The Coffee & Chocolate Africa Expo will observe Deaf Awareness Celebration Day as well as support #ActionAgainstPoverty during the month of Mandela Day, with the Ciro Deaf Barista Competition.
Coffee is an almost universally appreciated beverage, regardless of your race, creed, nationality or even whether you are able-bodied or not. Despite this, the process of making and serving the beverage is one traditionally reserved for the hearing-abled. Thus, it is exciting to note that a group of very talented Deaf baristas will be showing off their skills later this month, with a view to being named the Ciro Deaf Barista Champion for 2019 on July 27.
Taking place on the second annual Deaf Awareness Celebration Day, the Ciro Deaf Barista Competition will be hosted at the Coffee & Chocolate Africa Expo (Ticketpro Dome, 27 July 2019 @ 10h00) and will highlight success stories of Deaf baristas in the industry, as well as provide a platform for them to showcase their skills.
The main competition is preceded by a special introductory event on July 9th, during which competitors receive a chance to tell their story to the press and various stakeholders, as well as provide their audience with a specialist coffee experience. The series of events are timed to coincide with the month of Mandela Day, the essence of which – taking #ActionAgainstPoverty – is tied closely to the competition’s purpose.
Two years ago, Ciro Coffee Academy introduced the competition and joined forces with Hearing Works Coffee & Chocolate Show, eDeaf, Unisa and Coffee Mag to make this special event happen. According to Tally Sherban, audiologist and co-founder of Hearing Works (Rosebank Mall), the competition is about celebrating the successes of current Deaf baristas and introducing those who will be competing for the title of Ciro Deaf Barista Champion 2019.
“The Ciro Coffee Academy itself began training Deaf learners around six years ago and not only consistently promotes these people within the barista community, but now also offers a new short course in barista skills introduced by Unisa, as part of its curriculum. Up until now, more than 50 Deaf candidates have successfully been placed at partner employers,” she says, adding that these are all successful professionals and serve as a great example to encourage more members of the coffee community to employ Deaf baristas in their own establishments.
Explains Lani Snyman, Customer Services Executive for the Ciro Coffee Academy, the goal of the Academy is to give hearing impaired baristas the opportunity to carve out a career in the coffee industry, with the competition designed to highlight their skills. “Although any Deaf barista may compete, the current crop of competitors are all past and present Ciro Barista Trainees, and they will be judged on their performance and ability in preparing two cappuccinos and two espresso coffees.”
Hearing Works, like Ciro, has been taking great measures to educate and bring awareness to previously disadvantaged communities around the subject of hearing loss and preventative measures. The company offers free hearing screenings online, in-store and at selected Dis-Chem Wellness Clinics.
Sherban continues, “We understand that when it comes to hearing care – one size does not fit all, that essential ongoing support and aftercare is vital and that not all South Africans have access to medical aid. Therefore, we welcome all patients who are in need of hearing care and have designed specific rates for cash-only patients.”
She adds that the most important aspect of the competition is for people to be made aware that hearing impairment should not impact on your ability to build a good career.
“In fact, much like a cup of strong coffee helps so many South Africans to wake up each morning, so we hope that – by focusing on the skills and capabilities of these hearing-impaired individuals – we will be able to wake hearing-abled South Africans up to the realities faced by their Deaf compatriots. Perhaps even more crucially, we want them to realise that these people are just as capable and effective in their jobs as any other human being,” she concludes.