Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2017

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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A C O F F E E C O N V E N T I O N F O R T H E P E O P L E W H E R E T O F I N D M O R E I N F O R M A T I O N A B O U T U P C O M I N G E V E N T S , E D U C A T I O N A L O P P O R T U N I T I E S , A N D O T H E R S H A R E D P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T professionals have for pitching in and working together for the greater good. It's also through this type of grassroots community building that a wider range of coffee professionals from different back- grounds and with different experiences have risen through the ranks to take on leadership roles and gain recognition. "When I got into coffee, James Hoffmann was a superstar, and I wanted to make coffee like him and be like him," Hannah remembers. "Now that kind of coffee-rockstar thing has subsided a bit, and it's more about learning what you can from your community and your peers, and from people who have a good reputation because they've been a really good trainer for a while." A COFFEE CONVENTION FOR THE PEOPLE Some of the very best professional-development events—the most effective, the most well-attended, and the most beloved— have achieved a balance of both: the "coffee celebrities" who offer keynotes and motivational presentations, and the in- the-trenches baristas and roasters whose expertise has been earned through years of elbow grease and lessons learned the hard way. The Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Coffee Conference (MANE) is just one such collection of rockstars and rag-tag geniuses, and its reputation has not only extended way outside of the geographical location in its name, but has also gone on to inspire countless other like-minded events. "The idea was that it was kind of the anti-SCAA, in that when we put it together, it was all about the content—it wasn't about selling granita machines," jokes Rik Kleinfeldt of New Harvest Coffee in Pawtucket, R.I., one of the instigators of MANE from the beginning. "It was about getting people together to learn from each other." "Instigator" is actually the perfect term for Rik and his partner in planning MANE, Gerra Harrigan (formerly also of New Harvest, now a senior trader with InterAmerican Coffees). In 2007, they were both brought on board to put together a barista jam by Troy Reynard, owner of Cosmic Cup Coffee in Easton, Penn.—a multiroaster café which featured both New Harvest and another early sponsor of the event, Counter Culture Coffee. "We thought like fi ve people were go- ing to show up, and I think 30 or 40 people showed up," Gerra says, a note of surprise still in her voice. "The second year, we saw that people were just hungry. The need was so desperate." Rik chimes in: "The most recent MANEs have seen a total of 300–350 people register." MANE is somewhat similar to the Barista Camp or Roaster Guild events in that it comprises a merry band of eager vol- unteers and sponsors who donate time, energy, products, and money to ensure the event's success, though it deviates from the formal education programs and certifi cation tracks the SCA and Barista Guilds of America and Europe follow to the letter. "We didn't have to ask anyone else's permission [on the course material], and we could do whatever we wanted to do," Gerra says. "We've had some fl ops, but we've also had a ton of wins; we've had people who were ridiculously prepared, and people who were fl ying by the seat of their pants." In some respects, that pretty neatly sums up specialty coffee as a whole: As a relatively young, very niche segment of an established larger global commodity industry, we're all out here sort of bumbling around and trying to fi gure it all out—which makes the work and the community itself a kind of petri dish, as we put different inputs in and simply wait to see what starts to grow. This type of "let's learn together" Barista Camp Europe (www.baristaguildofeurope.com/what-is-barista-camp) Barista Camp USA (www.baristaguildofamerica.net/events/barista-camp) Barista Camps are part formal education along the SCA pathways, part team-building and networking, and part weekend getaway with several hundred of your best coffee friends (even those you haven't met yet). These volun- teer-run and largely sponsor-driven events are hosted by the Barista Guild of Europe and America. Barista Connect (www.baristaconnect.com) This women-founded and women-focused event is designed to bring female cof- fee professionals together in an environment that fosters learning, connecting, networking, sensory analysis and skill development, and visibility. Barista Exchange (www.baristaexchange.com) Like the OG coffee MySpace, Barista Exchange is an online platform for discussions, sharing and accessing classifi ed ads, making friends, and generally getting wired on the World Wide Web. Barista Nation (www.baristanation.com) Founded and hosted by Unic Espresso Machines, Barista Nation is a traveling road show of sorts that brings together coffee professionals both far fl ung and within a local community in order to create a community-focused event that offers hands-on and intellectual training in something of a daylong marathon "forum." Bloom (www.bloomevent.org) Another opportunity from the Barista Guild of America, Bloom features one main annual event and several satellite events that bring local speakers togeth- er on panels designed to complement the overall annual message and theme. The Coffeewoman (www.thecoffeewoman.com) Similar to Barista Connect, The Coffeewoman is a grassroots organization, web- site, and series of events founded in early 2016 to foster community, establish dialogue, and promote justice for trans and cis women, nonbinary, and gender queer citizens in the world of specialty coffee. CoLab (www.baristaguildofeurope.com/what-is-colab) Not to be outdone by the American Guild, the Barista Guild of Europe hosts the multi-day CoLab events: One full day of education and lectures bookended by half- day opportunities to explore local coffee culture and community in the host city. MANE - Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Coffee Conference (www.facebook.com/ ManeConference) See article for more about MANE Roaster Camp Europe (www.roasterguildofeurope.com) Roasters Guild Retreat (www.roastersguild.org/retreat) The Roasters Guild of Europe and America both hold camps or retreat events that are somewhat like Barista Camp, except with a little more heat. Stump the Roaster (www.cafeimports.com) The author's current employer, Cafe Imports, hosts these pop-up panel discussions in cities around the world, gathering speakers from various local companies and submitting them to a candid and enlightening question-and-an- swer format that includes audience participation. WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT UPCOMING EVENTS, EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, AND OTHER SHARED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 78 barista magazine

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