Brew&Tell with Simpiwe Mnyamana

Friday, 22 September, 2023

Interview and images by Ayanda Dlamini

Simpiwe Mnyamana is the embodiment of a free spirit, a character who infuses every aspect of his life with a sense of adventure and boundless enthusiasm. As a barista, his persona is as unique as his coffee creations, leaving an impactful mark on anyone fortunate enough to encounter him. 

Simpiwe’s creativity knows no bounds when it comes to choosing locations for his coffee brewing. When I had suggested that he shares his current favorite brewing method with me - that same day without hesitation he took me to the heart of Johannesburg’s CBD. There was a specific wall in particular he wanted to brew his coffee next to, a wall that has graffiti that catches his eye every time he passes it. I found the wall to be symbolic to his colourful and vibrant personality. Join us as we venture into this vibrant urban landscape, to sip on coffee with Simpiwe.

Your love for coffee, where did it begin ? 

My love for coffee started when I was young. I used to brew coffee for my grandmother, all the way from Kloof Coffee. Back then, I didn’t even really know what I was doing, I just knew that I was making coffee for granny. Fast forward a few years, I moved to Joburg in 2011 and things changed. I found myself in the coffee industry and obviously learnt more about coffee and all its complexities. 

As a professional barista, what is your favourite coffee equipment to use at home ? 

This one is easy for me, my favourite coffee equipment to use is a Chemex. This process always serves such clean coffee and for me, it’s an easy way to make good consistent coffee. It’s also just so beautiful, a Chemex will always win for me. 

So, what’s your recipe ?

My recipe really depends on how many people I’m brewing for at the time. Because Joburg has been getting warmer and summer is around the corner, my recipe today is for a Cold Chemex. 

Equipment & Ingredients: 

Chemex, Scale, Filter Paper, Spoon, Mug/glass of choice, Coffee and Ice!


  • Once assembled and placed onto the Chemex, wet/rinse the filter. Remove the filter and pour out excess water ( and reassemble the filter. )
  • Next, you place your Chemex onto a scale and begin to measure 200g of ice, of which is placed into the Chemex. At this point you can reassemble the filter and begin to weigh your coffee. 
  • Scoop and measure 35gs of your filter ground 
  • Pour enough water just to cover the 35gs of coffee for 30 seconds, allowing the coffee to bloom. 
  • Next you gently pour the remaining water, (200g total) - at this point the water is emerging with the coffee and dripping over the ice in the Chemex, creating a chilled coffee immersion, letting the mix of coffee grounds and water sit for 2-2:30 minutes. 

When it’s done, enjoy its delicious and refreshing qualities on one of those warmer summer days. 

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