For a long time the biggest and best trade show for coffee was Hotelympia which is every 2 years, and this is probably still the case but Caffe Culture is a really interesting show, and is now in its 2nd year.
Last year the show was crazily busy for me. Apart from an amusing and brief appearance on BBC breakfast tv on one the first day that meant people at the show kept asking if they had seen me somewhere before without being able to remember where, I strongly remember plowing through a lot of coffee (the remnants of my UKBC blend of that year) and serving the majority of it as espresso which seemed a pretty good thing at the time.
I am spending a bit of time today working on my presentations for the show. What is interesting is that this is a tradeshow that has realised that the internet has pretty much killed the traditional tradeshow (you can see most products in almost infinite detail online, and get most prices too) and has turned to education to add value.
Aside from traditional seminars – I am doing one about barista competitions – they have gotten involved with the SCAE UK Chapter to run an impressive selection of workshops in 4 separate classrooms. Each workshop has a different theme – Espresso, Filter Brewing/Cupping, New Start Up, Advanced skills. I like that they are trying to get away from espresso as a central theme. It is good to see Clover will be there, as well as shop roasting workshops and good solid basics like how to layout a bar so it actually works (all too rare in the real world sadly). I think Se’s presentation on how to improve your UKBC performance will be well attended as well.
I openly admit I am involved in one session – the advanced barista skills one – but if people get behind this I think it is really going to be excellent and set a very high standard for what the SCAE can offer. All the classes and the instructors are listed on the website here. We need to see education spread further in the UK, we need people to see the value in it – though I don’t think anyone reading this will seriously question that – and I think this event is a really good step in that direction. And at £20 a session (if you buy 5) it is absurdly cheap (I think they’ve sold a fair few already).
The last time I did an advanced barista workshop was in Ireland (For the SCAE chapter there) I think I misjudged the audience a little bit. I maybe went too much science not enough fun. I hope not to make the same mistake twice!
I guess I am posting about this because I want to spread the word about an event with strong training and education (that has been my role for the last 2 and a half years) that I see as being really positive and would dearly love to see it be the success it deserves. That and (if I am honest) I really hope people come to my workshop!