Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 25 of 107

P U L L : E V E N T S BARISTA NATION KANSAS CITY SHOWCASES MIDWESTERN COFFEE EXCELLENCE IT'S TRUE: THE REIGNING World Barista Champion, Pete Licata, hails from Kansas City, Mo., right there dis - tinguishing the Midwestern region of the United States as something special. While the tightknit specialty-coffee com - munity in and around the city were the loudest cheerleaders Pete had when he won the WBC last May in Melbourne, Australia, however, he's far from the only reason Kansas City is so notable for its coffee prowess. With some of the coun - try's best coffeehouses and roasters, as well as being a reg- ular hometown to regional barista and brewers cup champs, Kansas City has coffee goin' on. Ask anyone in the city where a lot of the credit for that falls, and you'll hear Marty and Tooti Roe, owners of About the Coffee, mentioned again and again. This husband-and- wife team doesn't just operate a successful equipment and service center, selling the coolest new barista tools and locally roasted coffee, they have also created a haven for resident coffee professionals to assemble, practice for competition, learn from one another, and generally solidify the strong coffee community spirit. It made perfect sense, then, for Anastasia Chovan of UNIC to choose Kansas City, and About the Coffee specifically, for her latest installment of the free educational extravaganza, Barista Nation, at the end of last year. Part hands-on coffee workshop, part forum for discussion with industry leaders, and part social event to celebrate all things coffee, Barista Nation has emerged as the preeminent summit for coffee retailers and professional baristas since it debuted in 2011. Barista Nation events have taken place throughout the United States, and even as far as France, Canada, and Japan, bringing coffee people together to discuss regional issues, partake in top-level education, and gets some serious time in on the best and latest equipment. Barista Nation Kansas City was a perfect realization of the primary goals of Anastasia's traveling event: It was funky and grassroots, it was collective and festive, and it was some serious business. Participants learned from such industry greats as Sauro Dall'Aglio, a former Italian Barista Champion who broached the heavy subject of understanding how showers and baskets work with espresso machines with ease to his full audience; Julia Leach, owner of Toddy Café, who delivered an engaging and informative address on how to link summer and winter cold coffee drinks on a café menu; and the effervescent Marcus Boni of Kaldi's Coffee, whose discus - sion, "Creating and Delivering a Great Food Program in a Coffee Environment" was so thought-provoking that I was inspired to request he write an article on the topic for this very issue of Barista Magazine (see page 72). Other leaders shared from their specialized repertoire: The lively Gregory Kolsto, owner of the city's famed Oddly Correct Coffee Roasters, inspired the morning crowd with an rousing conversation about focusing on vision to "facilitate a culture of excellence/kick- assness." Josh Burdett from InterAmerican Coffee held the attention of a hushed crowd as he discussed the steps in an importer's journey from sourcing great coffee to delivering it to a roaster. Heather Bradford of UNIC taught a popular session on latte art skills, and Kate Blackman of Parisi Artisan Coffee invited the audience to share in the experience she had recently at the Rwandan Cup of Excellence. Jacque Des Marais of Kaldi's Coffee used the afternoon hours to teach participants about the important connections between coffee and cocktails, and About the Coffee's Marty—for all intents and purposes the Papa Bear of this Kansas City community—motivated the young coffee pros to "Build Something." Finally, I offered up my personal take on the importance of working with peers—even if they're competitors—as a means for building strength of the region. After a brief break at the end of the provocative daily classes, Mr. Pete Licata himself took the microphone to deliver the much-anticipat - ed keynote speech. Pete reflected on his long career in coffee, the bad times as well as the good, in an effort to communicate to his audience that coffee takes patience, and success requires a lot of hard work. As all Barista Nations do, the day-long event culminated in a fabulous party, complete with food trucks serving some of the best barbecue in town, a latte art throwdown with big prizes—Baratza, anyone?—and plenty of time to chat about the day, about how great a coffee town Kansas City is, or really, just About the Coffee. The next Barista Nation event will take place in Denver, Colo., on July 26. Stay tuned to the Barista Nation website for details: www. —Sarah Allen Fresh from a big win at the South Central Barista Championship, Tyler Rovenstine of Oddly Correct was happy to make coffee for aendees of Barista Nation Kansas City. Like most of the people at the event, Tyler considers About the Coffee—the Barista Nation venue—a second home. 26 barista magazine B o o k 1 - 4 4 . i n d d 2 6 Book 1-44.indd 26 3 / 1 9 / 1 4 9 : 5 8 P M 3/19/14 9:58 PM

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