What a week I had last week in the San Francisco Bay Area! I flew from Portland, Ore., to Berkeley, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 16, to get a lot of work done—Fancy Food, meetings and cafe visits, and primarily the La Marzocco Out of the Box event—as well as spend some time with my parents, who still live in Berkeley in the house I grew up in. It was a great mix of coffee friends, great food and family time.
And boy, was it a busy week! Luckily, clear skies accompanied my entire visit—even for Northern California, the mid-60s temperatures and bright sunny skies were not the norm for mid January. So I felt very lucky walking around in a tshirt in the dead of winter.
La Marzocco Out of the Box—which is the boutique equipment company’s answer to an industry of young visionary coffee professionals who are dissatisfied with the large and cold trade show experience. Out of the Box—which has taken place around the world in the two years since the concept was first introduced in Milan—brings together a few hundred of specialty coffee’s best and brightest to demo equipment, jam on machines, participate in workshops taught by industry leaders, and socialize with peers. It was a huge success in Berkeley last week, with around 300 Bay Area coffee professionals gathered at The Marsh, an arts space in downtown Berkeley. (It may look familiar to some of you, as it was the location of the Western Regional Barista Competition a few years back).
The two-day event culminated with a keynote speech by Jerry Baldwin of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, about the history of coffee in the Bay Area, followed by a party and play time on the machines. My dad, Steve, is a big coffee lover, and longtime Berkeleyite, so he joined the fun for Mr. Baldwin’s speech. After, he shot a couple minutes of footage on his phone of the party.
Thanks again to all our friends at La Marzocco for allowing Barista Magazine to be a part of this wonderful event. We can’t wait for the next Out of the Box!