Last week, Barista Nation brought its innovative series of free specialty coffee events to Dallas, Texas and the new Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters location. We were all booked to travel to Dallas for the event, but Super Storm Sandy pretty deeply screwed up our itinerary (we were going to be in Atlantic City first, to cover the now-postponed NERBC). Barista Nation is one of our favorite coffee events, which is why we were delighted to be asked to deliver the keynote address at Barista Nation Texas, and double-bummed when the storm hit and our plans got whacked.
So we did the next best thing. We delivered a video keynote to the conference.[youtube]BCjadYdnCFw[/youtube]
For more on the event (that we were unable to physically attend, mind you), we turn to organizer Anastasia Chovan, who was live in attendance and can break down some highlights for us:
One hundred and fifty-six coffee professionals attended the event from Oklahoma to New Mexico and from Mexico. Twelve coffee roasters from Dallas, Austin and Houston were present. It was standing room only. The event was held at Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters new roaster to open in January 2013 in the Oak Cliff area. The building was a car repair shop from the 1940’s. This is an up and coming neighborhood in Dallas close to the Bishop Arts District.
* Coffee Collaboration with Ernesto Menendez and Shannon Neffendorf from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. There were a lot of questions about how the two worked together on a day by day basis. Also, Ernesto discussed how winning the 2012 El Salvador Cup of Excellence created more demand for his coffee but he was committed to work with the roasters that supported him from the beginning.
* Lorenzo Perkins from Cuvee Coffee headlined the morning Development sessions. Mr. Perkins is well-known and respected in the Texas coffee community, and his presentation was a basic road map to help new competitors prepare for the 2013 competition season.
* Brant Curtis and Tom Vincent presented on single cup brewing to a packed house of curious folk.
* Sterling Houghton of the Texas Coffee School led a panel discussion featuring Lorenzo Perkins, Garold LaRue, Tim Cox, Tom Vincent, and Jonathan Aldrich. There were a lot of beards and a lot of discussion on how customers and baristsa can create a better experience working together.
* Last but not least, people threw down Texas style to the emcee paroxyisms of Richard Sandlin from Fair Trade USA. 32 people competed on custom Barista Nation Stella di Caffe and Stella DCL espresso machines, while munching on wood fire pizza from Cane Rosso and guzzling coffee beer made special for the event by Deep Ellum Brewing Co. The winner of the throw down (and a Baratza Vario grinder) was Rail Road Rob Reagan (whatever that means).