Home bru Barista going national!
It has taken 3 years and over 300,000 cups of espresso based coffee drinks for 27 year old Lebo Mohoko, the barista based at SUNCOAST’s Café Vigour, to reap the rewards, which he recently did in grand style, when winning the KwaZulu-Natal round of the Tsogo Sun – Avanti Coffee National Barista Competition.
“My journey with coffee started three years ago when I joined the team at SUNCOAST’s Café Vigour,” says Lebo, “and since then I have not looked back.” The sponsors of the barista competition, Avanti Coffee Company, provide all barista training in the Tsogo Sun group, the coffee-making equipment, as well as the delicious 100% Arabica bean product.
“Our customers have become more knowledgeable and demanding as coffee has grown in popularity in recent years,” says Lebo, “but even though we offer a number of alternatives like Café Latte, Café Mocha, Café Americano and Espressos; Cappuccinos remain the most popular hot beverage on the Café Vigour menu.”
“Coffee has become my passion; it is such a versatile product allowing for creativity, not just in terms of the latte art, but also in the types of bean, ways of brewing, chilled options and so much more,” comments Lebo. “It’s my mission to produce excellence every time I prepare a coffee-based beverage for a guest!”
It was this attitude that won the barista the KZN regional round, which was held at the Westville Country Club.
“It was a first for me to show off my coffee-making skills in a competition of this kind, so I was nervous. I had to prepare two cappuccinos and two espressos for the judges, in the face of some stiff competition,” explains Lebo.
The contestant’s skills were measured on taste, presentation as well as their technical skills, by the judges, Jennifer Kuhn and Caroline Ncube.
“This was a nerve-racking experience as the competition took place at a neutral venue and I had to use unfamiliar equipment, but I relied on my passion for coffee which saw me through.”
The KZN winner walked away with a certificate, R 750 CASH prize, a visit to a coffee farm and a sponsored flight with accommodation for his trip to Johannesburg for the finals. “I’m nervous and excited about the finals in Gauteng and I am hoping I can make Café Vigour and SUNCOAST proud,” says Lebo.
“The regional rounds have produced some worthy winners and we are looking forward to an exceptional standard in Johannesburg,” says Paula Visser of Avanti Coffee Company.
“SUNCOAST is extremely proud of Lebo, he is popular with the Café Vigour clientele and has now formally established himself as a barista of note by winning the regionals,” says Daniel Wersig, F&B Manager of SUNCOAST. “We are eagerly anticipating the outcome of the Battle of the Baristas in Gauteng in November.”
The winner will receive a substantial cash prize and the title of Tsogo Sun – Avanti Coffee National Barista Champion 2017.
ABOUT SUNCOAST CASINO, HOTELS AND ENTERTAINMENT:
Influenced by the Art Deco style of Miami South Beach, SUNCOAST Casino, Hotels & Entertainment is Durban’s most loved entertainment destination. It boasts an unparalleled atmosphere from its location on Durban’s stretch of palm-lined beaches known as the Golden Mile and is within walking distance of the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.
SUNCOAST is an integral part of the Durban entertainment scene and is currently undergoing an expansive refurbishment that will see the expansion of the gaming floor with 1,850 slot machines, 71 gaming tables, opening of a number of new restaurants, The Barnyard Theatre as well as the launch of The Suncoast Globe, a multi-purpose eventing venue. The jewel in the Suncoast crown is the new Salon Privé situated on the upper level with 180-degree sea views with its opulent Art Deco design creating a world-class gaming experience.
With a choice of everything from the finest cuisine, to fast food and laid back coffee spots, Suncoast offers Durban dining for every taste. Catch all the latest blockbuster movies on the big screen at Suncoast Cinecentre with eight movie theatres to choose from and the largest 3D screen in KZN, the Supernova. There is more great family entertainment on offer at The Magic Company where the kids and young at heart can enjoy hours of fun with modern and classic arcade games.
Attached to the SUNCOAST complex is the luxurious Suncoast Towers and SunSquare Suncoast hotels which offer superior accommodation for the discerning leisure and business traveler. A stay at the hotel would not be complete without a signature treatment at the Balinese-style spa located on the 9th floor. The stylish Jeera Restaurant located in the hotel is also a must for a culinary experience never to be forgotten.
SUNCOAST Casino, Hotels & Entertainment is owned by Tsogo Sun Gaming.