Coffee Expo - Adventures In Seattle
This past weekend was rad.
Before we get to the cool stuff, though, I'd like to say that we thoroughly missed attending the kickoff of Summit's first farmers market of the season. We have so much fun handing out beverages and chatting with passersby underneath our tent, and we're looking forward to doing just that with every week moving forward! So why did we skip town this Sunday?
I'm glad you asked.
A bundle of the Boxwood Crew had some important work to attend to this weekend. Said work involved climbing into a big metal bird and hurdling across the county to the fantastic and wonderful city of Seattle Washington. It just so happened that the Global Specialty Coffee Expo 2017 was filling the convention hall to the brim, and we were fortunate enough to jump on the opportunity to attend. This was our first venture to such an involved convention, the goal was to soak up as much information as possible, network, play with new toys, and drink a lot of coffee. Suffice to say, it was a successful trip.
The floor of the center was like walking into a Willy Wonka's factory, and we were four kids with golden tickets. Vendors, idols, experiments, theories, machines, and new designs were everywhere we looked, it took us a few walk-throughs to even think about where to begin. The sensory overload was only calmed by the innumerable strange hands kindly offering samples of coffee. Even in a convention hall dedicated to the stuff, the familiar gesture of being offered a coffee is something to make the soul warm and cozy. Once our taste buds and minds were primed and buzzing we went to work investigating everything new and exciting about our industry. There were plenty of names we recognized and new ones that we were seeing for the first time, showing off brewers that triple rinsed coffee grounds or automated pour-over devices. As clever and new-wave a lot of these more incredulous looking machines were, our priorities were more focused on investigating those things that could more realistically impact our approach to create better coffee rather than simply touting a new shiny doo-dad to do something we already know how to accomplish.
We took tours on espresso machine factories including Synesso, Mavam, and Slayer, who showed us a variety of approaches on both espresso brewing and milk steaming. Getting to see these great machines being built and listen to the theories behind each companies' method of machine performance was inspiring and invigorating, and sampling the fruits of their labors was incredibly compelling. Using techniques that are far too boring to write about, these companies are transforming the way this industry thinks about espresso by pushing boundaries and thinking outside of the box. I wish I could show you what a Slayer shot tastes like through a webpage...
Lucky for me, the roasting world had an awesome presence at the expo as well. I stumbled around the stands of manufacturers, ogling sleek Lorings, badass Giesens and the forever trustworthy Diedrichs. Don't get me wrong, I adore my little Mill City 2 kilo “Ruby” roaster, but times are looking like a upgrade in size and tech will become more of a necessity than a luxury. Heat stability, moisture retention and built-in chaff collectors are a few of the things that are very boring to write about in a blog but a few things that excite me greatly as a roaster. Basically, these are things that would make my job much easier and allow me to produce better coffee with what it available. Also, the idea of being able to roast six times my current maximum capacity is top-tier daydream material. Well, I can at least dream for now...
Hayden Kaye is our Master Roaster and head of the Say Interesting Stuff department.