BARISTA CHAMPION OF SOUTH AFRICA
Barista Mag: Before coffee, did you work in a different job or industry, or what did you study in school?
Lovejoy: I worked in the hospitality industry before and then as a lint classer. After that I was able to get myself a job at Origin Coffee Roasting.
BMag: How did you get started in coffee?
Lovejoy: I was just job hunting and didn’t have any job as I had just relocated from my country. I then got an opportunity from a guy who was training baristas for Origin at the time and I went for my training. After my training I was told to come back as I had shown some promise and talent, and from there it has been some good fun.
BMag: What was your first amazing experience with coffee?
Lovejoy: The moment I tasted great coffee for the first time. It was heavenly.
BMag: Who has been your greatest influence in coffee? Why?
Lovejoy: Well, I have been fortunate to meet quite a number of coffee legends, and Wayne [Oberholzer, Barista Champ of South Africa in 2012] has been a very big inspiration. I have the guys who roast for us at Origin Coffee, Mike and Jorge, who have been very instrumental in helping me grow and further understand this widely complex product. I have learned quite a lot from these guys and I still get inspired by some of the coffee greats from outside of this continent where I live.
BMag: What would you like to see change about the coffee industry/community?
Lovejoy: I would like to see more engagement, especially between the baristas and farmers. There are a few barista exchanges and forums around, but I would like to see more involvement between farmers of different regions and countries. Baristas already network in a great way through social media, but think we need to engage far more.
BMag: Name a coffee luminary (famous person) you would like to meet, and why:
Lovejoy: I am very excited that this year at the World Barista Championship I get to meet my favorite coffee luminary, Mr. Colin Harmon. I have watched several of his sets, his one from the recent WBC in Vienna really spoke to me about how I see what our coffee community is all about.
BMag: Name a barista you admire, and why:
Lovejoy: Wayne Oberholzer of Origin Coffee Roasting, a close colleague who is always willing to push the boundaries and who is always willing to help. He has a never-say-die attitude.
BMag: Do you have a favorite customer? If so, tell us about him or her.
Lovejoy: My boss, Joel Singer, is a very good critic of my work who has helped me rise through the ranks. Sounds strange as he does not pour a great cup himself, but he has the ability to criticize and create something out nothing.
BMag: Besides your own cafe, what cafe do you think everyone should visit?
Lovejoy: Prufrock. I think there is so much to learn from the guys there. Their approach to coffee and the service to the client is something that I aspire to give my clients every day. After all, we are in the service industry.
BMag: Which coffee producing country you would like to visit, and why?
Lovejoy: Ah, that’s easy: Kenya. I have fallen so much in love with coffees from this country and I would love to spend some time with farmers there.
BMag: What are your interests outside of coffee?
Lovejoy: Farming, as I grew up doing this. But I have a love for great music, as well as spending time with my family. That is always important to me.
BMag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Lovejoy: I think for most people in this type of industry, it naturally becomes the goal to own or run my very own cafe. I would love to extend it to a training school, and a place for people to enjoy both the taste and educational sides of coffee.
BMag: Is there anyone you would like to thank or who helped you prepare for the WBC?
Lovejoy: I would like to thank all the guys from Origin who gave me the courage to take part in this competition; the roasting team and my coach who spend their spare time helping me out; and Joel, my boss, for investing heavily in me on this journey. Also, South Africa as a whole for letting me represent the country at the World Championships, and SCASA for all their efforts in making sure that the competition has been a success. The list is endless. A big thank you to all who believed in me.
go fellow south african, lovejoy !!