Joburg barista on Alternative Coffee Brewing Methods!


How do you do?

I mentioned in my last post on coffee that I’d drop a quick interview with a Joburg barista, with a focus on alternative brewing methods.

Quick background, I met Mbonisi Bamala in my neighborhood coffice Origin Coffee Roasting in Maboneng, Johannesburg. He was always happy to demonstrate some alternative brewing methods for me and was referred to by other baristas in the shop as the go to guy for pourovers!

Origin Coffee barista joburg
Mbonisi Bamala at Origin Coffee Roasting Maboneng

How he got into Coffee? His training began at Mischu Coffee in Cape Town but it definitely didn’t end there, hopping from one coffee shop to another learning as much as he could. He tells me,

“I chose to focus on the scientific side of coffee (perfect espresso extraction, proper milk temperature etc.) instead of the latte art since I’m obsessed with good quality.”

Told you specialty coffee is not far from chemistry! That’s what makes it amazing, buuuut very complex and probably frustrating at times might I add. I say this because true coffeeΒ connoisseurs are ALWAYS on the hunt for the ‘perfect cup’. Theoretically, the perfect cup is one where the extraction gets everything that is desirable out of the coffee, leaving behind all that is undesirable!

So while in Cape Town, Mbonisi always wished to work for some of the best coffee roasting companies but found it a mission to find the opportunity while at the coast. He eventually moved to Johannesburg in 2016, which is when he started working at Origin Coffee Roasting – “The best coffee company in Africa” he says. I don’t disagree πŸ˜€

Without further ado;

Mbonisi’s favorite alternative brewing method?

“My favorite alternative brewing method is the V60 Pour over. This method produces low body, high acidity and a clean cup. I’m into light roasted African coffees with heightened acidity levels, this method is the best for me since I like good quality.”

and his least favorite method?

“My least favorite brewing method is the Plunger/French Press because it produces a cup with a lot of oils and fines. It lacks clarity due to the heavy body and aromatics in the oils thus making it difficult to taste the unique characteristics of different coffees. “

If you’re new in the coffee game?

“For someone new to coffee I suggest the Plunger/French Press. It may be my least favorite brewing method but the oils and fines help train and adjust the palate making it easier for one to understand coffee when they decide to try other better brewing methods.”

What does he suggest to be the best method for home use?

“The best brewing method I suggest for home use is the Aeropress. It’s one of the easiest, quickest brewing methods, has similarities to the espresso and is very easy to wash. The Aeropress can be easily carried around especially when traveling. It’s not bulky and doesn’t break easily like other brewing methods.”

Mbonisi also shared with me his experience at the 2017 Gauteng Regional Barista Championships where he came in 9th –Β  pretty good as this is a provincial competition…

“It was my first time competing, my main motive was to learn more about the competitions and connect with other baristas in the industry…I learn’t that there’s more to coffee than just knowledge and beautiful latte art.”

More to coffee you say?

“Baristas tend to focus on the origin of the bean, processing methods and the bean’s characteristics. The journey of the coffee from the farm to the cup is only told by a few who work for roasteries with a farmer-roaster relationship. During the competitions I listened to my competitors’ speeches and only a few mentioned how coffee affects the daily lives of farmers families and the communities they live in.

I learnt more on how the coffee money is used to improve the infrastructure, modernize the farming and processing methods to increase the yield of better quality coffee. The greater the yield the more lives improved in these coffee farming regions. I always make sure I pour my best cup every time and tell a much deeper bean to cup story.”

Yes! A conscious barista. The journey the coffee you drink goes through is one that many take for granted. It’s important we educate drinkers about the effort, heart, and hard work that go into their beverages.

NOW PLEASE, how about some key tips for brewing

a perfect V60 coffee for readers?! πŸ˜€

“Firstly a pourover is a brewing method similar to the drip filter coffee but with this you have more control.

People use different dosages when preparing the pourover but the method is the same everywhere.

Water temperature and the grind size are the most important factors when brewing using the V60 method. The grind size has to be determined by the age of the coffee and that affects the water temperature.

You don’t want to use boiling water on a finer grind as it will burn the coffee thanks to the larger surface area of the coffee. So finding the perfect grind is the trick.

The brewing ratio is another factor that needs to be paid attention to. The amount of water and ground coffee have to balance out to avoid over/under extraction.

Experimenting with different dosages will help improve one’s skills of making a V60 pourover. By paying attention to these factors you can achieve the perfect V60, well it might not be perfect to someone else since people have different palates πŸ˜€ “

If you’ve read this far then you mean business! Thank you!! I hope you learned something new today, be it about coffee or about local talent in the coffee industry. #SUPPORTLOCAL #SUPPORTYOUTH

That’s it for now homies! I’m dedicated to bringing you more coffee content in the coming weeks so leave your email in the box below if you’d like an update!

Peace and Hair Grease!

Your Girl,





Add yours →

  1. This was such an interesting interview! I’m always interested in these kind of things, I absolutely love coffee haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Me and my entire office are coffee addicts! One of my managers actually worked as a barista during his teenage years so does show us some cool tricks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LOVED this. I love reading about the effects of different coffee preparation techniques on the coffees taste and body,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was such an interesting read! I currently use a French Press, but can see what he was saying about it. I own an AeroPress that I have yet to try, so I think now I’ll give it a shot! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was a really interesting post! I use French press at home but sounds like I need to upgrade to the aeropress!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yay! I love when bloggers post interviews to share the perspective of industry experts. Thanks for sharing Mbonisi’s knowledge and expertise with your readers. πŸ™‚ I enjoyed reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved reading this, there’s a whole science in brewibg coffee and I’m getting to know that thanks to pieces like this. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a great interview! I love coffee and never have thought of these alternatives! He is doing an amazing job!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a huge coffee lover, this was such an interesting read! I’ve been thinking of attending a coffee tasting class here in London and your article inspired me to start looking for one today! x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not really a coffee person but I this interview made me think twice about it would love to try it out maybe might find pleasure in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So I thought I was doing something with my french press, lol. I love learning about how other places brew and view coffee. Where I live in Atlanta, GA USA, some baristas are so good, its like an art. This was cool to read

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! It’s both a science and an art. The art is more apparent in the presentation method where we see what is called “latte art” – it’s crazy difficult but actually only the surface of what coffee is really about! Glad you enjoyed the read! πŸ™‚


  12. Reblogged this on desuzacoffeesblog and commented:
    #OriginAfrica#originuganda#our media team decided to share this amazing piece and interview to the world .There is so much potential from Africa in this current generation,The sky is nolonger the limit.

    Liked by 1 person

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