Illovo Sugar Continues To Support SA’s Efforts To Produce A Barista World Champ

We always hear what happens to our sporting heroes, who sponsors them / when they are competing and where.  Isn’t it about time we do that with our food and beverage champs?  We are talking about SA Barista Champ gearing up for World Championships…..

This year’s SA Barista Champ will have an additional ace up his sleeve thanks to Illovo Sugar! In a continued effort to support and grow South Africa’s coffee industry Illovo decided to get behind this year’s SA Barista Champion, Ishan Natalie, by sponsoring a former SA Barista Champ to be part of his coaching team and support system leading up to and during this year’s World Championships. Coach and former SA Barista Champ who placed 15th in last year’s international competition, Craig Charity, will be accompanying Natalie to this year’s World Championships that will run from the 9th till the 12th of April 2015 at the Washington State Conference Centre in Seattle.

Charity made history when he moved South Africa up 20 places in last year’s competition and is hopeful that his support and advice will help spur this year’s SA competitor on to achieve an even better result. To that end Charity has been actively involved in assisting with preparations and sourcing of competition goods; and prior to leaving for the US, he will also be roasting the special coffee sourced specifically for this prestigious competition.

“It has been and will continue to be invaluable having the support of Craig who has done exceptionally well for our country in last year’s championship. I really appreciate how he, as well as the other the SA companies, my company, my team and the South African coffee industry in general are getting behind me towards the goal of winning the World Barista Championship,” said Natalie.

Always working towards introducing more and more people to good quality coffee Charity is also excited about his new upcoming venture, a stand-alone coffee bar set to open in the new Watercress Mall in Waterfall. Despite his many personal ventures in the coffee world Charity relishes instilling his love of coffee in others and passing on his knowledge. “I can’t put into words how amazing coffee actually is, it is like an international language that binds people from around the world together. When working with other baristas the first thing I try to do is get the other person excited about what he’s doing. In Ishan’s case I will be acting more as a friend and advisor with the ultimate goal of our partnership being to have this year’s champion stand on the shoulders of the one that came before him. That way South Africa will keep gaining ground until, one day, we win the World Champs!” enthused Charity.


Darrell de Wet, Marketing Manager for Illovo Sugar SA, is excited about how the coffee culture in South Africa has grown in recent years. According to de Wet it is essential to encourage those who, not only do well, but who are also passionate about this industry. “It is important to support someone like Craig, who is involved with the industry as a whole and deals with everything from coffee machines and understanding exactly how they work, to sourcing the right products and finally making the drink itself. When you want to grow an industry it is important to identify the leaders in the field and help them grow from strength to strength as that will help to grow the industry as a whole. Craig doesn’t just run onto the field and play, he is also involved behind the scenes from root level up to what actually ends up on a customer’s table,” said de Wet.


Charity is appreciative of Illovo’s continued support in his bid to keep advancing the South African coffee industry. “I don’t think many people know how much Illovo has already done for South Africa’s coffee industry to date, they really are one of the engines propelling the coffee industry in our country forward. Illovo, to me, is like a big brother who has come to the rescue on multiple occasions and who has allowed me to use their resources, financially and otherwise, to help better the coffee culture in KZN and South Africa,” he concluded.


Featured Image:

Craig Charity and Darrell de Wet


Author Info


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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