his third place trophy in person - which, by looking at the plaques on the trophy is starting to boast some illustrious names these days!  "I'm so, so happy with this" he said afterwards. "I was so honoured to make Top 10 and I was hoping for at least a Top 5 finish, so to get this trophy is an incredible feeling!" 

Looking at the rest of the Top 10, there are some extremely exciting new Roasters coming up through the ranks, and we are excited to begin the 2023 A Shot in the Dark season, which will kick off in the next few weeks!  

Thank you to all of the 53 roasters who came along for this wonderful journey. And thank you to all our amazing partners who make this event possible. Always wonderful to get the community together!

Special mention to new roaster Pascal Bauwens of Above Ground who only started roasting last year and achieved the highest Cupping Round Score . All roasters will receive detailed feedback from Mike Mac Donald in the coming weeks. This is one of the most important aspects of the competition so that roasters can learn from their experience here.

Here are the FInals scores:

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