This week’s Specialty Coffee Expo is filled with lectures, tastings, and events we’re thrilled about—here are some of the things we’re most excited about.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
As the 2018 Specialty Coffee Expo draws near, we’re excited—and perhaps a little bit overwhelmed—by the number of interesting talks, workshops, and lectures that span the coffee-filled weekend. In this guide, we pick some of the events we’re most eager to check out.
1. Lucia Solis’ Coffee Fermentation Talks
After a career in winemaking, fermentation expert Lucia Solis turned her attention to coffee. She advises farmers on how to improve their fermentation processes at origin, and has been able to improve coffee quality by focusing attention on how coffee is processed. During Expo, Lucia will be offering classes about processing—one class will focus on coffee farmers and processors and their concerns about fermentation at origin (with one session in English and one in Spanish), while the other class will focus on roasters and green buyers looking to learn more about the effects of fermentation. We are only just beginning to understand the specific way improved fermentation can affect the flavor of coffee, and this is a unique opportunity to speak with a leading expert in the field.
Lucia’s class for green buyers and roasters is already sold out, but there are still spots in her class for farmers and millers.
2. Lots of New Products, But We’re Looking at Grinders
Every year, coffee manufacturers, espresso machine companies, and others use Expo as an opportunity to unveil new products. We’ve been able to see a few of these exciting toys—like La Marzocco’s Leva—but we’re also excited to see new products from folks like Wilbur Curtis, Dalla Corte, and Nuova Simonelli. What are we most excited about? Grinders. At the Nuova Simonelli station, you’ll get to see the Mythos 2, a weight-based grinder that allows users to control the rotations per minute (RPM) of the machine. Expect new and exciting updates from Compak, Mazzer, and Mahlkoenig.
3. Let’s Fix It With La Marzocco
In an effort to bring the field of coffee technicians to gender parity, La Marzocco will be partnering with The Coffeewoman for Let’s Fix It, a workshop for new technicians and interested coffee pros to learn from some of the leading techs and coffee experts like Rebecca McNelly of Heartland Tech Services, Jill Fountain of Macchinisti, Sheli Maciel of Allegro Coffee, and Erica Green of Blue Bottle Coffee. “Spend Saturday afternoon, April 21, with us at our Ballard HQ in a hands-on workshop hosted by industry-leading women, specializing in technical repair work,” the event invitation from La Marzocco reads. “This workshop is designed to encourage new technicians to explore some of the basic skills required to repair and maintain brewing and grinding equipment.”
La Marzocco will be hosting a series of talks and workshops throughout Expo that you can check out here.
4. Workshops on Mentorship, Diversity, and Sustainability
This year, many of the talks, lectures, and workshops are focusing on the social aspects of coffee. One example is a talk at Re:co—the lecture series preceding Expo—called “Changing Tides: Building Diverse and Inclusive Coffee Communities,” featuring speakers like Michelle Johnson of The Chocolate Barista and Barista Hustle, Colleen Anunu of Fair Trade USA, and Candice Madison Zachary of Irving Farm Coffee Roasters. The social aspects of coffee will also be addressed in the lectures at Expo, which will discuss issues like mentorship or the basics of LGBTQIA+ issues in coffee led by industry expert Ellery Evren Notte, founder and CEO of Learn the Landscape, a company specializing in diversity training. This year’s focus on the social issues facing members of the coffee industry might be some of the most interesting and important programming we’ve seen in years.
5. George Howell at the La Marzocco Cafe
The La Marzocco Cafe is host to one of coffee’s heavy hitters during Expo—George Howell Coffee. Not only will you get a chance to try the delicious menu of coffees from the legendary coffee roaster (including coffees that were harvested years ago and have been aged and vacuum-sealed), but George himself will be running tastings at the cafe. He, along with Jenny Howell, director of coffee sourcing, and Tyler Hawkes, customer service & training, will be chatting about—you guessed it—freshness and coffee aging. Guests will get to taste two coffees side-by-side: one that is fresh-crop and one that is past-crop but has been preserved by freezing.
Space for these tastings is limited, so check out their Facebook page to reserve your spot! And tell us what you’re excited about at this year’s Expo!