Though Tamper Tantrum—a sort of mini TED Talks for the coffee industry—started on a whim in 2009 after the World Barista Championship in Atlanta, the the forum, which is an off-the-cuff series of conversations with some of the coffee industry’s best minds organized and produced by Has Bean‘s Stephen Leighton, and 3FE‘s Colin Harmon, really came into its own at the SCAE show in Vienna in 2012.
With the release of the speakers who will occupy both the Tamper Tantrum stage (see below for list of speakers), and the attention of countless folks at the SCAE show in Nice, France, beginning June 26, we thought it a good time to give you some background on the work Colin and Steve have done to make Tamper Tantrum the unique and multi-faceted event that it’s become.
FROM COLIN HARMON:
Sarah: So how did the idea come about to do TTLive at the SCAE’s World of Coffee event in Vienna?
Colin: TTLive had traditionally been held in Dublin, but this year the SCAE and World Coffee Events (WCE) invited us to have a stage at World of Coffee Vienna. This put the event shoulder-to-shoulder with the WBC, Brewers Cup, Cup Tasters Competition, and all the other events being held by WCE, so it was a huge honor for us. The greatest success for us though, was that people got it and understood what we were trying to achieve and it worked. We’re planning events for this year and next year already, so although we can’t say where or when, we’ll definitely be going further afield in the not-too-distant future.
Sarah: So the Tamper Tantrum concept is still evolving. What do you envision it developing into? A regular radio show or podcast? A traveling mini-conference like TED?
Colin: We’ve had a lot of offers but we just can’t put them all on at this stage as it’s a not-for-profit event and (Stephen Leighton and I) both have businesses to run. There’s been talk of having licensing agreements in the TEDex style, but we’re not 100 percent sure on that yet. What we will do though is to upload one-off interviews, videos and presentations on an ad-hoc basis to keep it fresh, as well as start working on some more events. Three a year is hopefully achievable, and we’ll then have to be creative in filling in the rest of the time to get more content online, because that’s what it’s all for: online content.
Sarah: Is Tamper Tantrum about having a laugh, or attacking serious coffee topics, or both? Or neither? What is it about?
Colin: One of our speakers, David Nigel Flynn, said recently that the industry can be a bit of an echo-chamber sometimes, so TTLive gives people a chance to rant, discuss, laugh, scream, and even agree sometimes. It’s always a wonderful social event, but it becomes a bit of a melting pot of ideas, too, for the attendees and people watching online. We had really great talk from Tim Williams in Dublin this year that ended up in a real gloves-off argument. We all went for a pint afterwards and everyone went away with a new perspective. That sort of thing is invaluable and really great for us all. I think though that underneath it all, it’s just a reason for me and Steve to get together and have a laugh though, something I wish we did more of.
Sarah: When the SCAE approached you about doing Tamper Tantrum at World of Coffee, what did you envision it as?
Colin: They were great about it because they didn’t ask us to do anything or obey any rules. They recognized that we could bring something to the table and they let us have free reign. They showed us the space, organized the logistics, and we just did our thing. The event was so packed that most of the time people had to stand in the aisles and watch. SCAE took a bit of a risk on us but it definitely paid off for both of us.
Sarah: How has Tamper Tantrum moved on since the World of Coffee in Vienna?
Colin: We post everything on tampertantrum.com, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. The events we have planned will be announced in the coming months, but it’s well worth watching the old ones as well as the Vienna talks, which will be coming online soon. Tamper Tantrum is really built to evolve though, and what it is now is not what it will be next year or in five years. It’s always going to be coffee, it’s always going to be fun and it’s always going to be a bit off-kilter. But after that there are no rules. Myself and Steve get too bored too easily to have it any other way.