What We’re Looking Forward to at Bloom

Bloom San Francisco kicked off yesterday with a welcome party at Intelligentsia, and today begins a series of lectures and events meant to spark discussion, change, and innovation in the coffee industry. Here’s a list of the events we’re most excited about!


Bloom, an innovative experience hosted by the Barista Guild of America, continues today at The Pearl in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. I’m thrilled to be one of the presenters (along with the co-host of my podcast, Boss Barista, Jasper Wilde) but I’m also looking forward to the talks, tastings, and events happening all around the Bay Area celebrating diverse ideas and the unique coffee community built in the Bay Area. I hope you’ll join me during my presentation discussing privilege and power, but here’s where you’ll find me during the rest of the Bloom event.

Sitting in awe listening to Mokhtar Alkhanshali: If you haven’t heard the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, then this talk is required. Growing up in San Francisco, Mokhtar was motivated to learn and ultimately improve and bring the coffees of Yemen to the specialty-coffee industry. After spending three years surveying the farms of Yemen, Mokhtar narrowly escaped after civil war broke out, finding safety on a small fishing boat after seven hours at sea with two suitcases full of green coffee. Coffees from Port of Mokha, his coffee company and the port he escaped from, have consistently score 90+, with one scoring a 97—the highest score ever given to a coffee by Coffee Review. Mokhtar will share his unique experiences in a talk focused on looking backward to move forward and relying on the roots of coffee to illuminate its future.

Attendees will hear stories and discussions covering a variety of topics. Photo courtesy of the SCA.

Drinking tasty wines with Martha Stoumen: Martha’s style of wine requires one thing: patience. She’s worked on farms and close to agriculture, developing her love of winemaking and celebrating the values that winemaking imparts—learning from masters as an apprentice, and letting the wine speak to what it needs. Along with speaking about natural wines, there will be samples of her meticulously grown and processed wines.

Speakers from various industries will share their knowledge and expertise in order to spark critical and meaningful discussions within the coffee supply chain. Photo by Joshua Dusk-Peebles.

Arguing with Nick Cho about fast-food-style coffee: Nick Cho, co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, is no stranger to debate, and in this panel he’ll moderate a discussion on specialty’s role in the fast and inexpensive coffee movement. “As specialty coffee evolves and matures, we need to decide what our limits are: Can a $1 cup of coffee be specialty? How about instant coffee, or a bottled cold brew with coconut milk? ‘Convenience’ hasn’t been a priority for most, but it is for our four panelists, and we’ll get into it during our panel discussion,” he shares.

Sampling specialty goods at the Taste Fair: The Taste Fair is one of the off-site events being hosted during Bloom, in collaboration with Andytown Coffee Roasters and the Bay Area Coffee Community. Participants will get to taste goods from five different specialty purveyors, and learn about the process of making, tasting, and evaluating quality in their field. The Taste Fair will take place at Andytown’s newest cafe and roastery, so attendees will get to sample goods while sipping on delicious coffee offerings from one of the best roasteries in San Francisco.

Attendees will get to taste artisan goods at the Taste Fair and learn about how other industries create and evaluate quality. Photo courtesy of SCA.

Pretending I know anything about roasting at the #shestheroaster event hosted by Royal Coffee: Last year, the hashtag #shestheroaster dominated Coffee Twitter and Facebook, with coffee pros making posts about their favorite female roasters. “You don’t have to travel far in the Bay Area to drink coffee roasted by a woman, but this is not the experience for most in our industry,” shares Jen Apodaca, director of roasting at The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room. “The Bloom event in S.F. will draw many coffee pros from all over; many of them work as baristas. This event is a casual hangout to offer encouragement for those that do not have a solid lady roaster community as support.” At this event, you can try your hand at roasting and hang with wonderful roasters from the Bay Area.

Royal Coffee will be hosting an event called #shestheroaster, where female-identifying roasters can come together, roast coffee, and share knowledge.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I named every event going on at Bloom. But that’s only because every speaker, every panel, and every off-site event feature topics and ideas that are exciting and important to the coffee community. No matter what event at Bloom you attend, you’ll be certain to hear creative ideas. And maybe you’ll find me, jotting down notes and being inspired by the amazing collection of talks and panels. Learn more about the San Francisco event here.

About Ashley Rodriguez 413 Articles
Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at ashley@baristamagazine.com.