Consumer Convention: CoffeeCON 2012

Kevin Sinnott is a man on a mission: To shake up the coffee trade show establishment, to pimp his book, and to position himself as the ultimate consumer advocate when it comes to coffee events. Quoth Mr. Sinott: “When you’ve got a Wal-Mart, Target or Williams-Sonoma badge on, they treat you as more important because you are. I’ve borrowed badges on occasion and believe me, it makes a difference.”

Someone get this guy a PR release:

“Who exhibits at industry trade shows might disappoint you, too. Yes, there are roasters, green coffee importers and brewer manufacturers, but there are lots of others too. Packaging machines, de-stoners (which remove rocks left in green coffee beans), degassing machinery and even store security systems. Most of this stuff is totally unimportant to consumers, and besides, none of it will fit in your home.”

The answer? A coffee consumer conference for coffee consumers.

Enter CoffeeCON 2012, Kevin Sinnott’s creation. In the sleepy Chicago suburb of Warrenville, Illinois, he unveils this special day-long consumer coffee conference on Saturday, February 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the IBEW building, 28600 Bella Vista Parkway.

“Coffee is better than wine,” says two-time coffee author and brewing expert Kevin Sinnott. “But, wine comes ready to drink. Popping a cork is easy and screw tops even easier. Coffee must be prepared moments before consumption. Most home brewers destroy the subtle flavors. I’m making it my mission in life to give people a chance to learn how to appreciate coffee and how to brew it. More people have had good wine than good coffee.”

This coffee-obsessive is creating the ultimate first-ever consumer coffee conference that is drawing top experts from around the world to create a coffee university where they will teach every brewing method available.

The speakers include:

George Howell, Tasting – Two hours with George Howell! Or is it three? Is this any way to spend a day? If you’re into high-end coffee it is. George will be teach you to spot the nuances of dry and wet processed coffees. Your taste buds will never be the same. You too can become the neighborhood showoff when it comes to discerning palate.

Jim Schulman, Espresso – If you want to spend another couple of hours, consider Jim Schulman, an amateur espresso enthusiast who’s also written doctoral-level dissertations on water and freezing coffee. Jim will walk you through all the various stages of espresso gear so that you know almost as much about it as he does. If you’re getting into home espresso or just want to experience an epiphany in your own technique, Jim’s presentation will enlighten you.

Oren Bloostein, Well Equipped Coffee drinker – At a time when Chicago had open barrels of good-but-not-great bean at Treasure Island, New York City already had Oren’s, a chain or fresh roasted coffee stores. Unlike Starbucks, Oren’s roasted dark enough to develop but never singe the beans. Oren Bloostein himself roasted and he was obsessed with freshness. Oren will prove that an inexpensive pour-over Chemex is all you need to derive complete satisfaction from your coffee.

Todd Larabee, Drip Coffee Makers of All Kinds – Todd Larrabe is a coffeemaker importer. He will be introducing you to various manual drip makers from Hario and others. He will compare the flavor profiles of each and, with the help of some noted baristas, demonstrate them.

Michael Janssen, Sowden SoftBrew – At a time in history when coffeemakers are becoming more automated and contain the highest parts count in history, George Sowden designed a ground-breakingly simple coffeemaker, the SoftBrew. Michael will demonstrate this unique cross between an elegant tea kettle and French press, perhaps the simplest-ever coffeemaker.

Scot Wil, Grinding – Scot is a rare bird, a grinding expert. His company, Modern Process makes huge grinders for industry.Scot will compare blade grinders and disc (burr) grinders and how different particle size distribution affects your coffee’s brew quality and the relationship between ground particle size and brew strength.

Kevin’s gathered a handful of great speakers for this upcoming event in Warrenville. We hope this first blast of CoffeeCON is successful, and leads to more events around the country. Check out their official website here for details.


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