Barista Connect, a series of lectures and presentations dedicated to empowering women in the coffee industry, is coming to Vienna this August.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Barista Connect
Barista Connect returns for another season, bringing together coffee professionals from all across the coffee community to discuss issues of gender and empowerment. “Barista Connect is dedicated to improving equality by empowering and inspiring women in various roles within the international coffee community,” the website shares. Barista Connect founder Sonja Zweidick, a barista and roaster and the 2017 Danish Barista Champion, will be bringing the event to Vienna, Austria, in August, and plans to host two more Barista Connect within the next year: one in New York City in October, and one in Melbourne in March 2018.
Sonja hosted the first Barista Connect in 2015 in Denmark, and this will be Barista Connect’s third event (the second was in London in 2016). “I am grateful for the continuing support and encouragement to keep hosting these events,” she shares. At each event, speakers and leaders from across the coffee community are invited to give lectures and presentations, including discussions on barista competitions, female producers, and innovations in coffee (all these topics are on the lineup for the Vienna Barista Connect). Along with presentations, attendees are encouraged to network and meet like-minded coffee professionals to share ideas and foster mentorships. “We bring together women from around the world together to exchange knowledge, experiences and build long-lasting professional connections. Our events provide a unique environment to participate in guest lectures, sensory and hands-on sessions, as well as open discussions,” Sonja notes.
Speakers at the Vienna Barista Connect include Nora Šmahelová of Chapter One Coffee Berlin & Coffee Profilers, Petra Strelecká of Industra Coffee, and Erna Tosberg of Roestbar, just to name a few presenters. Sonja says the great lineup of speakers is often one of the main draws for Barista Connect, and that many Barista Connect attendees go to multiple events. “A lot of the participants chose to return to our events, and we have noticed that they connect and help each other grow in between the events as well,” Sonja shares. “This gives the network an extra dimension, which is awesome. It is very exciting to me that I get to catch up with the attendees, and see how they develop their careers and skills.”
So far, Barista Connect events have only been held in Europe, but Sonja is excited about the international expansion that will happen in the next year. “We keep relocating our events to reach members of different local coffee communities,” she notes. And each event is meant to reflect the issues and ideas relevant to that coffee community with some keystone elements that remain in place. “For each event we keep learning how to develop our concept and add local touches. We are happy about our frame and current mix of the recurring elements: workshops, guest lectures, and discussions,” she notes.
There are no qualifications or certifications you need to attend Barista Connect; Sonja encourages coffee professionals at any part of the supply chain to attend. All you need is a critical eye toward upcoming trends and a genuine interest in improving the specialty coffee industry. “We will be discussing topics related to current trends and new ideas in specialty coffee. Our programs provide opportunities for our attendees to be at the forefront of what is happening in the industry in a female perspective,” the website notes.