For the latest installments of their La Marzocco On The Road event series, La Marzocco is crossbreeding a TED Talk with a barista competition routine. Partnering with Café Imports, the espresso machine manufacturer is creating a platform for baristas to present ideas that borrow from the familiar competition format, but with all the rules thrown out the window. Taking place November 15th and 17th in Columbus, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, respectively, the daylong gatherings are chock-full of demonstrations, talks, fresh crop tastings, and other coffee-related events.

The new event series is the brainchild of La Marzocco’s Market Development Specialist Ryan Willbur and One Line Coffee’s Sean Hundley. While discussing ways for baristas to exchange ideas about various aspects of coffee, the pair came up with a schema similar to competition; baristas are given 10 minutes and a coffee bar to present on any topic they desire. Topics will vary for each event, but Hundley is slated to present on “Solubility of Decaf,” a discussion on ways to approach decaf differently and how cafes can market it better (Columbus event only), and Wormhole Coffee’s Eli Ramirez to discuss mental health as it relates to being a coffee professional and how to implement more sustainable mindsets (Detroit only).

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The discussions will continue offstage at a Modbar booth where the presenters can make drinks for the crowd and answer questions they may not have been able to get to during their 10 minutes. Additionally, La Marzocco will have Linea Minis set up at each event to showcase some of the local roasters from Ohio and Michigan. The Minis will also be used for home barista tutorials taking place prior to the presentations.

Other goings-on include a live taping of the Opposite Extract podcast — whose hosts Meister and Joe Morrocco will also be emceeing both events – as well as a fresh crop coffee tasting by Café Imports and a BYOV (bring your own vessel) latte art throwdown. No cups allowed.

More information and a full schedule for each stop can be found at La Marzocco’s website. The events are free but require registration, which can be done here (Columbus) and here (Detroit).

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*top image via La Marzocco

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