The Color of Coffee Collective Symposium will be a celebration of diverse coffee professionals, and a platform to introduce young people in coffee to a rewarding career path.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Throughout 24 years in the coffee industry, one big motivating factor that has kept Keith Hawkins going is its potential to impact youths. And no, we’re not talking about caffeinating 10-year-olds; we’re talking about the job opportunities that coffee can bring to high-school-age students.
It’s why Keith runs “Koffee With Keith,“ a podcast that eventually became a way for him to connect local students in Houston to part-time jobs at cafés in the area. Now, the brand-new community group Color of Coffee Collective will be another way to continue Keith’s mission—and they’re hosting an activity-packed symposium on May 14.
The What, Where, & When
From farmers to roasters and creatives, the Color of Coffee Collective wants to see members from all parts of the supply chain thrive. It’s why they’re hosting the symposium at The Ion in Houston. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the daylong event will be dedicated to welcoming the collective’s debut in addition to the impressive list of meaningful organizations in the coffee industry. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will also benefit two other organizations regarding mental health: The HOPE Leadership Academy and the TSU Wesley Foundation Girls Ministry.
Going Beyond the Surface Through Discussion
Expect many vendors and panel discussions, but they will be placed in the context of moving forward and making progress as an industry. For example, the “History of Coffee“ will be more than a simple tale, but a way to better understand how its history impacts coffee today. There will also be stories about origin countries from the perspectives of the growers there, and conversations about coffee roasting that are approachable and understandable.
The Speakers, Movers, and Shakers
The list of speakers is stacked. At the Color of Coffee Collective Symposium, Houston will welcome presenters representing well-loved businesses like Greater Goods Roasting, Three Keys Coffee, Everybody’s Busy, Deadstock, The Tipping Point Coffee, and loads more. Korie Griggs will emcee the event, and Phyllis Johnson will deliver a keynote address about buying and exporting coffee. The event will close with the exciting public debut and screening of Blxck to Africa, a documentary by CxffeeBlack.
A Day For Youth
Although the event promises to be an activity-packed day (full of free coffee), Keith is most excited about getting the youth to participate in the event, and is looking forward to seeing some of his own “coffee disciples“ engaging in the coffee-learning process at the Color of Coffee Collective Symposium. “I want specialty-coffee shops to be a place where high-school kids can feel comfortable and safe to study in, and I want them to see people who look just like them behind the bar, and roasting the coffee too,“ he says.
Admission to the symposium is $30. There will also be a latte art throwdown on May 13 at Segundo Coffee Lab prior to the symposium. You can also sign up to be a member of the new collective, which gives you access to exclusive content, events, and updates about upcoming happenings. Certain levels of membership also grant you admission to the symposium.