The collective and the nonprofit Koffee with Keith will hold their second annual symposium in Houston on March 10-12.
BY J. MARIE CARLAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of the Color of Coffee Collective
The Color of Coffee Collective (COCC) is an organization that seeks to promote equity and opportunity for people of color in the greater coffee community. This year, they will return with the COCC Coffee Symposium Experience in Houston.
COCC Founder Keith Hawkins has been working in coffee for over 24 years. While he loved working in the community, he quickly saw the lack of representation of BIPOC within it.
The Story Behind COCC
“After walking into many coffee conferences, coffee shops, and coffee companies over the majority of my career, the one thing that was consistent in each space was that there was very limited or nonexistence of people of color,” Keith says in a press release. “I began COCC with the prime intentions of educating disenfranchised communities using our four-pillar approach for creating change, which are Coffee History Education, DE&I, Sustainability, and Cultivating Community.”
COCC seeks to empower BIPOC in coffee while increasing equity throughout the coffee supply chain.
Koffee with Keith is the Color of Coffee Collective’s built-in nonprofit organization, which started out as a podcast, but has grown in scope. The nonprofit’s goal is to actively educate Houston’s youth in disenfranchised communities about the specialty-coffee industry. They do this by providing behind-the-bar and hospitality training. They also teach coffee history, bean-to-cup classes, and the ins and outs of the industry. After training, Koffee with Keith helps trainees with job placement. ”We believe change is achieved through listening, educating, and implementing a plan of action based on community needs,” says Keith in the press release.
Last year’s Color of Coffee Collective Coffee Symposium Experience took place in May and was a big success. Keynote speaker Phyllis Johnson spoke on buying and selling coffee; there were plenty of panels featuring local coffee entrepreneurs and a screening of Blxck to Africa, a documentary by CxffeeBlack. In addition to educational and conversational panels, a well-attended latte art throwdown was held at Segundo Coffee Lab.
What to Expect for 2023
The 2023 COCC Coffee Symposium Experience will begin Friday, March 10, with a Ship Channel Tour at the Port of Houston. That evening, Segundo Coffee Lab will again host a barista throwdown.
Saturday will begin with morning breakout sessions, followed by lunch, then a variety of panels. These will include an origin panel, a baristas and shop owners panel, and a seed to cup panel. An afterparty will then take place on Saturday evening at Tipping Point, followed by Coffee Church at Doshi House Sunday morning.
You can buy tickets or register to volunteer at the 2023 COCC Coffee Symposium Experience on COCC’s website. Stay tuned for a ”10 Minutes With Keith Hawkins” interview, coming soon to Barista Magazine Online.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Marie Carlan (she/they) is the online editor for Barista Magazine. She’s been a barista for over a decade and writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. When she’s not behind the espresso bar or toiling over content, you can find her perusing record stores, collecting bric-a-brac, writing poetry, and trying to keep the plants alive in her Denver apartment. She occasionally updates her blog.