Calvin’s entry into coffee began behind the bar - a gateway to understanding coffee and deciding to focus. Cape Town is now his base after moving from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Skal Bar & Eatery has been one of his employers, now La Bien Bistro Bakery in Haasendal are lucky to have him. A focus on customer satisfaction has guided Calvin’s ambition to pursue coffee as a career.
When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?
I’ve been in the industry since 2016 when I moved to South Africa from Zimbabwe. I got a job as a waiter at Driftwood Café and soon after, my passion for being a barista started when I was approached by my manager to start working in the bar. I got trained on the different drinks and coffee was introduced to me. I then started to engage with the customers to observe what they really wanted, noticing that a cup coffee really brings a smile in the customers.
What's the status of specialty coffee in Cape Town?
Well, the specialty coffee scene has become more and more dense in the city. People are getting more and more educated and start to appreciate specialty coffee.
What types of people are suited to working in the industry?
I will say anyone with an interest in the hospitality industry and has customer service experiences. Your job as barista is to make people happy drinking your coffee and ensure that you have regular customers coming through the door.
If someone is new to coffee and looking to start out, what would you recommend they start with?
Well, I would say like anywhere start with the basics, seek training, research and most of all understand what the customers want.
Are there some central blog posts or websites that you go to gain more knowledge, develop further skills?
I use a Facebook page called Coffee Boy and Coffee & Events. In this page you learn about coffee machines, different types of coffees, individuals will post live videos and pictures.
What's next for your career? What's on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
I want to get more exposure in the coffee industry, work on consistency and see more customers appreciating my passion - most off all keep the smile in the customers.
Follow Calvin on Instagram via @calvinsibanda96