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Barista Q&A- Fanie Botes (Industrial Coffee Works)

We met Fanie at the 2017 SA AeroPress Championships, and we spent some time with him talking about his coffee journey. Fanie is a full time barista at Industrial Coffee Works. This is a cool place, and next time we’re in Centurion, we’re pulling in there for sure! Industrial Coffee Works was named cafe of the week by Coffee Mag last year.

First off, where is home for you?

Home for me is in Centurion, Gauteng. Usually behind the machine at Industrial Coffee Works

How did you get into coffee?

I’ve been interested in coffee as long as i can remember, but I got my chance in the industry when I started out as a waiter at Industrial Coffee Works. During my time as a waiter, I started gravitating towards a more coffee-centered role, until recently when I was given the opportunity as a full-time barista

What have you spent the last year doing? Where have you travelled to?

Most of my travels have been local. Recently I have visiting places around Cape Town, Truth, Origin and the like. I am originally from the Cape. I grew up in Simon’s Town and still have family all over the Western Cape, so I visit places like Swellendam and Gaansbaai a lot.

This past year I’ve been learning and growing in and outside of my passion for coffee. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Dylan from Beaver Creek Estate in KZN, during a training course there – it was a pretty amazing experience. I’ve recently been working full time as a barista at Industrial Coffee Works, so most my attention is focused on that, although I have been competing in marathon running in between as well.

Tell us about your favourite customer

My favorite customer has to be a young man I see regularly in the store. He isn’t very talkative and doesn’t come across as friendly, so most of the staff don’t like serving him, but over time I got to know how he operates, and one day he walked in. I asked “Your regular order, sir?” he frowned and asked “Oh and what is that, do you suppose?” I confidently responded “Double shot cortado, dark blend?” His expression was priceless as he uttered “Please…”

Since that day I have been greeted with smile and a wave, and he still doesn’t have to ask for his coffee.

How did you get into the AeroPress?

AeroPress was the first manual brewing method I got into after I started appreciating specialty coffees. Norman, a barista at Beaver Creek, introduced me to it and I fell in love. I absolutely love the versatility it possesses, and I also love the fact that I have complete control over my brew. Although my home brewing collection now encompasses almost all forms of manual brewing, the AeroPress and its delicious brew has remained my favourite.

What’s your favourite way to drink coffee?

Apart from my AeroPress brewed at home, I enjoy drinking flat whites when I visit coffee shops or when I am at work.

When you’re not drinking coffee, what are you drinking?

Believe it or not, I am an avid tea drinker as well. A friend and I were chatting about it the other day, and we agreed that since we had started working in the specialty coffee industry, we have drunk more tea than we ever have.

What is in your coffee equipment arsenal at the moment?

I currently own an AeroPress, a French press, a mocha pot, a hario cold brew bottle, a fellow stagg pour over kettle, a porlex mini grinder and an acaia pearl.

Who is the most interesting person you have served coffee to?

For me personally, making coffee for Bouwer Bosch was a pretty cool experience.

If you could have coffee with anyone who would it be?

I’d love to sit down and chat with Matt Perger. His approach to coffee is incredible and I would just love to pick his brain about all of his coffee experiences and knowledge.

As a barista, do you travel a lot?

As I am just starting out in the industry, I am yet to travel a lot, but thus far, my travels have been incredible.

What is the most interesting coffee shop you’ve been to?

It’s a coin toss between Truth coffee and Origin in Cape Town. Seeing how incredibly skilled those baristas and roasters are was an amazing experience.

What coffee origin country would you most like to visit?

I would love to visit Ethiopia. Seeing the birthplace of coffee and how it has evolved into a coffee gold mine would be incredible.

How do you feel about being a contestant at the SA AeroPress championships?

It’s an amazing experience. I get to rub shoulders and get to know some of the big names in the industry. Being a part of something like this and being able to help write the ever evolving story of AeroPress in South Africa and in the world is huge honor.

If you ran out of beans, would you ever make a cup of instant coffee?

It’s something I do quite often. My household hasn’t embraced specialty coffee the same way I have, so I often enjoy a cup or two while sitting around the table with them, sweetened with two sugars of course.

What’s the best city in SA and what do you love about it?

To me it has to be Cape Town. The beauty and vibrant culture is incredible.

What are your future plans, goals in the coffee business?

To learn as much as I can. Hopefully one day I can apply my knowledge and play a part in sharing the wonders of specialty coffee and the rabbit hole of endless possibilities it encompasses with someone, enriching their lives with coffee as it has done with mine.

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