The tuk-tuk driver on the grind for eco-friendly coffee


Ben Schempers was in a dirty business. And he knew it. Working for a big oil company made him a decent living, but cost his conscience over the damage the industry causes to the environment. Guilt plagued him. So he quit, and invested in a dark liquid that’s far friendlier to the planet.

Coffee. Rich. Invigorating. Brewed and consumed by the kilolitre. Schempers founded Barista Brothers to begin a new career selling the hot beverage. Though the drink couldn’t become much more popular around the world, coffee culture was yet to fully permeate Polokwane when Schempers started. That’s all changed, thanks to the bright red tuk-tuk that he drives to different locations around the city.

“We have decided to make all our products eco-friendly,” he explains. “With our motto being ‘screw screwing the environment’.” His mobile shop, The Grind, carries only biodegradable materials and organically sourced produce. Aside from protecting the earth, Schempers is leaving his mark on the community through his Mandala coffee programme, which encourages customers to purchase a coffee for a homeless person alongside their favoured brew. Schempers himself enjoys the classic Americano. Like his business, it expresses depth in simplicity.