the people in our lives: Siya

How many times have you heard your mates raving about the coffee at a certain establishment and bemoaning that of another? Some of the time I take these observations with a pinch of salt but quite often, I take them seriously and have been known to scour and interrogate Google Maps wherever we are, in search of kickass coffee! Over many years of enjoying wonderful coffees (and some not so wonderful) made by many uber talented Barista, I am now of the opinion that over time, establishments create their own unique coffee offering … maybe its got something to do with the beans they select, their relationship with the Roaster, the setting of the grinder, in which cups or glasses the coffee is served, any accompaniments, etc … one could go on! Let me sum it up like this … I know when I’m sitting in my Deli and Siyanda has made me a coffee (at the moment, I am very partial to a Cortado) in a Le Creuset cup, with the obligatory coffee station biscuit made by another legend of the Deli … Aunty K !!!

Now my day can start!

My point is this … in a business like ours, our Barista are such pivotal cogs in our business! So, friends of the Foodbarn … I present you Siyanda Mgongo … Barista extraordinaire … and a firm part of our DNA!  Thanks to Mama Lil for the interview …

Making coffee seems easy but it is not, what is your secret?

When you love what you do and take your time, it will happen. You have to care about every cup and you can taste it.

What is the most challenging part of this job?

I find it a bit difficult to deal with clients sometimes. They are not sure of what they want and have an idea so they try to tell me how to do things. 

You have been here for a very long time, what do you dream about in your future?

I have always wanted to look after people that cannot look after themselves. I love old people, especially when they are at the point where they become like children again. My dream is to look after them.

Who taught you how to make such delicious coffee?

When I started working here, there was a Barista named Augi, he taught me everything.

 Siyanda has since developed her own style of coffee making. She now teaches other people how to make coffee.

What do you get up to when you are at home?

I love to take care of my home. I play with kids, do homework with my child.

What kind of a mom are you?

I’m not an easy mom. I try not to be too strict because I want my child to understand why I can be strict but I would like to think of myself as a friend as well.

Do you see a positive future for our country?

I feel like this country is messed up. There is no law. People can get away with murder and rape and nothing gets done about it.

Do you enjoy Foodbarn food?

Yes, I love the fillet. I don’t eat the bread though. I drink Cappuccino, it is my favourite.

Who do you look up to?

I look up to Lilian. At first I thought she was too strict but I discovered that things must be done the right way and once she has said what she needs to say, its over, she does not stay angry.

I admire Pete because he always comes straight to me when there is an issue.

I also look up to Charlotte, our manager because she will always give you a warning when things are not right before she gets angry.

You travel a long way to get to work every day. Why?

I like this side of the world, The Foodbarn is my home and the people are my family.

Siyanda is a quiet, diligent person that goes about doing her work with love. At the end of the day, she travels back home to look after her child and her brother.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to do this for a living?

You cannot do this if you do not have love and passion for this work. You have to understand people and their needs.

A great cup of coffee can make your day! A coffee made by Siyanda has an extra touch of magic because it is made with love. Pop in and say ‘howzit’ to our coffee wiz.