Coffee “university” opens in Johannesburg

{ Posted on Aug 14 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

Last week illycaff cemented its commitment to growing coffee culture in South Africa with the launch of the Universit Del Caff at its offices in Village Deep, Johannesburg. This is the 18th coffee "university" of its kind in the world, and a first for Southern Africa.

Universit del Caff of Trieste was established ten years ago in Italy by illycaff with the sole aim of promoting, developing and disseminating the culture of quality coffee throughout the world. Many of the institutions are linked to formal universities.

The illy brand has been around since 1933.

The aim of the training facility is to become a centre of excellence by enhancing the culture of coffee and providing appropriate levels of focus to every aspect of coffee, from plantation to the preparation of the perfect cup of coffee.

Out from Italy especially for the event were Roberto Morelli, director of coffee culture and Universit del Caff of Trieste, and Moreno Faina, educational and professional course director and coordinator at the Universit del Caff of Trieste.

Veteran in the coffee business and illycaff, director of No Doubt Importers Christos Kellaris, was thanked for his efforts to grow the brand locally by raising awareness in the hospitality industry and domestic environment since 1994. His son Michelangelo Kellaris is also part of No Doubt Importers and is responsible for the Universit del Caff in Johannesburg, with Mano Paxinos as director of the institution.

Roberto Morelli said in his opening address: "South Africa is a surprising country for its economic dynamism and its cultural diversity. This is also the year that South Africa hosts the FIFA World Cup Soccer. The 'Made in Italy' and the Italian lifestyle exert a great attraction here. This is one of the reasons why the culture of coffee is gaining ground in South Africa, in particular the Italian espresso and cappuccino that the activities of Universit del Caff will spur, feed, and enrich of different contents."

"Our premises in Johannesburg provide a modern and well equipped facility. In South Africa we are already working at some important academic partnerships, in order to combine our business with the Universit del Caff training of the South African baristas, chefs and restaurateurs of the future, as well as getting accreditation for these courses from the South African government. We see this as a great opportunity in the transferring of skills to entry level job seekers," he explains.

The courses are structured with core parts customised for people with different backgrounds and needs. They cater for novices to connoisseurs and professionals working in the food and beverage industry, and include: coffee expert, creative coffee and master barista. The latter course has been created in collaboration with the champions of the World Barista Championship.

The course offerings will equip attendees with best practices and tools to develop and improve their competency in coffee, and to deepen the theoretical and practical knowledge of the whole coffee culture process, from coffee beans to espresso.

Lectures will be conducted by a team who has been trained in Trieste, consisting of Mano Paxinos, Michelangelo Kellaris and Mawethu Nikani.

All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance from the Universit del Caff or be certified as a Master Barista by attending the intensive three-day course. The courses do carry a fee of around R2000 per day, with customers qualifying for a 40% discount. The first course will be held on 15 July 2010.

"The barista is responsible for the biggest profit contribution to stores, but they are underappreciated. If trained and recognised in the workplace, they won't move around as much. We look to nurture small businesses. The hospitality industry is growing and a major employer in the country," adds Paxinos.

So far illy has trained some 13 000 people at its training centres worldwide, with the first opening in Naples in 1999. New Universit del Caff are scheduled to open in Thailand, Indonesia and Norway. Following that the company is looking at New Zealand and Chile.

Illycaff produces and market a single blend of espresso coffee. It serves over six million cups of espresso coffee every day in over 140 countries and in more than 50 000 restaurants and coffee bars.

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