Our Baristi

Despite the fact that Urban Grounds does not have a location, we are still a team, and our baristas are part of our family. You can currently find both Peleka and Sipho at Cafe Jiran near the Blue Waters hotel on the Durban beach front. If you click your heels are wish really hard, you might also find Ben there.

In English jargon, the term “barista” refers to one who has acquired some level of expertise in the preparation of espresso-based coffee drinks. Within certain circles, its meaning is expanding to include what might be called a “coffee sommelier;” a professional who is highly skilled in coffee preparation, with a comprehensive understanding of coffee, coffee blends, espresso, quality, coffee varieties, roast degree, espresso equipment, maintenance, latte art, etc.

The word barista (plural: baristi [masculine or mixed sex] or bariste [feminine]) is of Italian origin. In Italy, a barista is a “bartender,” who typically works behind a counter, serving both hot (such as espresso) and cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

SIPHO “SIP’S”

Birthday: 17/04

Favorite colour: Red

When and where did you fall in love with coffee? At Urban Grounds!

Do you have a “coffee hero” or a barista you want to be like? Yes, my trainer Ben Carlson and Klause Thomson (Denmark).

What is your most memorable pour? Where did it take place? In the competition heats at The Regional Barista Champs in The Good Food and Wine Show 2008.

What is your favourite espresso based beverage? The Lite White Berry.

What is the one barista tool you can not live without? My barista cloth and tamper.

If you were a coffee super hero, what would your super hero name be? Urban Warrior.

In what year do you hope to be World Barista Champion? 2012.

What are you thinking about as you pull those espresso shots? I’m thinking of myself taking a coffee tour around the world to the best coffee farms and coffee roasters.

DIRK (a.k.a. “Bean Man”)

Birthday: 19/12

Favourite colour: Green

When and where did you fall in love with coffee? June 2008, at the Hostex Show in Durban.

Do you have a “coffee hero” or a barista you want to be like? Yes, Ben Carlson.

What is your most memorable pour? Where did it take place? I have not had that many! I did pour a heart at Urban Grounds with Sipho and Vuyo looking on.

What is your favourite espresso based beverage? The Lite White Berry.

What is the one barista tool you can not live without? The Grinder!

If you were a coffee super hero, what would your super hero name be? Bean Man Arascutty.

In what year do you hope to be World Barista Champion? 2010.

What are you thinking about as you pull those espresso shots? I’m thinking about how many people have played a part in the making of that espresso shot. From the growers to the roasters to me.

PELEKA “PELS”

bio coming soon.

BEN (aka “BEN DLAMINI” and “ENRIQUE” )

Ben is our resident barista trainer. If you want to see him in action, get there early on a Wednesday.

Birthday: 19/07

Favorite color: “Crema” brown

When and where did you fall in love with coffee? Working my way through Winona State University at an artisan roaster/coffee shop.  Pulling shots of espresso till late at night, drinking my fare share to make sure “they were right” and chasing them with mug after mug of  my favorite Guatemalan filter coffee.
Do you have a “coffee hero” or a barista you want to be like? I really enjoyed training under Klaus Thomsen (2006 World Barista Champion). He has developed a great coffee brand, roastery, training, consulting, and community with the Coffee Collective (http://www.coffeecollective.dk/) in Denmark.

What is your most memorable pour? Where and when did it take place? A rainy Durban spring not too long ago.  I was waiting to do some training and pulling shots of espresso to check what the humidity was doing to my grind.  After a slight adjustment to our Mazzer Super Jolly (sorry old boy, a Compak is on the way to replace you next week) the most beautiful golden flecked demitasse of espresso emerged.  A perfect 25 seconds.  Aromatic with thick “tiger-striped” crema.  The Caramel sweet with roasted walnut flavor that I am always trying to coax out of the LaMarzocco GB5 came to life (as for the pour, I couldn’t waste such a perfect shot by adding milk)!

What is your favorite espresso based beverage?
Espresso. Ok… and doppio con panna


What is the one barista tool you can not live without?
My tamper. Weighted and worn in. Convex on the bottom.  Smooth to the grip.  Easy on the eye.
If you were a coffee super hero, what would your super hero name be? “Triple Espresso”

In what year do you hope to be World Barista Champion?
Right now I am trying to become a World Barista Champion judge.  I hope to do that by 2010.  And then compete and win the WBC by 2012.

What are you thinking as you pull those espresso shots?
“Do I have to give these away?”

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