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Colombo Tea and Coffee Co.

Colombo Tea and Coffee Co. has been in existence since 1917 when James Richardson (fondly known as ‘Jas B’) began to provide tea and coffee to the mines in the Transvaal. Forced to pack up in 1922 after the Rand Rebellion, Jas B moved his shop to Durban and The Colombo Tea Agency was born. They were known as specialists in tea, coffee and cocoa, and not much has changed today. In 2011, Colombo Tea and Coffee Company is operating from historic premises in Gale Street, and Victor Richardson (Jas B’s great-grandson) and Kyle Fraser run a thoroughly modern business which cherishes its roots. Famous for excellent quality coffee, the next step for Colombo was to offer Barista courses to train people in the fine art of coffee preparation and appreciation. Colombo offers several different Barista courses. The Beginner and Advanced Barista courses are aimed at people who are in the hospitality industry, working with coffee daily. The two courses aimed at the amateur coffee connoisseur are the Home Barista Course and the Coffee Appreciation Course. “People often come into Colombo and claim to be addicted to coffee,” explains Kyle, “so they are interested in taking the next step in their passion for coffee by doing our Home Barista Course. There is not actually too big a leap between the coffee you are making at home and coffee which would meet international standards and, in the course, we teach people how to utilise their own machines in order to make truly great coffee at home.” The Home Barista Course is a popular gift for someone who loves coffee and modules covered include coffee theory, espresso practical, milk practical, brewing theory, cupping and alternate brew methods. The Coffee Appreciation Course is obviously also for lovers of coffee. A popular team building or group outing, the course includes a factory tour, coffee presentation, cupping and drink building. The passion for coffee and tea at Colombo is apparent in the way in which the staff speak of their products. They know the detail of how each blend is produced from the moment the seed is planted in some far away soil, to the cup you have in front of you and their tone is nothing short of reverent. Many of the staff are Baristas themselves and will be competing in the World Barista Championships to be held at Gateway Theatre of Shopping on 28 September 2011. Colombo Tea and Coffee Co. operates from 369 Gale Street, Durban. Call them on 031-205-3283 for more information or visit their website at   Text and images: Candice Botha