PROMOTION: Competing with the best

Stereo Café owner and competitive coffee roaster, James Kilbourn. PHOTO: EYE POETRY PHOTOGRAPHY

James Kilbourn, the owner of Stereo Café, is not afraid to showcase his coffee roasting skills. He is one of ten roasters who will be taking part in “Shot in the Dark” – South Africa’s first roasting competition. “Each contestant will receive the same coffee to roast to highlight its best characteristics. There will be two international judges and we’ll share our experiences at the Creative Coffee Week in Durban in July,” he said excitedly.

“I remember spending Sunday mornings on my parents’ bed with coffee and homemade rusks, laughing and sharing stories. In London, I’d sit in cafés writing letters or reading, sipping cappuccino. Coffee brings people together, comforts us when alone. It’s not why I started roasting and serving coffee, but I have created a haven to laugh, share stories or be alone.” These fond memories have led Kilbourn to create a business which not only has a great client base in Bloemfontein, but across the country too.

“Since 2013 I have received wonderful support and feedback, inspiring me to continue improving. Clients remark on how good the coffee is; I strive towards consistency in how I roast the coffee and how it’s prepared. Customers know what to expect and that they will be satisfied, whether at the cafe or buying beans for home.” Kilbourn loves sharing his appreciation for coffee with others. “I love to share my passion. Coffee has an intricate history, and how and where it is grown, harvested, processed, roasted and prepared affect its flavour. Once you are aware of these complexities you will appreciate coffee much more.”

He concluded that coffee is his beverage of choice as for him, it provides comfort. “There is a psychology behind it – it’s not the caffeine craving. Other drinks have more caffeine, but they’re not what you want in the morning. Coffee can be served as filter, plunger, espresso, cappuccino and more – hot or cold. Few other beverages have so many variations.” – Seithati Semenokane