I’m in Providence, Rhode Island, for an event that has completely inspired and invigorated me about what’s happening in coffee on this side of the United States: the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Artisan Coffee Conference.
This is the fourth year of this regional coffee love fest, which has previously been known as the MANE Barista Jam. But the baby’s all grown up now, and Conference—considering the amazing speakers, the large number of attendees, and the creative activities surrounding the event—is now a much more well suited title for what’s going on in gorgeous Providence this weekend.
Things kicked off with a super fun reception on Friday night, and I gave the keynote speech, which was an incredible honor. I talked about building your coffee community in the shop, as well as locally and regionally, and nationally and internationally. I always appreciate the opportunity to tell baristas just how great I hink they are, how important the work they do is, and how inspired I am by their passion and enthusiasm. So it was truly a treat for me.
This event is organized by Gerra Harrigan of New Harvest Coffee Company here in Rhode Island and Troy Reynard, owner of Cosmic Cup Coffee in Easton, Penn. Gerra and Troy put this event on every year for the sheer joy of it, as well as their continued belief in the coffee community out here in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. This year’s event is sold out, with around 150 people gathered for a few days of coffee education and celebrating.
The instructors have been totally awesome, as well. They include Sarah Kluth of Intelligentsia, who worked with groups on how to lead cuppings with your staff; Rob Stephen of InterAmerican Coffee, who sat on a panel today that addressed how to make coffee into a lifelong career; Trish Rothgeb of Wrecking Ball Coffee, who also sat on that panel; Andrew Blythe of Royal Coffee New York, also on the panel; Phil Proteau of Counter Culture Coffee, who lectured on milk science; Jay Caragay, who led workshops on various alternative brewing techniques and applications; and more, including Amanda Byron of Joe in New Yrk, and Tommy Gallagher of Counter Culture Coffee.
Events continue tomorrow with Barista Guild of America certification testing, and sad goodbyes. Can I say on more time how inspired I am by the wonderful work and incredible coffee people out here on the East Coast?!