Cappucino Art From The Heart

Summer made a bold appearance recently as the 2016 Hospitality Academy Barista students made their way from Hazyview Digital Learning Campus to Nelspruit. The sudden increase in heat may have been the reason for the quiet, unsure start to the field trip, where the students made a visit to The Food Fundi café in Neslpruit. Perhaps it was just nerves or the unknown? Whatever it was, it quickly changed when Jason Powell, the owner and master taste creator, came to give an introduction about himself and this bustling Lowveld hot spot. After a brief introduction to Good Work Foundation (GWF), the students all got to introduce themselves and share what it is they love about coffee.

“I love coffee because you can drink it at any time of the day” said Thokozo Ntandana. “I love the aroma so much I want to wear it as a perfume”, added Faith Ndlovu. After all this java talk, it was time to put the student’s new skills to the test. Hearts were beating fast as two students were selected to take part in a fun blind tasting, where GWF students would make a cappuccino along with a fully trained Food Fundi barista, Thabisile.

The new machine took a bit of getting used to but soon, three beautiful cappuccinos were presented to Jason to sample and see if he could trace the maker. Being the expert and “fundi” he is, he quickly picked up the difference in presentation, but noted that other than the “pretty pictures” the cappuccinos were all similar tasting and a great effort. Jason went on to share some other tips and tricks, which really captured the attention of the students.

It wasn’t long before all the students were gathered around the coffee machine, getting ‘a hands’ on lesson from the guru himself. The students got to smell and taste the difference between a perfectly pulled espresso shot and a burned or watered down coffee. He highlighted the importance of coffee taste to customers – explaining that these subtle details are the difference in customer retention. Students also got to learn how to make the perfect foam and even how to do cappuccino art.

Each student got to make their own cappuccino under the guidance of Jason and then sit down to enjoy it along with a mixture of blue velvet cake, cheese cake and chocolate brownies. Teaman Manzini, Hazyview Digital Learning Campus’ Barista facilitator, concluded the coffee making with a perfect cappuccino, which all the students had to view and celebrate! Jason’s passion for great coffee infused the learners and it was very clear that the name Food Fundi is spot on – it is exactly what he is.

Excitement and caffeine levels were high as students compared coffees and shared delicious cake. “Im going to make this cappuccino tomorrow” said Thandeka, “and you are going to taste it!” “Anytime”, I responded, “anytime!”

A brief note: The Hazyview Digital Learning Campus offers hospitality training as one of its core career-training programmes. A sub-module of this programme is the barista course, which enables rural South Africans to make coffee to the same standard as baristas in the major coffee-loving cities of the world. With Mpumalanga being one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations, the barista training course is producing skills that are in high demand in many of the top luxury safari lodges. We thank local business owners like Jason for assisting us to build the confidence and exposure of our incredible students.

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It wasn’t long before all the students were gathered around the coffee machine, getting a hands on lesson from the guru himself.

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Jason went on to share some other tips and tricks, which really captured the attention of the students.

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Teaman, the Barista facilitator, concluded the coffee making with a perfect cappuccino, which all the students had to view and celebrate!

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Each student got to make their own cappuccino under the guidance of Jason and then sit down to enjoy it along with a mixture of blue velvet cake, cheese cake and chocolate brownies.

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The Barista students with the facilitators and the owner of The Food Fundi, Jason Powell.

Written By: Verena Wagner

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