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 leading gamer-tainment destination. It boasts 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.
Winner of the BMW Supertech KZN Top Business Award - Tourism Category 2014, voted KwaZulu-Natal’s “Best Casino” for the 14th year running, in the 2017 Daily News Your Choice Awards, the 2014 Ask Afrika Orange Index customer service award winning in the Casino Industry category, and recipient of the 2016 certificate of excellence by TripAdvisor.
SUNCOAST Casino, Hotels and Entertainment continues to be an integral part of the Durban entertainment scene.
SUNCOAST has a gaming floor of over 7,000m2, with coinless SMART technology, 1,600 slot machines, 67 gaming tables, and an exclusive Salon Prive called 77 Ocean Drive for higher limit slots and tables.
SUNCOAST’s leisure, dining and retail options include 13 restaurants and fast food outlets, a kids’ entertainment arcade and an 8-screen Cinecentre cinema complex.
SUNCOAST opens onto a boardwalk which links to uShaka Marine World to the south and Moses Mabhida stadium and Blue Lagoon to the north.
There is a superb grassed area between SUNCOAST and the beach offering loungers and umbrellas for the beachgoer.
The SUNCOAST Durban complex also offers 5-star conference and eventing venues plus superior accommodation at the sea-facing Suncoast Towers and SunSquare Suncoast with its Balinese-style spa and stylish Jeera Restaurant.
SUNCOAST Casino, Hotels & Entertainment is owned by Tsogo Sun Gaming.