Early tomorrow morning, I’m flying to Colombia. I’m going with a crew from Sustainable Harvest, to their annual event, Let’s Talk Coffee. I’m literally going with them — I think about five of us are on the same flight. We fly into Bogota tomorrow, then spend the night before the last leg of our journey: a short flight to Armenia.
The Let’s Talk Coffee event is unlike a typical conference or trade show in almost every way: everyone attending — I think about 250 people — will be staying at the same hotel and attending the same sessions. The point of LTC is to have the time and space to get into deep conversations about relationship coffee: attendees will include producers and roasters and, for the first time, baristas. Including this guy:
I wrote about this in my editor letter in the June/July 2008 issue of Barista Magazine, about how I had lunch with Sustainable Harvest a few months ago and David Griswold was really interested in hearing about the trip Ken and I took to Nicaragua, when we carted espresso machines around the whole country teaching producers how to taste their coffees as espresso. Here’s the truck loaded with them:
Before I told him all that, David was already planning on involving baristas in the LTC in Colombia, but I think he really got a sense of the potential of baristas doing more than pouring latte art for producers (which we’ll also be doing in a purely-for-fun competition) but actually collaborating with them about their experiences with espresso and getting producers to have a more tangible understanding of the cafe-to-farm connection. There are some awesome baristas scheduled to be there for this reason: Phuong Tran, Chris Baca, Stephen Vick (of Sustainable Harvest), Stephen Morrissey, and others.
Can’t wait to get started on this adventure, which will end with me and Chris Baca heading to Cali to visit Cafe Palo Alto, which is co-owned by Geoff Watts. I’m going to blog from Colombia as much as I can, with plenty of photos, so please check back for updates!
Totally unrelated thing I want to add: I got to meet Kyle Larson’s new son, Julian, for the first time the other day. Holy cow, he’s so freakin adorable, and looks SO much like Kyle. Here I am trying not to drop him.