As I write this we are both in our hotel room. Pat is tweeting. I have been sitting here, wondering. It is a little terrifying. This is our first out of town CoffeeCon. The Bay Area has all the right ingredients for success: a robust economy, a big coffee-drinking population, and one that drinks coffee not to stay awake but as a culinary extension of their art-in-everything lifestyle. And, some of the best coffee roasters and local brewing experts anywhere.
Then why terrifying? Mostly because so much is riding on it. Everyone who’s discovered CoffeeCon has loved it. But, have we reached the people who would also love it, but aren’t as connected to us? Have local baristas heard of it, and urged their regulars to come? Have the local cafes posted our posters, retweeted our tweets, and promoted it so that everyone who might be interested can at least know of it and make up their mind?
Not sure. And, we’ve got our best lineup ever. We have a baker’s dozen of the nation’s top roasters. We’ve got the Aeropress’s inventor Alan Adler no less, demonstrating his own tweaks. We’ve got George Howell not only teaching tasting, but participating in a future of coffee star-gazing exercise with Equator Coffee’s Helen Russell (herself a brilliant entrepreneur), Chris Jordan (who’s lived in coffee growing regions) and a caffeinated-without-coffee inventor of the most advanced automatic drip brewer Joe Behm.
We’ve got two completely different presentations addressing environmental and sustainability from experts. Everyone agrees these are important subjects. It all starts with coffees that taste great and how to support and sustain growing them.
Kenneth Davids, the closest the coffee industry has to wine’s Robert Parker, shares his secrets of how to review a coffee.
Not to mention a bunch of hands-on classes that will improve anyone’s home coffee brewing or teach them something a little exotic (Turkish coffee anyone?), taught by an expert.
But will you coffee drinkers, and home roasters, support this event? I remember a top coffee brewing executive scoffing that coffee’s fans are not really able to taste the difference and that the whole business is smoke, mirrors and will drift away when the next fad comes along. I’ve never believed this and still will not.
I’m just sharing my real inner thoughts. I’ve got a lot invested, my whole life. Please encourage your friends to buy tickets. If you’re a Bay Area coffee enthusiast, please support us. I’m an original and this kind of event doesn’t grow on trees. If you’re a barista, come cheer for the home team. Your profession will grow as people realize the craft and skill and yes, art that goes into your work. I know a number of the Bay Area’s top baristas are taking the time to come to CoffeeCon. Will they tell their friends? Will CoffeeCon consumer coffee festival be the smash success we keep hearing it will be, or just another great independent idea that disappears until big business can find a way to make their own watered-down version?