Tuesday, 1 November 2016

2016 Illovo Cafe Society Awards

On  the evening of the 25th October I was thrilled to have been able to attend the Illovo Cafe Society Awards. This year the awards were held at the lovely Bellevue Cafe in Kloof which was filled with KwaZulu-Natal’s top coffee cafe owners and baristas.

The Cafe Society Awards sponsors are the Sunday Tribune who started the Cafe Society in 1999 and Illovo Sugar SA who is now in its 16th year of sponsorship. This year’s panel included some of KZN’s very own stars with a taste for excellence, such as Darren Maule, Logie Naidoo, Vanessa Marawa and Sorisha Naidoo, who make up the 28 strong coffee critics judging the competition. Each and every judge undergoes a training workshop with top baristas before judging commences to ensure they understand precisely what constitutes a great cappuccino, and that they all use the same criteria.

Darrell de Wet, the Market Manager of Illovo Sugar SA, congratulated the Top 100 for their hard work and dedication in creating their cappuccinos. He also feels that this Cafe Society competition is a major reason why KZN have produced so many top class baristas. Illovo Sugar SA is also passionate about coffee and they have their own internal coffee programme called Good Coffee. 

Aakash Bramdeo, the Editor of the Sunday Tribune, says that the Cafe Society Awards are one of the highlights of the Sunday Tribune calendar. He thanked the judges for their hard work and said “I know how difficult it has been to try all that coffee”.

Here are the winners of the various regions :


1. Tea@Baytree (Southcoast Mall, Shelly Beach)
2. Daily Grind (Hibiscus Mall, Margate)
3. Beaver Creek Estate (Port Edward)

Owners of Beaver Creek, Tea@Baytree, Daily Grind


1. Counter Culture (Ballito)
2. Wonderland Coffee (LINC Church, Salt Rock)
3. Piccadeli Cafe (Ballito Junction)

Owners of Wonderland Coffee, Counter Culture, Piccadeli Cafe


1. Terbodore Coffee Roasters (Curry’s Post)
2. Sagewood (Pietermaritzburg)
3. Olde Duck Cafe (Drakensberg Gardens, Underberg)

Owners of Olde Duck Cafe, Terbodore, Sagewood


1. Lineage Coffee (Builders Way, Hillcrest)
2. Antique Cafe (Churchill Road, Morningside)
3. Bean Green (Glenwood)

Owners of Bean Green, Antique Cafe, Lineage Coffee

Best Barista

The winning coffee shops would not be where they were if not for their baristas.  Dirk Maritz said “Baristas are the centre of the coffee shop, the characters that bring people into the coffee shop. Baristas are no longer relegated next to the ice maker in the kitchen”.

This year the baristas were also split into regions and there was an overall winner.

North : Precious Ngcobo from Piccadeli Cafe

South : Princess Ntini from Tea@Baytree

Inland : Sinjin Wicks from Terbodore Coffee Roasters

Central : Kgune Dlamini from Lineage Coffee who was also the overall winner

Kgune Dlamini

Highly Recommended

Savior Brands, Morningside
Kaphine Korner, Berea
Jacksonville Cafe, North Beach
The Coffee Tree, Glenwood
The Talkhouse Cafe, Westville Mall
Lucky Bean, Assagay
Mark Gold, Morningside

Old Town Italy, Umhlanga Ridge
L’Edicola, Ballito
Steampunk Culture, Ballito
Hello Cafe, Durban North
Mayfair Cafe, Durban North

Mojo’s Cafe, Shelly Beach
Steam Cafe, Shelly Beach

Blueberry Cafe, Nottingham Road
Pizzology, Pietermaritzburg
La Popote (Sue Tarr’s Summerhouse) Hilton
The Coffesmiths, Nottingham Road
Steampunk, Nottingham Road
Bottega, Pietermaritzburg

Well done to Craig Charity (Lineage Coffee) for this amazing achievement of now winning three years in a row. Big congratulations also to Kgune Dlamini (Lineage Coffee) for picking up the title of Best Barista. This is now the second year that a barista from Lineage has taken the title. Hillcrest is again the official place to get the best cappuccino so head to Shop 2, Builders Way Centre, Builders Way Road in Hillcrest. You can also get divine cappuccinos at Lineage Coffee in Waterfall at the Watercrest Mall.

Inge Loker (Snap, Sizzle & Cook) and myself


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