MANE Artisan Coffee Conference 2010
For the fourth year in a row Gerra Harrigan (New Harvest Coffee) and Troy Reynard (Cosmic Cup) have organized the Mid Atlantic North Eastern Barist Jam, but this has always exceeded the narrow description of a Jam, and is now called a conference. I have been saying it is more of a convention for the three years that I have participated. Using the headquarters of New Harvest Coffee in Providence RI was a huge success. There were six espresso machines (if you count the two in the training room), oodles of manual brewing devices, loads of beer, and for the lucky few, there was home made apple brandy, coffee liqueur, and slightly aged whiskey. Somebody up there has a still in a secret location, and apparently they know what to do with it.
Yesterday someone asked me to tell them my three high points. Here they are in order of greatness (to me anyway):
1- The point of the conference, in my opinion, is not just to have the opportunity for accomplished Baristas to rub elbows and network with other great coffee personalities. It is raise the level of knowledge, to educate, to create a greater sense of professionalism. There was a young woman named Emily from a local shop called Honey Do Doughnuts. She uses a super-auto machine, and has never dosed, distributed, or otherwise handled a portafilter. She heard about the conference and, of her own volition, sought us out (the specialty coffee people) to learn more about the craft. I took here on a dizzying crash course of Barista craft while scrambling to calibrate the tricky Malkhonig K-30 grinders just prior to the spro down. Quickly explaining what I was doing, and why, I crammed as much as I could into her brain for a few short minutes. It is important to me that everyone attending get the message there is no place for elitist and self aggrandizing attitudes in our little part of the industry. I hope she came away with a positive perspective and the desire to continue to learn more.
2- As the representative of one the sponsoring companies, I was given 10 minutes to tell a bit about the company. I recited our (Counter Culture Coffee) mission statement.
-Counter Culture Coffee is a relentless pursuit of coffee perfection
-We strive to achieve real social, economic, and environmental sustainability in all our endeavors
-We create cutting edge coffee people
That about sums it up.
3- For the last two MANEs, I worked sort of behind the scenes in a technical and logistical support capacity. This year I was asked to be a feature presenter. This was a terribly great honor for me, and I hope to never lose sight of the fact that I am in no way a super brain of coffee knowledge, and that there are many, many others as worthy or more than I am to speak on such matters.
For a close tie in fourth place would be hanging out with all the great bunch of coffee professionals who ended up getting sent away from on bar in downtown Providence, and ended up the true hang out, the Red Fez. This was equally matched with meeting the big bunch from Buffalo, the big bunch from Joe in NYC, working with host and organizers, spending time with my co-workers, and partying with the crew from Aldo Coffee of Pittsburgh. All others I ran into, chatted up, or otherwise interacted with, this goes for you all too.
This is the New Harvest training room.
Here is Troy of Cosmic, Rik of New Harvest, and Jay of Spro
Tommy, the Counter Culture Tech Guy, plumbing in a dedicated Shot Brewer
Jay gives a mock speech to an empty room
Among other coffee shops, we visited White Electric to see their cool (actually hot) lever machine
The discussion panel talked of the coffee career path, with special attention paid to women specific strategies
David Schomer, who was invited, said he is happier working in his shops, but did send this autographed glossy
We saw the Providence River Pyres, I’m not even going to try to explain this
Sorry about half of John’s face from Aldo, Troy of Cosmic, Ani of Aldo, Jess also of Aldo. Not to omit or offend any of the other dozens of great people, but these were good times with this bunch.
See you next year!