South Africa has a shortage of good Baristas. That’s why The Daily Buzz, which operates 12 coffee bars in corporate locations across Gauteng and an in-house coffee roastery, Craft Coffee, has launched the first South African developed and fully SETA accredited Barista training academy in Newtown, Johannesburg, this month (July).
Craft Coffee, one of the premier artisan roasteries in South Africa, is headed by 2013 South African and All Africa Barista champion, Lovejoy Chirambasukwa, and has been an integral part of the unique blend that has made The Daily Buzz a huge success.
Now, according to CEO, Andrew Brown, it will share another secret ingredient with the broader coffee community and help solve a critical problem – a shortage of Baristas.
“South Africa’s biggest problem is unemployment. But every new coffee bar needs at least five new Baristas! So we want to improve the quality of baristas’ skills, employ more people and improve their earning ability,” he points out
He says that the company’s Baristas have been the key to its success with both technical expertise and customer engagement being paramount. “Taking pride in the smallest detail, such as knowing repeat customers by name, has been a key differentiator for our business. We have proved the value of extensive investment in staff training and educate our staff as meticulously as we choose our coffee. There is very little they don’t know about great coffee and excellent service,” he says.
Already eight new students are en route to obtaining an NQF3 skills programme.
The course was developed by the Craft Coffee team with the help of the SETA recognised specialists at THRIVE.
After formal lectures in the classroom, trainee Baristas complete workplace assignments and present their ‘portfolios of evidence’ to the coffee gurus. The learner guide and workbook with which they are supplied provides a broad range of content that not only shows them how to clean and adjust a grinder so that it turns out the perfect espresso but also teaches them the ins and out of stock taking, storing coffee, hygiene, quality standards, service and customer interaction.
“We ensure that there is a technical / theory side and a practical side. For example, they get to learn about tasting – the various flavours, the different coffees and blends and the related aromas. They will be fully equipped to work as a Barista once they graduate. This will be a good stepping stone into the world of coffee,” says Chirambasukwa.
The participants are ultimately assessed in house as well as receiving their official results from SETA.
Chirambasukwa underlines the need for trained Baristas locally as well as internationally, adding that big centres such as Dubai are also on the lookout for accredited Baristas, providing local young trainees with exciting career opportunities.
“As coffee people, we have a passion for helping newcomers to the industry make a meaningful living doing something they love – working with coffee. We want to develop entrepreneurs who can make a living from making great coffee. Much of how we train our own people for our own coffee bars is in this course – it’s just now recognised and accredited.”
Jason Olive, who heads up Hospitality Placements which specialises in recruitment for the hospitality industry welcomed the creation of a local, accredited course and said he would be only too happy to receive resumes from Baristas who had completed this course. This would enable those pursuing a career in the coffee industry to aim for the top end of the salary scale which stretched from R4 000 to R20 000, depending on expertise and experience.
Brown is confident that there is a massive, untapped market for coffee in South Africa where the majority of people are still, surprisingly, tea totallers!
“But coffee is taking off and more and more people are drinking it. That’s why we have to keep continually bettering ourselves and being better Baristas to serve up the very best cuppa. We are proud that our course will be SETA accredited. We’ve built the training programme to ensure that learners can build on it by doing other courses at hospitality schools,” he says.
The Daily Buzz, too, is going from strength to strength. Last year, the company rebranded and redesigned its coffee bars and went beyond its corporate roots when it also launched a tour of its roastery in Newtown in Johannesburg. Customers can also now order coffee for home brewing online.
The company also makes most of its food in house at a central kitchen in Marshalltown that opens at 3 am to get food out early and fresh! 95% of what is brought in is sourced locally.
Brown says the company now counts Standard Bank, GrowthPoint, Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank, Attacq and EOH among its clients and employs more than 100 people. They are aiming to expand regionally and reach the 1 000 mark within five years.