In Travis Scott’s words, he’s “always been a coffee guy”. He got his start in coffee 9 years ago at a coffee shop where he soon learnt “I knew nothing”. In the past 9 years Travis has gained immense coffee knowledge and made a significant impact on the industry. In 2011 he was crowned SA‘s Barista Champion and travelled to Colombia for the World Barista Championship (WBC).
Colombia is currently the third highest producer of coffee in the world and has been one of the top coffee producing countries for many years. On his visit to Colombia, Travis went to El Grado Coffee Farm where he learnt about the production of Colombian coffee from planting, to picking, washing and drying, all the way down to composting. Travis also had the chance to visit a small coffee farm, experience coffee farming with an old local couple and even plant his own coffee trees. In addition to the coffee farms Colombia offers some other unique coffee experiences. The Finca San Alberto speciality coffee shop is one that stands out for Travis and all their other visitors. After a jeep drive up a steep mountain, you reach the speciality coffee shop with, according to Travis “a view like no other in the world”.
Moving back into Bogotá city Azahar Café, located in Parque 93, offers a choice of coffees from the Nariño, Antioquia, Huila and Quindío departments of Colombia. Like Origin, they offer alternative brew methods and pride themselves on their direct associating with coffee farms and their knowledge on the journey of a bean from the farm to your cup. A few kilometres south, in the busy Chapinero neighbourhood, Bourbon Coffee Roasters offer great coffee and a roasting experience.
Colombian culture and their coffee culture are inseparable. In 1995 the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, founded the National Coffee Park, a non-profit initiative for the preservation of the cultural and coffee heritage of Colombia. It is a theme park dedicated to the culture and history of coffee. It is the only one of its kind in the world. Travis visited the park in 2011 and attended the Show del Café (Coffee Show), a must-see in the park. The show uses traditional Colombian music, sing and dance to take you through the entire history of this grain, cultural traditions and coffee producing regions.
The Colombian coffee industry started decades before anyone in South Africa even knew what quality coffee was. Today however, SA’s coffee industry is catching up quickly. Travis says “the SA coffee industry has come a long way in my 9 years of being a part of it. The future of coffee in SA will be mind blowing”. All of us at Origin and, I am sure, the rest of the coffee industry in SA cannot wait to see what the future holds.
What we all do know is that the 2017 WBC in Seoul Korea is fast approaching. SA’s 2017 Barista Champ Winston Thomas (Origin’s Lead Barista), is currently working on his prep for the competition. Could he be the first South African competitor to break into the top 12?
A message from one SA Barista Champion to another:
“Do your best! Have fun and use this WBC as training, you will be there again!!!” – Travis Scott