Coffee and chocolate expo kicks off in Johannesburg

World Today

A Coffee and Chocolate Expo is in full swing this weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The spotlight is on people’s daily java and on delectable chocolate products. Visitors can learn tips, techniques and the latest trends from the masters on how to create their own chocolate and coffee delights. They can also put their taste buds to action or simply unwind in a deliciously relaxing atmosphere.

CGTN’s Julie Scheier reports.
Follow Julie Scheier on Twitter @juliescheier

Long gone are the days when Coffee was just a morning sip. Now we all have a favorite, whether it’s a cappuccino, espresso, or flat white.

Worldwide, we consume about 150 million bags of coffee a year–almost 10 million tons.

At a coffee and chocolate expo in Johannesburg, consumers embrace their caffeinated delights and baristas from around the world hone their skills.

“The All Stars is an event that brings together Baristas from around the world,” explains Amy Ball, the Events Creative Director of World Coffee Events. “Baristas who are champions, who are finalists in the World Coffee Championships.”

“It’s definitely an event that is about celebrating the global coffee community, so we like to bring it to different countries around the world so everybody can collaborate and share best practices and learn about the fabulous art that is coffee.”

2011 World Barista Champion Alejandro Mendes from El Salvador delivers exquisitely curated beverages to satisfy even the fussiest of caffeine addicts.

“It’s great to be a Barista and be around the world because we are the ones who are building this community to make it grow,” Alejandro says. “So as long as we are here talking about coffee, we are touching more people, and these people are starting to drink coffee and that pushes the quality.”

In a country famous for its Rooibos tea, South Africans are increasingly turning to coffee as a quick-fix to help ease the daily grind, but they’re also pairing it up with chocolates.

“I think coffee and chocolate are going through an evolution in South Africa,” claims Vicki Bain, a chocolatier and owner of Chocoloza. “I think for a long time we had been used to not the quality we are used to now, so right now on the market for coffee there are some wonderful roasters that make wonderful coffee that is completely different to what we used to eat and drink 20 years ago.”

“And it’s the same thing with chocolate,” she continues. “We are now getting used to much more handmade chocolates that are really good quality—no palm oil, very little sugar—and I think the market is evolving towards better quality chocolate and better quality coffee and it’s the perfect combination.”

And you can find it all at the Coffee and Chocolate Expo.

If you are a caffeine addict or chocoholic make sure you don’t miss this extravaganza. With over 80 coffee and chocolate-inspired products to sample and salivate over, it’s guaranteed to be a delectable experience.