Coffee a recipe for social change in SA
Coffee lovers will tell you that their favourite beverage is not only about helping you wake up in the morning.
There's an art to consuming coffee and it's surprisingly versatile. From enjoying it warm to the refreshing iced coffee drinks that American television popularised to having it in your food and even as a cocktail.
Coffee-based desserts are extremely popular, just ask anybody who is a fan of tiramisu. Keep in mind when making anything with coffee that high quality, granular coffee is best to use as it dissolves quicker. Chef Nelly Dube says that coffee is a great meat tenderiser. "You can use brewed coffee as a marinade because it makes a meat tenderiser. It's also acidic and rich."
Why am I waxing lyrical about the virtues of coffee? Well today marks International Coffee Day, a day when coffee lovers all over the globe get to celebrate their favourite beverage.
This year the International Coffee Organization (ICO) has cast a spotlight on the plight of coffee farmers.
According to information on a petition by the ICO, the dramatic decline in coffee prices leads to small-scale coffee farmers earning less than one cent from the sale of one cup of coffee. The ICO has asked coffee lovers worldwide to sign its #CoffeePledge on change.org.
With an estimated three billion cups of coffee consumed worldwide how are South Africans affected by this beverage?
Coffee has become a vehicle for social change in the best way.
Ciro Coffee Academy started training deaf students six years ago to become baristas, which opened doors for youngsters like Leyla Suellen.
The 19-year-old, who is hearing impaired, even took part in this year's Ciro Deaf Barista Competition which is a joint venture with Hearing Works, in July. Hearing Works educates and brings awareness to previously disadvantaged communities on hearing loss and preventative measures. It also offers free hearing screenings.
Suellen says working in the coffee industry has been a great experience although she'd initially wanted to study project management.
"It has been a good experience; being a barista helps you learn different types of personalities by the coffee they drink."
Asked what hearing people can do to make her job easier, she said: "Have patience and understanding of our situation."
The bubbly Johannesburg native says her favourite brew to make is the cafe mocha because she's a chocoholic and loves the taste of chocolate-
Her remedy for overcoming challenges at work?
"When people are in a hurry, I smile and show them respect; it always works."