CoffeeConLA 2018 Presenters
A Yemeni-American, Mokhtar Alkhanshali hopes to serve as a bridge between Yemen and the World by connecting the farmers of the world’s oldest, rarest cultivated coffee varietals with coffee enthusiasts that can fully appreciate it. Combining a blend of his knowledge of specialty coffee production and progressive infrastructure strategy, Mokhtar has helped to change the face of coffee in Yemen. Through extensive travels in 32 different coffee producing regions in Yemen, working on the ground with farmers along every single step of the coffee value chain, Mokhtar has been able to source coffees with flavor profiles that surpass the rarest of geishas. His harrowing escape from war-torn Yemen on a fishing boat across the Red Sea to Africa may have put him in the news, but it is his work with Yemeni farmers and families that endures.
HEATHER PERRY is the Vice President and Director of Training and Consulting for Klatch Coffee, a 20 year-old Los Angeles based coffee roaster and retailer. Ms.Perry has that all-too rare quality that comes from working in the retail stores, honing her skills to compete in Barista Competitions to win many titles. She is past Chair of the Barista Guild of America where she helped to design and launch their Certification Program. Ms. Perry has also used her vast industry knowledge in a consulting capacity, advising companies such as Mars, Breville, Got Milk, Krups, and Nestle. In her spare time, Ms. Perry is a Director on the Board for the Specialty Coffee Association of America and Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee.
Jess Barron is the GM & VP for LIVESTRONG.COM, the #1 Healthy Living website with over 27M unique monthly viewers. LIVESTRONG.COM helps people live their strongest life by providing timely answers, results-oriented tools and a supportive community of peers and experts. Jess is co-creator of Livestrong’s 8-week STRONGER with Nicky Holender streaming online video series and also Livestrong’s Simple.Healthy.Eats recipe videos, which have received over 10 million total video views. Prior to working with LIVESTRONG.COM, Jess was the business leader of Beachbody’s online subscription website with digital videos and online tools. Jess also honed a deep understanding of the types of headlines and content that appealed to all demographics of people when she ran the editorial content team for the Yahoo! home page, which at the time was the most popular site on the Internet.
Mustafa Arat worked in sales for 27 years for Xerox Corp., Pitney-Bowes Inc. and other Fortune 500 companies. Now he’s doing it for himself, peddling something that almost every grown-up craves. Only, as Arat figures it, he’s providing a healthier alternative. And he’s not selling a product so much as a method that he sees as a hot trend.
From his home in Corona, Arat runs www.turkishcoffeeworld.com, a retailer for everything needed to make and serve Turkish coffee. He offers a big selection of pots, grinders, gift items and fresh coffee.
“I actually kind of stumbled onto Turkish coffee as a possible product idea by a coincidence, while I was searching for ways to stop smoking,” said Arat, 55, whose health issues forced him to make lifestyle and career changes. Arat — who holds anthropology and international business degrees from Western Michigan University and Indiana University — considered selling other products, especially items in the technology sector, before he struck on Turkish coffee.
Turkish coffee, he said, “takes several minutes to prepare . . . which keeps a person busy.”
Robert Wallach is a founding partner and co-inventor of the Coffee Freshness System which utilizes pressurized CO2 gas to preserve the freshness of roasted coffee beans. He has a degree in Chemical Engineering and has previously worked in the Semiconductor Industry of Silicon Valley. The search for a better way to preserve coffee beans for home brewing led Robert to study the science of coffee staling extensively and in 2012 to partner with a Mechanical Engineer and develop the Coffee Freshness System. Robert is passionate about the field of Coffee Freshness and is eager to share his knowledge on this subject at CoffeeCon.
Matthew C. Torres
Matthew Torres founded and runs the Long Beach Coffee Club which has over 350 members. He’s passionate about all things community, culture, and coffee. Matthew strives to create a space that coffee consumers can hangout, learn, and discuss coffee. He’s traveled around the world in search of how coffee and culture intersect. He’s been interviewed by the Long Beach Post, Gazette, and Long Beach Business Journal. If you want to get on Matthew’s good side talk to him about Hip Hop or coffee community.
Jessica Ferraro is a craft chocolate specialist who created Bar Cacao to drive the craft chocolate movement in a positive direction.
Bar Cacao primarily works to develop and support the post-production segment of the new craft chocolate supply chain, through brokering chocolate, engaging retailers in developing craft chocolate programs, advising makers on best practices, judging chocolate and organizing tasting events.
On the cacao production side of the supply chain, Bar Cacao has gained significant exposure to fine cacao production in Ecuador, Venezuela, Belize and beyond. Sourcing trips for industry professionals coming in 2018.
In 1988, Peter Giuliano began his career in coffee as a barista in San Diego. Since then, Peter has worked in a variety of coffee occupations, including roaster, cupper, manager, trainer, and coffee buyer. Peter became involved in the Specialty Coffee Association of America in the 1990s, when a workshop taught at SCAA headquarters inspired him to become more involved as a volunteer and trainer. Since then, Peter has been deeply involved in SCAA training programs, serving as Training Committee Chair from 2005-2007. He has been a volunteer for the Coffee Corps and other CQI programs, teaching cupping, roasting, and marketing programs. He is a proud member of the Roasters Guild, and was a founder of its Executive Council, sitting on the Council from 2001-2007 and serving as its chair in 2004. Peter was the Director of Coffee and co-owner of Counter Culture Coffee, a wholesale roasting and coffee education company based in Durham, North Carolina. Today, Peter serves as the Chief Research Officer for the Specialty Coffee Association, a global coffee organization dedicated to making coffee better all over the world.
Martin Diedrich is well known as the founder of Diedrich Coffee, a coffeehouse concept he created in 1983 which grew to become one of the largest specialty coffee companies in the US. In 2004 Martin parted ways with Diedrich Coffee, and he and his wife Karen founded Kean Coffee, named for their son. Since 2005 Kean Coffee has grown to two coffeehouse locations and a thriving wholesale roasting operation, and has won numerous awards and accolades for coffee excellence, community popularity, and environmentally responsible practices. Martin learned about coffee farming and the craft of proper roasting while growing up on his family’s coffee farm in Antigua, Guatemala. Recognized in the specialty coffee industry as a leading coffee expert, Martin has traveled extensively throughout the world’s coffee growing regions and has numerous longstanding direct relationships with coffee growers. Martin was a close collaborator in creating the internationally recognized “Cup of Excellence” program, and was an active early co-creator in the “Q” market and auction program as well as the Rainforest Alliance sustainable coffee program. Martin received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCAA) in recognition of his pioneering efforts in the specialty coffee trade.
Bryan initially joined Voltea in January of 2014 to lead Operations as COO before transitioning into overall company leadership as CEO in October 2014. He recently lead the successful turn-around of a high-tech materials science research institute and consultancy, after having spent eight years with General Electric and serving as a founding member of Seven Seas Water and its VP Operations through the start-up phase. Bryan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering.
Selena Donovan’s career started when she landed an unexpected bartending job on Bourbon Streat at the ripe age of 19.
After earning a degree in public relations and marketing from Loyola New Orleans, Selena worked in event planning and programming for a New Orleans hospitality group. She developed within the company, moving to restaurant general management and eventually, Director of Operations.
She then moved back to her hometown of Boston to work with culinary trailblazer, Lydia Shire, and, after earing a Zagat 30 under 30 honor during her time spent in Boston, she then relocated to San Francisco to take on the role of General Manager of Maven, where she frew her role into Managing Partner.
Upon relocating to Los Angeles, she began her journey as Grey Goose Ambassador for Los Angles, spreading all the vodka love around Southern California.
Marc Wortman is owner of the Make Good Coffee Co. in San Diego, California and has been blogging about coffee since 2006 and started as a home roaster now roasting professionally.
Alan Gomez is the owner of Commodity Coffee in Long Beach. He worked at Portola and all over Portland. He is a wealth of knowledge. He agreed to help me with our Long Beach Coffee Club room (sun room) and will teach the Grinding workshop for CoffeeCon.
Annetta Martin is a freelance coffee professional with a background in Specialty Coffee Association curriculum. She’s been in coffee for five years with a mission of empowering lovers of coffee everywhere through education and community development.
Jessica Rodriguez began her coffee career in 2012 as a barista and immediately became enamored with the specialty coffee industry. She spent years helping to provide a hospitable ambiance and serve well prepared coffee in a cafe environment. Jessica entered the competitive coffee world in 2016 and placed 4th in the 2017 US Brewer’s Cup Championship and is now enjoying being on the other side of the table as a Brewer’s Cup judge for the 2018 season. Jessica has been a specialized instructor for the Specialty Coffee Association for several years and is the Director of Training and Education for Augie’s Coffee Roasters in the Inland Empire. She currently spends most of her time hosting public cuppings, trainings and sensory workshops. Helping others to explore the world of specialty coffee is one of Jessica’s favorite things to do. When she isn’t doing something coffee related, you can find her in her kitchen baking up something delicious.