The Color of Coffee Collective is on a mission. The Houston-based group led by Keith Hawkins looks to grow and educate the coffee-drinking public by approaching specialty coffee from a different perspective, one that centers members of the BIPOC community who have worked tirelessly at every level of the coffee supply chain, often without receiving due recognition. It is a mission that will come into full view in Houston this May with the first-ever Color of Coffee Collective Symposium, a day full of talks, presentations, vendors, and networking that includes some of the highest profile names in specialty coffee today.

On their website, the Color of Coffee Collective describes themselves as “a group of unique and talented minority coffee growers, farmers, producers, roasters, creatives, and coffee enthusiasts who are committed to providing education about the specialty coffee industry.” Their list of partners includes Sprudgie Finalist Three Keys Coffee, Barista Life LA by Sprudge Twenty alum LaNisa Williams, as well as Tallahassee-based coffee and beer brand Ology Brewing. For their inaugural Symposium, taking place May 14th at The Ion Conference Center in Houston, the Color of Coffee Collective has created a full day’s worth of learning and networking opportunities for enthusiasts and professionals alike looking to dive deeper into specialty coffee.

Panel discussions for the day include topics like: The History of Coffee (Learning the Past to Move Forward), Origin Perspectives (The Story of Coffee from the Farmer and Producers Perspective), Keys to the Shop and Keeping It Open (Basics to Coffee Shop Operations and Customer Service Experiences), and ROASTED (Basic Roasting Conversations). This all leads up to the main event, a keynote speech given by author and founder of the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity, BD Imports’ Phyllis Johnson, who will be discussing Buying and Exporting/The Future of Coffee.

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Additionally, as previously reported, the Color of Coffee Collective Symposium will also host the premier of Cxffeeblack’s documentary, Cxffeeblack to Africa, the story of the Memphis coffee company’s first origin trip to the Guji Zone in Ethiopia.

And what is a coffee event without a throwdown? That’s why the night prior, the Color of Coffee Collective will be hosting a Barista Throwdown at Segundo Coffee Lab, emceed by Barista Life LA’s LaNisa Williams. There will be complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks, cocktails for purchase, and a total $1,000 in cash prizes to the top three throwdown competitors.

Tickets for the Color of Coffee Collective’s 2022 Symposium are $30 and can be purchased via Eventbrite. Out of town attendees can snag discounted hotel rates at the Hilton Americas by registering here. For more information on the Symposium, Visit the Color of Coffee Collective’s official website.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

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