Wayne Oberholzer, two-time South African Barsita Champion (2012 & 2015) and SA Cup Taster's Champion, is someone you take seriously when he starts talking about coffee.
Wayne has quite a coffee history, having worked his way up through the ranks of Origin and Deluxe Coffee and having travelled to exotic parts of the world in pursuit of his coffee passion. He now focuses his attention on his businesses: The Portland Project which offers roasted coffee, equipment and training relevant to the industry; and Cape Coffee Beans, a successful on-line store that supplies everything a coffee-lover could need.
He has represented South Africa at the World Barista Championships, once in Vienna, once in Ireland and has earned himself well-deserved kudos in the halls of coffee fame.
So, recently, when invited by Fair Cape Dairies to join them at their dairy for a talk given by Wayne, I jumped at the chance.
I've always been interested to learn more about the commercial technicalities of milk and milking. It seems to me modern cows are different to the ones I used to try and milk as a child on the farm. Those cows had big bottoms, gentle eyes and stomped and kicked when I didn't do it right.
The cows at Fair Cape are all business. They are healthy, plump and get in line for their milking session like soldiers lining up for a parade. They do still complain, though, if the milking machine doesn't fit properly.
Fair Cape Dairies do everything ensure that the cows are treated properly within a clean, spacious and peaceful environment. There is no getting away from the fact that this IS a business. Cows are artificially inseminated and, when the calves are approximately 2 years old, they themselves are ready for insemination. Calves are removed from their mothers on the day they are born, in order to stimulate the mother’s milk production. The cows work in the milking parlour for about 10 years and their well-being is minutely monitored through various digital and traditional methods by an in-house vet. There are over 3,000 cows, each delivering 40 litres of milk a day, which is also used for other products like yoghurt, flavoured milk and desserts.
But it was the milk itself that Wayne Oberholzer was there to tell us about – and how it is crucial to the taste of coffee. He believes that full cream milk is the way to go...
Full cream milk's fat content is actually 3% whereas low fat can be anything from 1.7-2.3%. The difference is not on the hips but in the taste. Full cream milk has a richer texture and a slight sweetness that tickles the taste buds when mixed with coffee. Its silky smoothness out-performs low fat milk because low fat has a lower scalding point which can seriously change the taste of your coffee.
Wayne recommends staying away from long-life milk if you can. It has a clumpiness like microwaved fresh milk does when heated, and that is not good for coffee flavours!
We were treated to a tour of the dairy and ended up in a shed, in amongst the cows, where Wayne had set up his coffee machine and fresh-ground coffee and invited the visiting baristas to show off their skills. It was great fun watching an impromptu competition develop between the guys and judging by what we saw don't miss out on the next regional finals due to take place at the Good Food & Wine Show at CTICC on the 2nd to 4th June 2017.
Lee Wentzel from Rosetta Roastery
Jean Claude du Kissa from Ritzies in Melkbos
Themba Mbombe from Bean There Coffee