HomeFOOD & WINEMeet your barista...

Meet your barista…

Being a good coffee barista is about more than just making a good flat white and putting a pretty picture on top of a cappuccino. It’s about relationships and building a rapport with your customers, while still serving them an exceptional beverage!

Over the next few months we are going to introduce you to some of our favourite North Coast baristas because, well, we like them! And we like coffee.


Meet Ryan Heydenrych
Hey’s Café

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Ask anyone who has met him and they will tell you that Hey’s Café owner Ryan Heydenrych is just simply a really nice guy. He’s approachable, friendly and always has a big smile on his face. He also makes a mean cup of coffee.

We know this because we’ve tasted it (obvs), but also because Ryan has been awarded the Sunday Tribune Cafe Society award for best cappuccino on the North Coast!
Originally a Joburg boy, Ryan moved to the North Coast 20 years ago. He met his now wife, Dawn, while on holiday in Ballito. The couple have three children, Anthony (12), Aaron (6) and Payton (3). Ryan’s parents were in the confectionery and baking business and he studied hospitality and catering.
“My love for the hospitality industry is real. After a stint in Boca Raton in Florida in the USA, I returned to South Africa and was lucky enough to manage some of the top restaurants on the North Coast. I’ve learned so much about so many different cuisines and I can tell you that we have some of the top restaurants and cafés in South Africa.”

Owning his own place was something Ryan always dreamed of. Hey’s Café was born in a trailer in the Salt Rock Beach car park in 2016 and the coffee shop has slowly evolved over the years. It now has pride of place at the entrance to the popular Ringside Boxing Gym in Umhlali. They also have a branch at Grace Church in Ballito, which is used for kid’s parties, events and church services.

Ryan’s interest in coffee was piqued while he was working at The Yellow Café at the Litchi Orchard. He then moved on to assist in the start up of Wonderland Coffee at Linc Campus where, he says, he was surrounded by coffee lovers.
Asked what he believes is the key to making a really good cup of coffee Ryan says, “to be honest, I can’t put my finger on one thing in particular. To me, a lot of it is about the person serving you the coffee. The barista’s attitude and personality is where the customer’s coffee experience starts! Once that is mastered, it’s definitely about the freshness and flavour of the beans … the more crema, the better the flavour. Serve it with the perfect temperature milk and you can’t go wrong!”

Ryan believes that South Africa is underestimated by the world in terms of coffee. “Our coffee industry is growing at a rapid rate and the number of roasteries and cafés that we have in South Africa that are right up there with the world’s best is amazing. I believe that it is going to continue to grow from strength to strength and I am proud to be doing what I love in South Africa.”

Details: Hey’s Cafe, Ringside Boxing Gym, Old Main Road, Umhlali, www.heyscafe.co.za, 083 705 6439

Text: Leah Shone | Photograph: Mary-Ann Palmer


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