Report from Estonia: Roaster Guild of Europe Camp Debuts

First Roaster Guild of Europe Camp is happening in Pärnu, Estonia right now

More than 200 coffee professionals from around the world ”primarily Europe ”are gathered in the coastal hamlet of Pärnu, Estonia, this week for the inaugural Roaster Guild of Europe Camp. The event began on Thursday, October 6, and concludes on Saturday, October 8. Much like the Roasters Guild of America’s annual retreat events, this coming together is an intensely packed few days of hands-on workshops, lectures, panel discussions, and cuppings, cuppings, cuppings.

Teams sort for defects during a team challenge during the first night of camp.
Teams sort for defects during a team challenge on  the first night of camp.
Morten Münchow of Coffee Mind leads a morning class called "The Faulty Roast."
Morten Münchow of Coffee Mind leads a morning class called “The Faulty Roast.”

I arrived yesterday evening to a warmed-up group ”the proverbial ice had been broken throughout the first day as the attendees were divided into teams which had been and are continuing to work together throughout camp in a host of activities, some serious and some purely for fun and community building.

Joanna Alm of Drop Coffee and Andy Benedikter of Cropster lead a class called "Follow the Curve."
Joanna Alm of Drop Coffee and Andy Benedikter of Cropster led a class called “Follow the Curve.”
Attendees have loads of time to play on the equipment on site.
Attendees have loads of time to play on the equipment on site.

After a day’s worth of classes on such topics as “Developing Flavor,” “How to Create a Blend,” “Green Coffee Buying Essentials,” and “Mapping Machine and Curve,” attendees gathered for an open discussion about what the new guild means to European roasters, and what the future of the guild is, particularly considering the recent member-driven decision to consolidate the Specialty Coffee Association of America  (SCAA) and the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe  (SCAE)  into what scuttlebutt reports will be called the Association of Specialty Coffee (ASC) moving forward.

Steve Leighton of Has Bean moderates a panel called "Green Buying Ethics: Stories From Origin," with panelists Sara Morrochi, Joanna Alm, and Raphael Studer.
Steve Leighton of Has Bean moderates a panel called “Green Buying Ethics: Stories From Origin,” with panelists Sara Morrochi, Joanna Alm, and Raphael Studer.

As with any good coffee retreat, this camp gives attendees plenty of time to play on a variety of roasting machines from Loring, Giesen, and Diedrich, and espresso and brewing machines from Nuova Simonelli and Marco. Further, cupping sessions with such esteemed green coffee importers as Cafe Imports, Falcon, Panama Varietals, Nordic Approach, and others, are being offered for hours on end each day and on such specific themes as Central American microlots, and Fresh Crop Ethiopia (Cafe Imports).

So much great coffee to cup here at Roaster Camp!
So much great coffee to cup here at Roaster Camp!

And things are so fun here! The camp is being held at the lovely Estonia Resort and Spa, where I’m told we have the choice between a bevy of hot springs and saunas, as well as pools of varying temperatures.

The Estonian flag flies high above the hotel on a chilly morning.
The Estonian flag flies high above the hotel on a chilly morning.

Look for an in-depth article about this event ”as well as the Barista Guild of Europe Camp, which will take over the resort from the roasters on Monday ”in the December+January issue of Barista Magazine.

About Sarah 918 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.