Back on June 25th, 2013, Your Sprudge Editors attended and covered the first ever World Roasters Summit event, hosted by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe in conjunction with their World of Coffee – Nice event. 100+ people from around the world gathered together at the deliciously old world Palais de la Méditerranée hotel to hear lectures from the likes of George Howell, Jeremy Torz (Union Hand Roasted), Alain Copigny (SERPAC), and Joseph Rivera (CoffeeChemistry.com).
They were the best of times, they were the…well, they were pretty much just the best of times. The sunshine on the deck; the great presentations; the promise of a glass of rosé on the beach once the whole thing got done. Life was good, we were there, and here's our 10 favorite moments from the event.
9. It's always a thrill to be at any first time event, and we love that the SCAE were trying something new with this World Roasters Summit. Hopefully it'll turn into an annual event on the European specialty coffee calendar.
8. George Howell was brilliant, as always, in a speech that echoed the one we heard him give last year at the Mid-Atlantic Northeast Coffee Conference. Mr. Howell talked the audience through the origin of Cup of Excellence, the vagaries of defining terroir, and recent advancements in processing practices. He also threw a bit of shade, maligning coffees for which “fruity notes are the main flavor”, and advocating for roast profiles with “full development” without a hint of caramel.
7. Jeremy Torz made the following statement early in his WRS talk, and it sums up his time on stage nicely: “As a roaster, we're in a privileged position – our hand is on the shoulder of both farmer & consumer.” Mr. Torz went on to discuss the direct trade practices underway at his Union Hand Roasted, including his take on the “blind spots” inherent to most certification methods. Another quote from his talk sticks with us: “Be clear about who you're buying from. Know your starting point in the chain.”
6. We'd never seen Alain Copigny speak before this event in Nice, and we knew very little about the commercial roasting culture in France. Mr. Copigny spoke (in French) about his country's evolution and progression in coffee culture over the last 20 years. “The barista used to be inexistent in France 20 years ago,” he told the crowd. “It was a word that people didn't understand.”
5. Sprudge.com co-founder Zachary Carlsen did a little on-the-fly doodling throughout the event. This one was our favorite.
4. Color compounds! Carotenoids! Carcinogens! Joseph Rivera of the excellent CoffeeChemistry.com gave a fun, accessible introductory talk to the world of coffee's fascinating chemical makeup. Did you know that beta damascenone, a coffee compound, is also a component of essential oils used in many perfumes? We did not.
3. They had one of those fun “Le Nez Du Cafe” (The Scent Of Coffee) kits set up in the hallway outside of our event space. If you've never played around with one of these sniff boxes before, they're a lot of fun, and available here via Espresso Parts.
2. Nice is just unbelievably beautiful. This was our view from the break area at World Roasters Summit. That's the Mediterranean Sea.
1. From a slide in Alain Copigny's speech, here's definitive proof that, from time to time, depending on language and transliteration, there *is* an “X” in espresso.