Coffee Talk: the Grand Rapids Barista Jam recap.

Baristas from the Great Lakes region converged into Grand Rapids over the first weekend of October. Madcap Coffee played the privy host of “Coffee Talk” which was a barista jam held in conjunction with the Great Lakes Coffee Alliance as well as the Barista Guild of America.

The quickest summary would tell that this was an event connecting the seed to cup with a focus on the future. Edwin Martinez of Finca Vista Hermosa, Huehuetenango, Guatemala started off the jam with a informative and insightful talk about coffee growing, harvesting, processing, export/import, roasting, and you guessed it, preparation. The positive twist is when it comes to preparation, or brewing as it is often called. This twist is the important call to attention that, yes, as great as it is to see more baristas getting better, it can’t be forgotten how valuable our customers are. Edwin spoke very clearly with the opinion of an outsider. Making espresso to him is a very scary thing, as it might be to many. As we pave the road of quality, baristas must remember to include customers on our journey. “Make something your mom would like.”

Other highlights include a dosing dialogue by Chris DeMarse from the Coffee Institute, a brewing discussion led by Jesse Crouse from Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, discourse on latte art tips and tricks Chris Deferio from the Coffee Institute, Scott Lucey from Alterra Coffee spoke his thoughts about the next level competitor and improving as a barista. Edwin also led a discourse on sensory skills and their application to cupping. Before the grand finale throwdown, Talya Strader from Intellgentsia, Colin Whitcomb from Atlerra Coffee, and Ryan Knapp from Madcap sat as a panel and discussed with the group some key topics for career baristas. The event will go down in the books as another in which the host wins the throwdown. Congratulations to Trevor Corlet, the man behind Madcap with his winning pour.

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