Let’s Talk Coffee To Unite International Coffee Community

let's talk coffee

Sustainable Harvest’s annual gathering of top coffee producers, buyers, roasters, cafe owners, and baristas, Let’s Talk Coffee, to be held in Panama October 9–12

We’ve been thrilled to support and attend Let’s Talk Coffee in the past, and we’re counting the days until this year’s event, which will be held in Panama in October. Now in its twelfth year, Let’s Talk Coffee is known as one of the most engaging and unique gatherings for specialty-coffee professionals in the world. Considering how many events take place in our industry, that’s saying something.

Let’s Talk Coffee is the brainchild of David Griswold, the longtime coffee visionary who owns Sustainable Harvest, a green-coffee importing company based in Portland, Ore., with offices around the coffee world, including Tanzania, Mexico, and Peru. Known for being an innovator and creative thinker, David developed Let’s Talk Coffee as a forum for coffee producers to not only meet with roasters and buyers face to face, but to spend several days together in a relaxed and intimate setting. Having this kind of opportunity for interaction is pretty amazing, as buyers and roasters don’t always have the time or means to visit all of their producer partners. Not only are existing relationships strengthened over the course of the four-day Let’s Talk Coffee summit, new ones are established; suffice it to say that a lot of business gets done at Let’s Talk Coffee.

The Barista Champion of Mexico, who placed second at the World Barista Championship in 2012, Fabrizio Sencion, makes coffee for producers at Let's Talk Coffee last year. Let's Talk Coffee is for professionals from all points on the coffee chain, from baristas and roasters, to green buyers and coffee producers.

The Barista Champion of Mexico, who placed second at the World Barista Championship in 2012, Fabrizio Sencion, makes coffee for producers at Let’s Talk Coffee last year. Let’s Talk Coffee is for professionals from all points on the coffee chain, from baristas and roasters, to green buyers and coffee producers.

But it’s not all work either—David and his Sustainable Harvest team know their producer, roaster, and barista partners need to relax and have fun, which is why Let’s Talk Coffee is always held in a location that marries inspiring meeting spaces with beautiful vistas and playful activities in a coffee-producing country. This year’s event will be held at the Westin Panama Playa Bonita Hotel, which is located outside of Panama City. The hotel features a private beach, and what looks to be a pretty killer pool.

So let’s see: we have relationship building, business, and relaxing taken care of. What else is Let’s Talk Coffee about? Education, of course! Sustainable Harvest is bringing together a group of scholars with remarkable perspectives on specialty coffee, including New York Times journalist Oliver Strand, Wall Street Journal reporter Leslie Josephs, as well as experts from the field and on Sustainable Harvest’s staff to discuss the continued struggle with roya—coffee leaf rust—facing Central American farmers. Other interesting segments of this year’s conference include a discussion with producers about post harvesting techniques and how they vary around the world, lectures on climate change specific to Brazil and how it’s affecting prices, and the annual HarVee Awards, which honor exceptional producers and will be hosted by Kenneth Davids of Coffee Review.

Let's Talk Coffee

Group photo of all attendees from Let’s Talk Coffee in 2013.

Of course, Let’s Talk Coffee being held in Panama is pretty special for that reason alone, so you can be sure some of the farms that have made the country famous will be involved in the event. Specifically, the Geisha varietal will be discussed and explored, with experts from Hacienda La Esmeralda and Finca La Mula, among others, speaking on the topic. In fact, we’re going to go so far into Geisha during Let’s Talk Coffee that we’ll even play a board game based on it.

One of my favorite parts about Let’s Talk Coffee is the field trip day, wherein participants can travel to one of Panama’s most extraordinary and celebrated farms. This year will be the best yet, with Best of Panama-winning farms for attendees to choose from.

Let’s Talk Coffee is just awesome, folks, and it sounds like plans are in motion to make this year’s event the best one yet. One of the beauties of Let’s Talk Coffee is that space is limited—it’s intimate and really unique. But that means space will sell out quickly, so now’s the time to register. Need more reason to get your registration done right now? Space on the farm visits is limited, too, so in order to get a spot on the trip to your favorite farm, you gotta register.

Barista Magazine is super excited to be attending Let’s Talk Coffee, where we’ll report on the event each day, and also write a feature article in an upcoming issue. So stay tuned!

About the Author

baristamagazine

Barista Magazine is the leading trade magazine in the world for the professional coffee community.