In what was undoubtedly a highlight of the JHB Coffee & Chocolate Show, six talented deaf baristas competed in the first ever Deaf Barista Competition at Montecasino, in front of a cheering crowd and the World Coffee Events All Stars, where Mduduzi Lukhuleni was named the overall winner.
Mduduzi, who works as a full-time barista at Spar Bean Tree in Melville, is the first Deaf Barista Champion as he successfully prepared four cappuccinos in his allocated time and succeeded in winning over the judges: George Bertolis (Technical Judge), Esther Maasdam (Sensory Judge and WCE All Star) and Lani Snyman (Head Judge). Not only has he walked away with the coveted title, but he was also awarded with R3 000 in cash prizes, sponsored by the Coffee & Chocolate Show.
The competition was held to raise awareness for the training of deaf people within the barista community and that you can now register for the Short Course in Barista Skills at UNISA, who have introduced this as part of their curriculum. UNISA are providing a sponsored opportunity for 30 deaf barista candidates to enrol in this course and the coffee community are encouraged to support this potential talent by sponsoring the stipend of a deaf barista (for the duration of their training), to the value of R2 700. You can contact Lani Syman (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or if you would like to pledge your sponsorship.
As a graduate of Ciro Coffee Academy, we are very proud of Mduduzi and know that he will be a good ambassador for the deaf community everywhere!