I’m at Barista Camp in sunny (hah!) Riccione learning more about the coffee industry.
Yesterday started off at about 2pm with everybody turning up and being given a cupping spoon (very important) and briefed on the importance of always carrying this with us. I can get behind a conference that has a tasting element to it :).
Coffee Shop Economics
The first talk of the week was from Andrew Tolley (of Taylor St / H+H), and was a basic intro to the economics of running a coffee shop; as my colleague pointed out if you’ve ever seen a profit and loss sheet there wasn’t anything massively new here but the talk was really well delivered (Andrew seems like a stand-up chap and I’ve enjoyed a few conversations with him since). I’m pretty excited about their plans of roasting for themselves as well as the retail market and will be checking that out come October.
After this was our first session for the Barista Foundation course hosted by Alessandro Bonuzzi. I’ve chosen to do the foundation units because I wasn’t sure what I knew from the standard coffee diploma syllabus and thought I’d have knowledge gaps but it turns out I needn’t have worried as most of the people in class haven’t used an espresso machine before.
This is actually super cool because it shows how accessible this event is for people who aren’t in industry but just want to learn more about coffee (there were a few remarks before I left about this being for professionals and it’s nice to see that this worry wasn’t founded in any reality).
Alessandro is a great teacher and I enjoyed his delivery very much, in hindsight I should have probably chosen to do intermediate but it’ll be nice going in next year with foundation already behind me (assuming I pass the written exam haha). If anybody was thinking about doing Barista Camp and were put off because they weren’t sure if they were really qualified enough hopefully this will change their mind for next year.
Developer conferences usually have quite a party scene and involve a lot of beer both sanctioned by the event and pushed by the developers themselves. In complete contrast there aren’t really any bars on site and while there is the occasional bottle of beer most of the activity so far has been very inclusive towards the non-drinkers.
Last night involved events such as
- Blind latte art smackdown
- Sensory test (guess what foodstuff has been dissolved into the water – smoked salmon almost made me hurl)
- Beer Competition (try and sell a bottle of becks or a local beer to a judging panel, how well can you do it?)
- Capture the flag on the beach
This is really nice; bringing people together over team events rather than trying to break social barriers through the use of crazy amounts of alcohol. Perhaps developer conferences should do more of this (or perhaps the developers would complain but perhaps that’s a cultural issue that needs stomping on).
After all of this was done a lot of us headed across the road to the bar and commenced the drinking until well after 2am – but we were already united via the fun team events and the wine became an excuse to hang out at a bar rather than the driving force behind our socialising.
I am really enjoying the camp experience, everybody is super friendly and willing to engage on almost any topic. I’m getting a bit bored of hearing the phrase “Oh you’re just a home barista” but this sentiment doesn’t come with any malice and once the conversation has started everybody’s opinion is taken just as seriously regardless of background so I’ll forgive this small (and repetitive) transgression.
Very much looking forward to the upcoming sensory modules and the next few days.