Kenneth Davids is editor, chief cupper/writer and co-founder of Coffee Review. Since its launch in 1997 Coffee Review has become one of the leading interpreters of the new world of coffee to consumers. Ken has been involved with coffee since the early 1970s and has published three books on coffee, including the influential Home Roasting: Romance and Revival, now in its second edition, and Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying, which has sold nearly 250,000 copies in five editions with a sixth edition scheduled for 2019. His workshops and seminars on coffee sourcing, evaluation and communication have been featured at professional coffee meetings on six continents. He is Professor Emeritus of Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. In 1996 he was awarded a Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to Coffee Literature by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Paul Schlader is a co-founder of Birch Coffee, specialty coffee roaster with 10 coffee shop locations in NYC and roastery in Long Island City.
Nick Wright has extensive bar experience at the highest levels, across Europe and in New York, and now works as Brand Ambassadors for Grey Goose.
Joseph Behm, Inventor and designer of the Behmor 1600 an award winning home coffee roaster employing patent pending smoke suppression technology. The Behmor 1600 was the recipient of the SCAA Best New Products Award in 2007, and listed on the prestigious Imbibe Magazine’s “Top Gear” list. Behm also invented the world’s first consumer brewer to have accurate temperature control via on board calibration with altitude correction with on board system memory. The Brazen Brew System was voted the Best New Product (People’s Choice) at the SCAA 2012 Expo.
Behm’s latest project involves social justice as he’s recently given away coffee roasters and brewers to coffee growers in a singlehanded effort to increase coffee awareness throughout the coffee cycle.
Selim Vural is the founder of interior design & architecture firm Studio Vural, which specializes in hospitality design.
Selim completed his undergraduate studies at the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul where he was exposed to a Bauhaus model education while studying Byzantine & Ottoman masterpieces.
Upon his immigration to the NY, Selim started his architectural studies at Pratt Institute and obtained a Master’s of Architecture degree in 1996.
After 12 years of experience with prominent firms in such as Eisenman Architects, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, and Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, Selim established his own firm Studio Vural in 2009.
Studio Vural currently is designing 2 espresso bars, a restaurant and a boutique hotel in Manhattan. His company Studio Vural at http://studiovural.com has a specialty in cafe design.
In addition to his practice, Selim has taught architectural studio classes at the University of Arkansas, New York Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Selim lives with his wife and young son in Brooklyn.
Jeremy Lyman is a co-founder of Birch Coffee, specialty coffee roaster with 10 coffee shop locations in NYC and roastery in Long Island City.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Becca Woodard has been in the coffee industry for 4 years. She is currently the Head Trainer and Wholesale Account Manager for George Howell Coffee and the 2018 United States Brewer’s Cup Champion. She decided to start competing this year, and has taken a whole new approach to the Brewer’s Cup competition; from using the stage and the voice it gave her as a platform for a message, to showcasing innovation in pouring and brewing techniques. Her message is about the systemic problems on both ends of the supply chain. On the cafe end, there is a large imbalance of cis white men dominating behind the bar and in competitions. On the farm end growing practices are often doing more harm than good to the Earth and the coffee plants. Using competition as a way to talk about these issues and bring them to the attention of others is what drives Becca to push boundaries and give it everything she can into her performance.
Joseph Monett is the Director of Training and Development for Cafe Grumpy. Joseph partners with retail managers and wholesale directors to grow teams and educate staff. With over a decade in the culinary world, Joseph knows what drives an excellent craft company—connecting with customers, creating a vibrant community, and celebrating the hard work of your team.
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.
RICHARD BASTAR IV
Richard Bastar has worked in the water treatment industry for 5 years with Nalco, and Ecolab Company, and Voltea, and also served as a U.S. Army Officer for 8 years. He brings a level of professionalism, critical thinking, and attention to detail that is much needed in water treatment. Through travel around the U.S. and EU to better understand water and quality, he has developed a level of appreciation for specialty coffee that drives passion across our team. Richard holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (ChE) and continuously strives for excellence throughout his career and within the Voltea team.
Chuck Herrera is long time coffee enthusiast turn pro. Three years ago he quit his job as graphic design after being completely enamored with the desire to balance well made coffee, hospitality and the esthetics of the third wave coffee culture. In these few years Chuck has been involved in coffee shop start ups, small batch roasting, coffee directing, cafe management and consulting and worked at the top West LA coffee bars like Cognescenti Coffee, Menotti’s Coffee Stop and Bar Nine Coffee Roasters.
Recently Chuck opened his own coffee bar with his fiancé Jenna, Good People Coffee Co in West Los Angeles. Taking a very different approach to specialty coffee Chuck crafted drinks that are tailor to suit every palate, high scoring single origins as well as homemade, handcrafted sweet lattes. Most days Chuck can be found on bar at Good People.
Patrick McKeown is Head Roaster for Allegro Coffee Roasters’ Bowery location. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Sustainability from Stony Brook University where he realized the global impact of the coffee trade. After co-founding a small roasting company on Long Island, the opportunity to be part of the specialty coffee scene in NYC was too good to pass up. Day-to-day he manages the roasting, packaging, and distribution of ten single origin coffees and two blends; he hosts public events like cuppings or extraction classes and still enjoys getting behind the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle to make drinks for guests.
James was presented with coffee and its industry four years ago after moving to New York City from Buffalo. After being blessed with a trip to Costa Rica, he became determined to highlight quality in coffee, and accept the many opportunities of how one can use such a product. Working with Abbotsford Road, James is able to offer businesses his unique perspective of seeing things: both from a consumer and a customer point of view. His hopes are to personally and professionally grow with Abbotsford Road, bringing with him the opportunity to form long lasting relationships.