The Barista League Launches High Density Virtual Conference

This all-day virtual event features brew-a-longs and relevant topics selected by the speakers.


Photos courtesy of The Barista League

2020 was a tricky year for coffee events. In attempts at remedying countless canceled in-person events, many folks hosted webinars and virtual meetups to connect with their coffee peers. Whether you forgot to hit the “Record” button on a Zoom meeting, or woke up at odd hours to participate in international gatherings, it was a learning experience to understand what works best for a virtual event.

With that in mind, the international event group The Barista League has had their share of navigating the virtual realm during COVID-19. In addition to their online competition and monthly coffee challenge, the team has created an engaging and flexible virtual coffee conference called High Density that eliminates the time zone problem—you’ll be able to watch the whole thing as a recording once it’s finished.

“A gap that our team wanted to fill in the digital world of coffee is an event that is entirely curated for its attendees from start to finish,” says Angela Ferrara, communications director of The Barista League. “Our goal is to bring the best parts of all types of digital content together into one full-day event that is engaging and valuable for all coffee people.” Accessibility and practicality were already elements that TBL were working on long before COVID, so Angela explains that there was truly no better time to plan a digital event than now.

Our very own Mark Van Streefkerk will be presenting at High Density.

High Density takes place on March 9 and features a mix of everything in coffee, with a variety of panel topics like palate development, marketing, coffee and colonialism, and more. The Barista League also spoke with industry consultants to select their speaker lineup, which you can view here. These speakers got to choose the topics they wanted to present based on what each personally felt that the coffee world needed to talk about.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to feature so many (over 50!) talented coffee folks in High Density’s lineup,” says Angela. “… And while The Barista League curated the event, the program was really shaped by folks all over the world who were invited to speak on topics that they feel need to be heard by the industry. I’m really excited to see that all come together on event day!” Attendees will also have the chance to interact with speakers during Q+As at the end of each panel. The topics for the event include:

  • Field Report from El Salvador (Will Marquez)
  • Developing Unconscious Bias Training for Your Team (Lauren Lathrop)
  • Insularism & Specialty Coffee Shops (Karla Quiñones and Abner Roldán)
  • Creative Freelance 101 (Kat Melheim, Mark Van Streefkerk, RJ Joseph, Ashley Elander Strandquist, Felix Tran)
  • Green Coffee Buying Strategy (Tim Wendelboe)
  • Getting Published! A Guide to Getting Coverage in Coffee Publications (Sarah Allen)
  • Field Report from Kenya (Vava Angwenyi)
  • Can We Talk About How We Talk About Coffee? (Ever Meister)
  • Lack of Motivation=Professional Migration (Smayah Uwajeneza)

There are 27 panels! This is only a small sample; you can view the full list, which also includes interactive experiences like cuppings and brewing recipes, on the speakers page.

Abner and Karla are two of the many fantastic speakers scheduled to present at High Density.

The event is free to attend, with an optional $5 donation to the nonprofit Grounds for Health, but you also have the opportunity for more hands-on experiences. Ranging in a low cost of $5-$10, you can also be a part of more interactive brewing demos and preparation. For more information on the program and registration, you can head over to The Barista League’s website to sign up and participate.

About Katrina Yentch 221 Articles
Katrina Yentch (she/her) is a freelance writer and Barista Magazine's Online Editor. When she's not writing, you can find her napping, cooking, and drinking whatever's on drip.