Local barista turned coffee shop owner reflects on his journey to entrepreneurship

Local barista turned coffee shop owner reflects on his journey to entrepreneurship

Noordhang resident Khulekani Mpala (47) was one of many who was gripped by unemployment during the national lockdown. After being home for months with his family without an income, his wife Nomathemba Khonza Mpala re-opened the doors to her salon where he diligently assisted her and brewed coffee for the two of them in between work.

While he brewed the coffee, the aroma invited inquisitiveness from customers and passers-by which prompted Mpala to share his coffee prowess to generate additional income. Before long, Mpala had a designated corner in his wife’s salon at the Oriental Plaza where he sold coffee using his machinery brought from home. Currently, the couple has opened a coffee shop at The Clubhouse Shopping Centre on Malibongwe Drive.

David Mogomotsi Khule on his 10th day working for Thando’s Coffee Company as a barista. Photo: Ofentse Moduka

Thando’s Coffee Company was named after the couple’s first child. The name represents the award winning barista’s love for the world of coffee and Thando translated into English is ‘love’.

“The coffee industry chose me,” offered Mpala on his journey to coffee, while he sipped on a cortado, an espresso coffee drink.

Mpala was pleased when many of his peers travelled to his set up in his wife’s shop from all over to show their support, where some came from as far as Pretoria to sample the award-winning barista’s coffee blend. The couple has made their own unique coffee blend which was signature for their coffee shop which they described as ‘citrusy, fruity and chocolatey’.

David Mogomotsi Khule is a barista at Thando’s Coffee Company in Ferndale. Photo: Ofentse Moduka

The couple plans to expand their coffee shop into a training academy for baristas to learn the practical and theoretical spheres of the coffee industry, while simultaneously serving coffee to patrons. At the time of this interview, the barista was in the middle of training his first student in the three-day course on the art of coffee.

In future he planned to focus on making barista training more accessible to special-needs kids, for whom he has a soft spot.

Details: [email protected]; Facebook page Thando Coffee Company; Instagram @ThandoCoffeeCompany; telephone
078 570 3402.

Related Article: 

Award-winning barista opens his own coffee shop


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