I’ve only been to MANE once before, and the feeling I have now is one I remember from when I attended in 2010: This is really amazing; I have to come back next year. And yeah, I’m going to do everything I can to return to Providence, Rhode Island, for the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Coffee Conference (affectionately referred to as MANE) next year—it’s one of the best events of the year.
This year’s MANE kicked off yesterday with a host of classes taught by some of the best in the industry: Todd Mackey of InterAmerican, Bill Fishbein of the Coffee Trust, Enrico Wurm of La Marzocco, and many more. Latte art workshops were offered all day, so attendees—the 200 spots available sold out in 3 weeks—dropped in throughout the day to get some hands on time with experienced baristas on sparkling La Marzocco Linea machines. Bill gave an inspiring lecture about what real sustainability at origin has to look like in order to really help so many coffee producers out of poverty. Todd taught a jam-packed class on green coffee grading. And there was much, much more.
As usual, MANE is taking place at Hope Artiste Village in Providence, a beautiful old sugar mill where such companies as a Rhode Island School of Design Alumni Gallery sits next to a children’s yoga studio, just down the hall from New Harvest Coffee Roasters’ offices, roastery, training center, and retail store. This place makes me want to live here.
What started as the brainchild of Troy Reynard (Cosmic Cup in Pennsylvania) and Gerra Harrigan (formerly with New Harvest, not with InterAmerican) seven years ago, MANE has grown into the premiere annual event on the east coast. Now New Harvest owner Rik Kleinfeldt has taken the reins, and I have to say, MANE is cooler than ever.
After the educational sessions were over, we grabbed beer and pizza and then settled in for a keynote address from George Howell himself. Attendees were on the edge of their chairs for the duration, hanging on George’s every word about varietals and terroir—it was fascinating and entertaining. George is always such a treat.
And all of a sudden, it was a dance party, and dance these east coasters did—all night. Well, until they kicked us out at 11. We were all excited for the second day of the event, which would include classes with Marcus Boni—the beloved former Mayor of Barista Town, who now works at Kaldi’s; Erin McCarthy—the 2013 World Brewer’s Cup Champ, who works at Counter Culture, Jamie Schoenholt of Royal, Luis Fernando Prado of ASOPROAAA in Costa Rica, and many more.
Here are some photos from the event to give you an idea of how amazing it’s been—I’m sad that it’ll be all over by the end of the evening! But I’m already planning on coming back next year—and you should be, too.