South Africa’s coffee consumption is reportedly growing at approximately 6% per annum and the market continues to develop across a number of areas outside of sheer volume. The quality of coffee and the importance of speciality coffee beverages emerge as key trends that are positively shaping the future of the local market. This, according to the SA Coffee Landscape Report 2017.
In the same way that wine palettes change over time so too do coffee palettes. Considering that for example red wine contains up to 320 volatile aromatic compounds, while coffee has a whopping 900 and counting compounds, it becomes clear just how complex the art of coffee-making is. For coffee lovers looking for something different, vida e caffè has therefore just launched a delicious new limited edition blend called Auriga, that delivers a bold, rich taste of Africa.
vida’s original blend called Estrela, which is Portuguese for “star” has become a daily staple for countless people since the brand launched in 2001. Today with over 200 stores nationwide. Now with the launch of Auriga, the Latin word for “charioteer” and the name of a constellation, vida is the first national, speciality coffee chain to offer an additional blend in espresso form – significant given the maturation of the coffee market in South Africa. Together, the two offerings introduce a stellar theme that will see more limited edition blends launched seasonally that tie into the idea of a “constellation of coffees”.
Auriga brings another important first for vida, as it’s the first time that African beans – globally acclaimed for their great quality – are being used. In fact beans from the African region are among the world’s most expensive.
“While our Estrela blend, which we affectionately refer to as our “house blend” will always remain a constant, we felt that in order to stay true to our ethos of coffee excellency, we wanted to offer variation for our customers who might sometimes want something different,” says Darren Levy, CEO of vida e caffè.
Auriga is being rolled out nationally and will soon be available in most stores. “Coffee is in fact seasonal and we wanted to explore this notion through new limited edition blends that stay on trend for evolving palettes. Towards the end of the year we’ll launch the next ‘star’ in our ‘constellation of coffees’,” concludes Levy.
The intense process of developing a new blend has been one year in the making and has seen vida partner with the country’s most renowned specialist coffee consultant, Charles Denison. As one of only two licensed Q-Graders (Coffee Quality Institute) in South Africa, Denison has spent time in the coffee fields of ten of the major growing regions of the world. Together with Denison and other hand-selected taste-makers, vida held twelve different cupping sessions in order to perfect the delicious Auriga blend.
Denison is an experienced coffee professional second to none – with nine years in the agro-commodity industry. He has also worked for one of the top four largest Arabica coffee suppliers and has been exposed to the full coffee chain at origin, from growing to export. This includes green bean trading (both physical and derivatives), hedging, logistics and shipping, and small-scale farmer advancement through rural agronomy training and certification. This experience included dealing with some of the world’s largest coffee roasters to the most specialised.