Why coffee, what coffee and when coffee with James Kilbourn & Stevo Kühn

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 4:00 – 7:00 PM UTC

“Besides the science of coffee, I am mesmerised by the potential coffee possesses to bring people from all walks of life together. Work, social, any gathering is suitable for great coffee. Coffee tells that story of people and I love to be part of it.” Stevo Kühn

About this event

Why coffee, what coffee and when coffee with James Kilbourn /Stereo Cafe/ & Stevo Kühn /UrbanBrew/. 

James Kilbourn opened the doors of Stereo Cafe in January 2014, hoping someone would like a good cup of coffee. Before this, however, he tested the market with his first brand, Connoisseur Coffee, and sold and distributed coffee at the Langenhovenpark Boeremark, and other local weekly markets in Bloemfontein from late 2011 to the end of 2013. This important testing ground laid the foundation for his current venture - roasting good quality coffee and offering patrons of Stereo Cafe a great coffee experience. Stereo Cafe also supplies wholesale coffee to a number of restaurants and corporates in the Free State and Northern Cape.

James studied at the North West University and graduated with a degree in Business Communication in 1998 and has a diploma in sound engineering. His original passion for music established his career in the radio broadcasting industry and his current passion is for coffee is where Stereo Cafe got its name. He attended the London School of Coffee where he trained under Morten Munchow, a well-respected coffee consultant and trainer and started roasting coffee from home in 2013. He is currently furthering his coffee education by completing a series of courses offered by the Specialty Coffee Association and by reading extensively on the subject. He regularly travels to network with international coffee professionals and furthers his coffee experience by attending international coffee events.

His passion for coffee inspires him to grow as a coffee roaster and cafe owner, to educate as a coffee professional and share the potential of this wonderful beverage with anyone who will listen.

Stevo Kühn: " I studied B.ed and worked as English & Art teacher for 3.5 years at Primary School.

Started a music academy at our church where I taught bass and acoustic guitar.

Whilst studying I played in bands, but in 2011 I joined the UFS Jazz band (this is where I met Lesley - haha).

In 2015 I quit as a teacher and pursued a career as a musician (in Bloemfontein - bigger HAHA). At the time really fell in love with the process of coffee and this leads me to my first entry into the business and professional coffee.

Knew zip about business, but was so passionate about people and coffee that I was given shares in a coffee shop.

In 2016 went for first formal barista training at Truth Coffee in Cpt.

I started running the coffee bar at Doxa Deo in 2016 & delved deeper into the concept of people and coffee.

Left my shares to start my own speciality coffee bar. Started out doing special events.

Was really tough - not sustainable (having a family).

Realizing that I have to do something I worked at Woolies Café (this was rock bottom) for just under a month. A few opportunities opened up (mostly outside of Bfn) and decided to stay for the one opportunity in Bfn.

This leads me to start working for local roastery where I was involved in training others, roasting from time to time and selling coffee - pretty much repping.

They later opened a shop where I was all of the above and manager.

In May 2017 I got the opportunity to open a pop-up coffee bar inside IQVIA (formerly known as Quintiles). It started out on Friday mornings and then grew to Wednesday and Monday mornings. In Aug 2017 I went solo (again), but this time with clearer vision.

I was fixed on growing slower, but more sustainably. To me, this was corporates and training.

In March 2018 I was very fortunate to receive training from internationally accredited barista trainer. Completed Foundation and Intermediate certification from Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

Aug 2018 I competed in my first regional barista championship and finished 2nd.

2018 I completed Professional certification from SCA.

2019 Feb - National Barista Championship

March 2019 - launching a to-go bar at Bloemgate Centre (downstairs) & upstairs is the training facility where I get to train individual baristas as well as corporate companies (McDonald's, Jack & Jill, OFS Smart repair, Abraham se Winkel, Pimento, Doxa Deo and others).

In May 2019 I also be launching a training programme that is aimed at skills development and job creation in partnership with POPUP."

Check out what happened



Wednesday, February 27, 2019
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM UTC


4:00 PMRegistration
5:00 PMFireside Chat
6:00 PMNetworking