LTC ’09 Day 1

The second day of Let’s Talk Coffee 2009 is just under way. (Or officially the first day, yesterday’s activities which included a long session on storytelling and seven stations of barista training were optional.) Attendees just watched a welcome video and introduction from David Griswold, president and founder of Sustainable Harvest, and the first presentations of the day have begun.

When the presentations began, the barista champions in the audience made a dash for the door, not because they’re not interested in what the presenters have to say, but here at LTC, your morning coffee at the break time will be prepared and served by one of several national barista champions, so they had to get busy prepping.

Joel bin Izzy leads the day-long storytelling session.

Joel bin Izzy leads the day-long storytelling session.

Attendees from Colombia listen to the storytelling session.

Attendees from Colombia listen to the storytelling session.

Barista champions from Nicaragua, Hungary, Brazil, and Colombia tell stories from their time at Selva Negra in the Seed-to-Cup Barista Challenge.

Barista champions from Nicaragua, Hungary, Brazil, and Colombia tell stories from their time at Selva Negra in the Seed-to-Cup Barista Challenge.

Just after the baristas finished participating in the storytelling session, they ran over to the other end of the hotel to set up their seven stations for barsita training. The stations included: espresso preparation, milk steaming, latte art, triangular cupping, alternative brewing methods, understanding water, and espresso machine maintenance.

For many attendees, it was the first time they had seen or worked with espresso machines. And though all the stations got very positive responses, the station that drew the most attention was latte art. Seeing someone in person pouring latte art for the first time is just a damn cool thing, and the attendees were very impressed.

Canadian champion, Michael Yung, and Colombian Champion, Ever Bernard, get ready to drop some espresso knowledge.

Canadian champion, Michael Yung, and Colombian Champion, Ever Bernard, get ready to drop some espresso knowledge.

Attila from Hungary and Michael from the US prep the espresso station.

Attila from Hungary and Michael from the US prep the espresso station.

New Mexican champion, Fabrizio, and US Champion, Phuong lead the triangular cupping session.

New Mexican champion, Fabrizio, and US Champion, Phuong lead the triangular cupping session.

Michael from Allegro and Alex from the Fresh Pot teach alternate brewing methods.

Michael from Allegro and Alex from the Fresh Pot teach alternate brewing methods.

Luis Lopez, a.k.a. Luis Cappuccino, shows how he earned the nickname at the milk steaming station.

Luis Lopez, a.k.a. Luis Cappuccino, shows how he earned the nickname at the milk steaming station.

Skip from Cirqua tells attendees that water is more than O and a couple of Hs.

Skip from Cirqua tells attendees that water is more than O and a couple of Hs.

Stephen Vick, fresh in from Africa, gives a demonstration on espresso machine maintenance.

Stephen Vick, fresh in from Africa, gives a demonstration on espresso machine maintenance.

The day of training was supposed to end with a latte art competition, but after running through their stations with seven different sets of attendees the baristas were pooped, and with the sun setting over the Pacific, they were released to go play in the ocean before the welcoming night drink and dinner started. And there was much rejoicing.

Sunset at Montelimar comes at 5:45pm. It's a tremendous 15-minute show.

Sunset at Montelimar comes at 5:45pm. It's a tremendous 15-minute show.

About the Author

Ken

Kenneth R. Olson is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Huskies. Go Blazers! Go Dawgs!