The event included coffee leaders from Origin, Truth Coffee, Seattle Coffee Company and Starbucks tackling a variety of topics from global trends, sustainability, ethics and how to be more inclusive.
“The real reason behind the Coffee Leader Summit was that there had never been one before, and we had seen the success in London, New York and various markets in Europe,” said Allegra Group CEO and Founder, Jeffrey Young.
“It was so obvious that there needed to be something like this to bring the various leaders in the market, the big and the small, to discuss and to debate, and to look forward to helping grow this industry.”
Young said it was clear to him that there were a lot of people not connecting and that lack of information was unfortunate.
“This is a very new era, with the arrival of Starbucks in Cape Town later this year, it shows that there are a number of first’s coming. Clearly, Starbucks in Cape Town will be a seminal moment for the coffee industry, like how this event will be a catalyst for the industry moving forward.”
Starbucks, which took the country by storm with its launch in April 2016, has seen the international coffee company launch 10 stores in SA. They will also be launching Cape Town's first Starbucks in the second quarter of the year revealed managing executive Clive Liversage.
“The initial reaction has been beyond our expectation,” said Liversage.
“We’ve been very well-received, the traditional South African consumer first thought that we were just coffee, but we’re not just that.”
“There’s nothing more humbling than dealing with a customer and making them a great cup of coffee, and building that moment of connection between the two,” Clive said.
“For me, it’s been about taking people from a completely different background and bringing them into coffee while showing them a completely different way. The bottom line is that the South African consumer deserves to have a good cup of coffee.
“We’re completely excited to bring that to Cape Town, and that for me will be the highlight of the year.”
Young had also mentioned that it was a tough decision for them to postpone the Cape Town Coffee Festival to 2019.
“We had 20 000 people, just from social media alone, that were interested in the event,” he said.
“What we noted was the industry wasn’t actually as on board, and they hadn’t actually seen the light as quickly, or rather that we hadn’t actually given them enough time to see the light.”
He mentioned that it’s events like the Coffee Leader Summit, which help the local industry to see the vision. He added that in creating that initial rush, it helped test the market and revealed that the market wanted it.
“We have a year and a bit to plan it, our website is ready to go, our ticketing system is ready to go so it will be much bigger than we’ve ever imagined.”@thelionmutters