It's true! We're reporting to you live from beautiful Medellin, Colombia, where the mornings are clear and cool, and the evenings pop with cloudy zaps of lightning. We've traveled here as guests of Sustainable Harvest, to take part in the 10th anniversary of their annual Let's Talk Coffee conference, an event that brings together producers, roasters, quality specialists, global financial experts, major investors, and industry thought leaders for a week of discussion, presentations, and new connections. We'll be covering the event all week long with videos and essays and Tweets (the wi-fi works great), and later today we're hosting what should be a lively and informative panel session with some of the brightest, most fascinating folks in specialty coffee.
The topic of our panel is: “Entrepreneurship and Experimentation in North American Cafes.”
Our Panel guests:
- Fabrizio Sencion-Ramirez: Two-time Mexican Barista Champion, and runner up in the 2012 WBC, Mr. Sencion-Ramirez works mornings as a roaster for his own boutique roasterie, Cafe Sublime, and evenings as a lead barista at 5PM, a bustling specialty cafe in Guadalajara.
- Jared Linzmeier: From humble beginnings washing dishes for Intelligentsia Silver Lake, Jared Linzmeier progressed up the chain from barista to roaster, quality control specialist to regional wholesale manager. In 2011 he amicably departed Intelligentsia to become Director of Coffee and green buyer for Seattle's revitalized Caffe Ladro.
- Sam Lewontin: One of the smartest young minds in specialty coffee, Sam Lewontin got his start at Equal Exchange in Seattle, before moving to New York City to spearhead OTG Management's World Bean airport cafe program. These days he's the manager and education director for Everyman Espresso, running operations at their newly opened SoHo location and making delicious Counter Culture Coffee on the daily.
- Stephen Vick: A Sprudgie-award winner with deep roots in the specialty coffee industry, Mr. Vick's Zelig-like resume places him in crucial positions throughout specialty coffee's immense decade of growth. He's worked with companies like Zoka, Stumptown, Sustainable Harvest, Intelligentsia, and now Blue Bottle Coffee, where today he manages quality control at their Oakland headquarters. His Capote-esque wit and broad base of knowledge has made him a longtime favorite of this website, and we're delighted to have him on our panel.
Do we sound excited for this panel? Good, because we are – sleeping was hard last night, and not just ‘cos of jet lag. Watch for coverage and recaps all week long on Sprudge, as we report live from Let's Talk Coffee in Medellin.