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SCAA 2008 Minneapolis Day 0
Author: CoffeeGeek Staff
Posted: May 1, 2008
Article rating: 9.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write

The first full day of the SCAA show is a day where the trade show floor is still closed and booth owners are setting up, but the United States Barista Championship is in full swing; the day is full of meets and greets, of seminars and discussions, and we'll cover some of the more interesting highlights.

Seminar on Coffee Community Building
Posted by Mark Prince, 8:15am Permalink to this blog entry

I just finished taking part in a seminar on community building and potentials out there for how to grow communities within coffee. It was pretty cool. The two other speakers were Chad Trewick the green coffee buyer for Caribou Coffee, and Bob, from Bongo Java, and I found their discussions particularly interesting.

Chad talked about how a medium-sized coffee company gets hands on, going to origin, working directly with source, helping build communities and make communities better at origin.

Bob was very cool. He's got a quirky set of cafes, and he's the world famous "Nun Bun" guy (look it up!), and at one point in his presentation, he got quite emotional about some very personal stories about his employees and how they were their own tight family.

My presentation? Bored the hell out of the room...

Here's Chad and Bob from my iPhone.

Chad Trewick, Caribou
Bog Bernstein
Bob Bernstein, Bongo Coffee
Dr. Jane Goodall finds common ground for chimps and coffee
Posted by Beata Siwinski, 8:55am Permalink to this blog entry

One of the highlights of being involved with CoffeeGeek is meeting extra-ordinary people involved in specialty coffee. As an animal lover and great coffee lover, I was thanking my lucky star when a world-renowned primatologist and humanitarian,  Dr. Jane Goodall, along with Lindsey Bolger, Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships for Green Mountain Coffee, was doing a special one-time only presentation for members of the media. The audience was surprisingly very small, probably due to the fact that this presentation wasn't on the original mailed out program. That was to my advantage, as I got to sit very close!  

Dr. Goodall began her landmark study of chimpanzees in Tanzania in 1960 and in 1977 created the Jane Goodall Foundation. Since then the institute continued the pioneering research of chimpanzee behavior, which changed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals. The ecosystem around Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where Dr. Goodall began her work is being significantly affected by due to social and economic pressures. The forests have been cleared for agricultural use and that of course created a major problem in taking away chimp's natural habitat.

It was very clear that in order to help preserve the ecosystem the villager's standard of living had to significantly improve. It was then when Dr. Goodall introduced Green Coffee Roasters to a local small-scale coffee farmers cooperative. (Green Mountain Coffee first learned of the opportunity when Dr. Goodall gave her keynote address at the 2005 Annual SCAA Conference). They found that coffee grown on the hills of the Gombe National Park tasted of tropical fruits with floral undertones. This extraordinary coffee, which thrives in the shade of forest, grows amongst the chimps in of her their few remaining habitats. I was able to taste the coffee at the presentation and thought that the description matched its taste very much.

I left this presentation feeling so uplifted and filled with the warm spirit of Dr. Goodall. I learned that up until today she is not very good at cupping and actually very recently learned what the term means. I learned that she carries her stuffed chimp everywhere and it was probably touched by close to 3 million people by now! And that she enjoys watching a sunset at Lake Tanganika with some scotch! Amazing woman to say the least . . . It will definitely remain one of my favorite presentations at this year's exhibition.

You can also watch a video presentation about this amazing program click here

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Tanzanian Gombe Reserve
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Jane Goodall and Lindsey Bolger share a hug
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Taking questions from audience
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I'm feeling star struck here!
USBC Day One Update One: My potential Finnish future.
Posted by Liz Clayton, 9:30am Permalink to this blog entry

Welcome to the United States Barista Championship day one from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Midwest. Check it out: it is 60023942390483 degrees in the convention center. My photo pass is a regular SCAA badge with a frog sticker on it. The frog isn't winking, but his tongue is sticking out. This is the official credential.

The Twin Cities' own Andrew Milstead (Kopplin's Coffee, St. Paul, MN) is our first competitor. I saw Andrew compete out-of-region in Milwaukee at the Great Lakes Regional, and he was superfly. This is his first year competing and therefore his first USBC, and he remains as well-spoken and poised (if seethingly tense under the surface) as in March.

Today he's back with La Montana espresso, so chosen for its clean, crisp, "outrageous" and acidity-forward flavor profile. Andrew serves his cappuccinos and espressos without incident, and around 12:01 he smiles — could he possibly be having a good time? (Apparently not, I hear later. And I believe there was a borrowed cocktail shaker incident.) Signature drink includes locally made Rogue chocolate: sourced and roasted right here in the Twin Cities by just one dude. Andrew's tie matches the lilies on his table setting. Thank god for people who try to brighten up these darkened rooms. (And by darkened rooms I mean darkened rooms with lots of harsh, weird flourescent lighting — and in this case an awesome domed ceiling that looks like a UFO.)

Competitor two is Orme Kellett (Lava Java, Ridgfield, WA). His signature drink involves eggshells somehow (mostly intact, not uh, shards.) It looks very interesting but I can't hear what's actually going on.

Ryan Willbur (Intelligentsia, Los Angeles, CA) hits next. Ryan was a semifinalist in the Western Regionals. Ryan selects popular urban music and a Salvadoran and Brazilian blend — chocolate with a hint of spice, says Willbur.

Willbur's sig drink includes a reduction of hibiscus, brown sugar and blueberries — but I initially mishear "hibiscus" as "biscuits". Oh well. I turn out to be wrong.

Willbur smirks as he finishes up and calls time.

Backstage in the prep area, baristas are glassy-eyed and milling around looking for coffee, any coffee at all. To drink. Alexandra Switzer and Chris Baca both look completely desparate — we try to find them drinks, and I fail.

It smells like something woodsy and nice somewhere around here. I can only assume Chris Deferio is having a campfire somewhere backstage.

Ben Helfen (Octane Coffee, Atlanta, GA) is on next. This under-legal- drinking-age Millrock champ's espresso is Counter Culture Coffee Aficionado. Place settings are blue and white in tribute to Finland. He's not Finnish, but he sure loves Finland, and hopes to live there and work in coffee. His signature drink, he says, is a tribute to his possible future! Ben's possible future includes evaporated cane sugar, soda water, and some kind of small berry. Sensory judge Andrew Barnett chugs it. Sweet!

Backstage again, I give Drew Cattlin a midwest animal primer: badgers for Wisconsin, gophers for Minnesota, wolverines for Michigan. Let's get it right, people.

Pictured: Andrew Milstead

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First day in Minneaoplois
Posted by Beata Siwinski, 11:00am Permalink to this blog entry

My first day in Minneapolis was very long, having been up all night on an over-night flight. Despite that, the day began with two heart-touching presentations. First I attended the Investing in Coffee Communities: Strategies for Social Responsibility, which included short presentations by Carolyn Fairman from Coffee Kids, Chad Trewick from Caribou Coffee, Bob Bernstein from Bongo Java and our own Mark Prince. Following that I got to see and hear in person Dr. Jane Goodall, more on that later.

I already knew of the work done by Coffee Kids, having been involved with them with our past fund raising events but this presentation given me more insight as how they get involved with coffee growing communities and work on improving their lifestyle. The work done by Caribou Coffee, a fairly large coffee chain run in 15 states in east and mid-west and by Bongo Java, a 5 store operation in Nashville, TN was truly amazing. Interestingly enough, the difference between Caribou Coffee and Bongo Java was that Caribou works on empowering coffee growing communities and Bongo gets involved their local community and charities and goes way out of its way to help out its employees. I was very touched by both presentations and I hope that a lot of other coffee shops do similar work.

Mark also gave an excellent presentation about the history of CoffeeGeek.com and its plans for the future. He explained how web-based communities work and how they can help spread the message about the lives of coffee farmers. He also took some interesting questions from the audience, including one on moderating the blogs.

Sitting here on the Exhibition floor its interesting to see the variety of people involved in coffee. The day isn’t long enough to hear all of their stories though. Also next to the SCAA Exhibition there is some sort of a dance competition going on, so every few minutes there are groups small girls running through all dressed up in their costumes, wearing make-up and all excited. That makes a very interesting combo!

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Investing in Coffee Communities Presentation
Welcoming sign on the registration floor
Long line-ups lasted all day
Article rating: 9.3
Author: CoffeeGeek Staff
Posted: May 1, 2008
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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