Barista League’s successful online conference High Density returns in March with even more speakers and interactive events for coffee people across the world.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Images courtesy of The Barista League
In between a flurry of web-based competitions and a return to events IRL, coffee event producers The Barista League launched a jam-packed online conference last year called High Density. Stacked with important conversations and thoughtful interactive experiences, it streamed on YouTube for hours and drew views from coffee people across the globe. Thanks to an overwhelmingly positive response, High Density is returning to continue and evolve some of those same hard-hitting conversations from 2021, and to reunite global coffee people once again on March 10.
Conversations for the People, by the People
Last year, the first set of panel discussions were curated by The Barista League staff internally. They relied on the team’s keen sense of coffee knowledge to determine what kind of conversations were happening in winter 2021. This year, however, the event has been curated with some outside help from well-known coffee professionals. Working within their fields of expertise, each individual chose the speakers and discussions that will be happening at High Density 2022. Here’s who and what you can expect from these curators:
Ana Luiza Pellicer – Innovation at Origin: ”We’ll hear from folks who are innovating in producing countries and impacting the direction of the specialty-coffee industry every day.”
Marissa Childers – Behind the Bar: The Ultimate Coffee Training Guide: ”We’ll cover all the barista skills you wish had been in your café’s training program—from bar workflow to latte art to palate development and more.”
Chris McAuley – In the Community: Folks Who Take Care of Each Other: ”We’ll hear from cafés and community leaders around the world who use mutual aid to support their communities, and how you can apply these practices in your city.”
Kat Melheim – On the Page: Communication Across Platforms: ”We’ll focus on the many forms of communication inside and outside of specialty coffee—from social media to branding to the spoken word.”
Sunghee Tark – ”We’ll take a deep dive into the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic, and learn how each impacts the specialty-coffee industry.”
Angela Ferrara, communications director of The Barista League, adds that they made it a goal to feature entirely new voices this year, and to select from a pool of marginalized folks who may be underrepresented in other communities. ”While all the folks who participated last year are INCREDIBLE coffee professionals, there are so many important voices in specialty coffee, and we thought this would give us the opportunity to highlight as many of them as possible,” she explains.
With an announcement that includes over 40 speakers, it’s hard to highlight any one particular standout, so you can check out the full lineup here.
Interactive Fun at High Density
A popular tactic that online events have used to bring ”tactility” are physical items that viewers can interact with—and coffee events are full of these goodies. This time around, High Density has a few options to choose from, with an accessible price of 100 SEK (about $11 USD). These include roasted coffees from sponsoring companies, alternative milks, and a swag pack from Chobani. All items are linked to specific sessions happening during High Density events, so be sure to read the full lineup before deciding which one you want.
The interactive elements aren’t limited to these items, though. The Barista League promises plenty of free digital resources that viewers will be able to download from select sessions.
A Culmination of Voices
Although The Barista League has made a cautious return to in-person events, online content is still crucial to the team’s philosophy. Its growing emphasis on accessibility in the event industry is what made it important to them to bring back High Density. For this reason, the event is completely free again, and any donation-based sales support Grounds for Health.
”Our team just really loves the concept of High Density,” says Angela. ”Being able to produce 12 hours of succinct educational sessions, free to view, fully subtitled, and available to stream any time immediately after airing, is a privilege. We’re so excited to share the conference with the industry for its second year.”