City becomes wine country in Durbanville, 20 miles outside Cape Town’s CBD and the location of Gangstar Cafe, a social enterprise offering training and employment opportunities for youth at risk. Barista Clint Avontuur is one of their team members, originally brought into the team after taking a barista course with The Message Trust. In this interview, Clint outlines his interest in the industry and points to some useful starting areas for others looking to make a career in coffee.

When did you start your career in coffee and how did you come across the industry?

I started my career in 2018. I heard about Baristas from The Message Trust and they took me to Learn to Earn to do a Barista Course. It was only then that I started being interested in coffee. I was intrigued by the techniques that some Baristas use, and I also fell in love with coffee.

What is the status of specialty coffee in Cape Town?
Coffee has quite a high standard in Cape Town. There are a few cafés that have made their name quite popular like Starbucks, Expresso and Vida Café. People love coffee and for some, it’s the first thing they need to kick start their day.

What type of people are suited to working in coffee?

Anybody can work with coffee; however, the most important thing is to have good customer service skills. You need to be friendly with customers, always have a smile on your face.

If someone is new to coffee and looking to start drinking it, what would you recommend they start with?
Espresso is the one to go for first, because of the different taste and the texture.

Are there some central blog posts or websites that you visit to gain more knowledge, develop further skills?
Definitely, I often visit the Starbucks website and barista skills for the love of art. Every day there’s always something new, so I visit a lot of barista websites sites to keep up with new trends. I keep myself inspired.

What’s next for your career? What’s on the horizon and what goals do you have for the coming three years?
In three years, I’d like to see myself in the roasting sector. I’m interested in being part of the process, roasting different beans, know more about the different types of roasts and with that being said, I believe that both skills of being a barista and knowing the roasting process are what’s going to elevate my career.

Follow Gangster Cafe on Instagram to see more of Clint and his teammates via @gangstar_cafe_sa