In a Braamfontein warehouse, Brilliant Ndlovu dips a large metal scoop into a plastic bag filled with greenish-white beans from Ethiopia. He shovels the beans into a bucket on a scale, then, bucket in hand, climbs a stepladder beside a roasting machine and dumps the beans into a big funnel at the top. Back on the floor Ndlovu fiddles with a laptop beside the machine, studying the colourful graphs on the screen. He reaches for a switch, flips it, and the roaster roars to life. Visible through a tiny glass portal in the front of the machine the beans tumble and spin. Over the next 12 minutes the beans change from greenish-white, to beige, to brown. A load of already roasted beans spins around the drum at the base of the machine. Metal arms move the beans like ripples in a lake. Those beans are cooling, almost ready to be emptied out of the drum and packaged at the back of the warehouse. When they are done and the drum has been emptied, and when Ndlovu is certain the roasting beans’ co...

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