Many of our regular guests have mentioned our delicious coffee. It’s all due to a journey we started a few months ago with Sikiela Dibela, from Siki’s Kofee Kafe.
We engaged Sikilela Dibela to come to Stellenbosch, train us in the latest barista techniques and advise us on our coffee. He did all that and taught us so much more. Meet our Mr Coffee.
Q. What do you love about coffee?
Firstly, I love the smell of good coffee. I love tasting different blends; there are so many flavours that you can get from coffee. My favourite these days is to have a cortado, which is a blend of espresso with milk, but it is smaller than a standard flat white.
Q. What is your favourite blend?
The blend that we use at Oude Werf. It’s from Quaffee and is a mix of African and South American beans: 3 African Sisters (Rwanda), Limu (Ethiopa) and Londrino (Brazil)
Q. Please tell us about your background in coffee
I dropped out of high school at the end of grade 9 and went to college for two years. I did electrical engineering but did not enjoy it; I was just keeping myself busy. I then got a job as a dishwasher at Vida e Café as a casual.
That was 2006. After a year or so I got the chance to start making coffee. I was very excited because I hated washing dishes! In 2008, I was asked to be the assistant manager at Willowbridge. After 6 months there, I moved to Claremont as manager. I really enjoyed that experience and was thrilled when I was then asked to go to London in 2010 to open a new store in Regent St. I spent two years in London and had the most incredible time.
Soon after I came back, I decided it was time to move on and I left Vida in the middle of 2012. My ambition was to start my own business. But I was not yet ready so I spent the next four years working at a few different coffee shops, most importantly at Starlings Café in Claremont for three years.
Q. How did you get into the training side of the industry, and what has been the focus of your input at Oude Werf?I started training people in the art of making good quality coffee back in my Vida days. I also did a lot of training when I was at Starlings. It is something I enjoy and am good at.
The training at Oude Werf is a basic barista foundation training, which includes grinder settings, tamping, running a shot of espresso, making the milk and then blending the milk and coffee. We also focus on how to interact well with the customers – there are many people from different parts of the world and it is important to be able to engage with them.
Since the foundation training, I have done some follow-ups to ensure that there is further development and that the quality and standards are maintained.
Q. Consulting and training isn’t your sole area of operation, is it?
I always aspired to start my own business but I didn’t really know how to achieve that. I thought of having a mobile unit; I also considered creating a training school for baristas but I eventually had a good idea to open a coffee shop in the township where I live.
My mother had built a garage on the side of the house in 2015 and we realised that we could use it to create a coffee shop. I opened Siki’s Kofee Kafe a year ago on 16 May 2016.
Since then we have done a lot of different things to transform the garage into a place that is comfortable for people to come and relax.
Q. How did you connect with Oude Werf?
One of my Vida customers became my friend, coach and mentor. Tony Dallas has had a long relationship with the Petousis family who own Oude Werf Hotel, the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, and the Townhouse Hotel in Cape Town’s CBD. Tony knew that they wanted input regarding the coffee offering at Oude Werf and so he recommended me to them. The Oude Werf and other hotels in the Petousis group have all been very generous in supporting me.
To contact Sikilela, please call 082 369 8229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.