Baristas to the Rescue: Rosettas for Relief event to benefit victims of Japan earthquake and tsunami

My old friend, Aaron Duckworth (or Duck) was vacationing with his wife in Hawaii when the earthquake and tsunami that recently ravaged Japan struck. Their vacation was cut short when Duck and his wife were evacuated from Kona, making the tragedy hit particularly close to the couple. Duck came away from the experience with a strong desire to do something to help the victims of this historic devastation, and Duck emailed me about it the other day. His idea? To coordinate a Rosettas for Relief event in the Kansas City area to raise money and awareness.

Barista Magazine Publisher Ken Olson shot this photo when he was in Japan for the WBC in 2007. He was taken with the captivating culture, the kindness of the people and the richness of the country, as a whole.

Here’s what Duck has asked me to share with Barista Magazine’s readers about the event:

The world has been shaken, and the coffee community of Kansas City is taking action. Pórtico Café in Kansas City is hosting a market-wide Rosettas For Relief event to benefit the victims/survivors of the earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, and the tsunami that resulted quickly afterwards.

100% of the monies received from this fundraiser event will go the American Red Cross. Rosettas For Relief will be held on April 3rd from 6-9 p.m. at Portico Café (8720 E. 55th Street  Kansas City, MO  64129-2618) and will feature a head-to-head Latte Art Throwdown that will be judged by regional baristas (we have several former USBC /United States Barista Championship judges in the Kansas City area) as well as a Brewer’s Cup-style Throwdown that will be judged by local roasters.

We are very grateful to Benetti’s Coffee Experience (in Raytown, Missouri) for donating the espresso for the Latte Art Throwdown and to PT’s Coffee (out of Topeka, Kansas) for donating the coffee for the Brewer’s Cup Throwdown.

Money for the Red Cross will be raised through the following streams:
• Baristas wishing to compete will pay either $15 to participate in one throwdown, or $20 for both.
• Once the throwdown entries (the coffee drinks) have been judged, the drinks will be immediately auctioned off to the highest bidder.
• Any and all donated promotional material (ie, “swag”: mugs, coffee, etc) will be sold/auctioned off. In the event of a tremendous amount of swag, we will hold a silent auction. Note: All swag items, regardless of actual retail value, will start at $0.25.

Other possible activities include:
—Live streaming of the South Central Barista Competition finals round (held March 31-April 3 in St Louis) and winner announcements. This is subject to site availability.
—A visit by a producer/roaster/retailer. One from Kona that I know may be in town on April 3. If she is in KC, she’ll be at RFR and will talk about supply chain and rising green bean costs worldwide.

I would also like to try to live-stream Japanese coffee guru Hiroshi Sawada (he’s on the cover of the Feb/March 2011 issue of Barista Magazine) via Skype to give us a real assessment of what’s going on in Japan, both in general and from a coffee industry perspective.

Rosettas For Relief is about more than coffee. It’s about helping out people whose lives have been devastated.

So what can you do? Donate swag and retail packaged product that can be sold for charity. We are inviting local media (both foodie-specific and mainstream) and will be notifying the appropriate coffee publications of this event and will not be bashful about thanking those who donate.  If you feel so inclined, you may contact Aaron Duckworth at 816.536.7646 or via email at aduckworth@kcbt.org.  Thank you so much for your consideration and for your support of the Barista craft and coffee community!

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.