Lovejoy Chirambasukwa explains how his coffee journey began “My coffee journey began at Origin and it was after I had seen an article in the Cape Times. I saw this when I actually had 50c left in my pocket and I was buying what would be last ciggie. I was that guy who used to sit on the side of the road waiting for odd jobs so that I could get money to buy food. So Jake Easton had a tiny slot in the training school and just gave me a shot and from there I never looked back. I also cannot forget to mention Joel Singer for having founded this company as it has changed the lives of many people over the years.”
After his unusual start to coffee Lovejoy worked as a barista at Origin’s De Waterkant cafe. In 2013, he was crowned SA Barista Champion and his journey to the World Barista Championships began. Lovejoy explains “Everyone was very supportive as I was going to be representing the country. Wayne Oberholzer who was my coach, by then trying to calm me and of course I think it was a great achievement to have been able to go out there and just do what needed to be done. Lots of tasting different coffees having to put in the hours required to work my shifts in the café. I also remember Mike MacDonald roasting a coffee that would win best espresso and all these memories will forever be embedded in my heart”. The Origin team was, and still is, very proud of Lovejoy and all worked together to help him prepare for WBC in Melbourne, Australia
“The coffee scene in Australia is amazing and every place is trying to give their best. I think it was more like Cape Town but on a big scale” says Lovejoy. While in Australia for the competition he explored speciality coffee roasteries and cafés – “I would recommend Axil Coffee, Seven Seeds and Market Lane”. Axil Coffee is committed to giving the people of Hawthorn the best single origin, filtered and espresso coffee, their moto is “picked by hand, roasted by hand, served by hand”. Seven Seeds is a roaster and café who source, import, roast and sell what they believe to be among the best coffees around the world. Like Origin, Seven Seeds aim to maintain close relationships with coffee producers, regularly travel to origin to work on securing exceptional coffees. Market Lane Coffee is no different, their passion for traceability and quality of coffee is what makes them one of Melbourne’s best coffee stops.
“I can safely say that the coffee culture was not very different from that in Cape Town. Origin was on par with the world when it came to coffee quality and knowledge” explains Lovejoy. The industry continues to grow and advance, with focus shifting to quality and “consumers’ palates have evolved, they are not settling for a mediocre cup of coffee anymore. With players like Origin, Craft Coffee and Espresso lab, to mention a few, doing all the right things to improve on the coffee scene”. Lovejoy has undoubtedly made his mark on the coffee industry, while at Origin he trained and mentored Winston Thomas (2017 SA Barista Champion) and he is currently working at Craft Coffee Newtown Johannesburg.
A message from one SA Barista Champion to another:
“Winston has been one the greatest students I have had and I am very proud of what he has achieved and still being able to remain level headed. My advice for Winston is to be able to listen to the advice people will give but it is entirely up to you to select what is good and what is not. You must just go out there and show the world what you are capable of and let the judges be the deciders. You have what it takes and I say just go do your thing BOET!”