This Coffee Thing Hits the Streets of New York on Thursday, November 12
This Coffee Thing is a New Community-Based Event in New York
To be a coffee professional is to be a lifetime learner. With how new the specialty coffee industry is and how often new findings and trends in coffee brewing, it’s no surprise that the coffee world is full of eager individuals who jump at the chance to learn more about their craft. So when The Mid-Atlantic Northeast Coffee Conference, or MANE, was postponed to next year, a group of coffee folks in New York decided to not let that stop their pursuit of knowledge.
This Coffee Thing is the result of a group of coffee pros in New York coming together to continue to push educational opportunities and provide a gathering space for coffee individuals to meet and share ideas. œWe were very inspired by events like the MANE Conference; both by the interesting, advanced concepts we were exposed to and, just as importantly, by the amazing people we met there, says Maciej Kasperowicz, Director of Coffee for Gregory’s Coffee in New York and one of the founders of the events. Unlike many coffee events, This Coffee Thing will not be a showcase of new coffee products or be in a huge, expansive space, but instead will be a modest lecture series intended on discussing ideas. From coffee sustainability to solubility, the goal of This Coffee Thing (TCT) was to bring together people to swap stores and generally have a good time.
For a year filled with cancellations and restructuring of important baristas events meant to foster community, This Coffee Thing is refreshing and representative of what can be done with few resources and lots of ambition. Admission is free, attendees are encouraged to bring their own libations, and the event boasts a modest three sponsors, all of which provide important, but monetarily speaking, small contributions to make this happen. œI don’t want to make it seem like we didn’t work hard to do this, but overall, I’d say it wasn’t tremendously difficult, (though it’s probably terrible luck to say that before we’ve actually pulled it off), Maciej says. œWith the Café Grumpy space and its AV capabilities, the only things we’ve spent money on have been paying the artist for that amazing poster, web hosting, and having TCT buttons made. And getting a few dollars here and there from coffee companies for those purposes hasn’t been hard.
Along with these resources, the founders of This Coffee Thing simply leveraged their best resource ”the city of New York itself: œNew York has so much to offer – in terms of huge, equipment-filled spaces and amazing coffee professionals – that it should be pretty easy to put together a more modest lecture series and still help empower our baristas to learn, and feel even more like a part of a community. However, the idea isn’t simply New York specific, and Maciej hopes that this event will help spark similar ones like it in other cities. œI do think New York makes it slightly easier than the average city because of the high concentration of baristas and companies, but, as I find seemingly anytime I go to a new city, lots of places have lots of awesome coffee people.
This Coffee Thing hopes to be a semi-regular lecture series, and will launch their first event next week. Along with a small number of talks, they will also host a panel discussion featuring various coffee professionals from the city discussing hospitality and service. If the response is positive, they hope to expand and include more lectures and classes and get more people involved. œWe’re looking to go quarterly. As far as other topics, we’re really very open; there are so many facets of the industry to discuss! We just want interesting, challenging presentations.
And if anything, you’ll at least be guaranteed a good time. œIt’s BYOB, the chances of a human pyramid being constructed at some point are pretty damn high; we want people to come and learn but we also want them to come make friends.
This Coffee Thing will be held at Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint: 199 Diamond Street this Thursday at 7. Doors open at 6:30 and admission is free (and BYOB). For more information, check out http://www.thiscoffeething.com/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Rodriguez thought that she’d take a break from teaching middle school science and putz around in a coffee shop for a few months. She ended up digging it way more than teaching (and was vaguely better at it). After spending 5 years making coffee in New York, she now works for Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter at @ashcommonname.