George Howell, Tasting – Two hours with George Howell! Or is it three? Is this any way to spend a day? If you’re into high-end coffee it is. George will be teach you to spot the nuances of dry and wet processed coffees. Your taste buds will never be the same. You too can become the neighborhood showoff when it comes to discerning palate.
Jim Schulman, Espresso – If you want to spend another couple of hours, consider Jim Schulman, an amateur espresso enthusiast who’s also written doctoral-level dissertations on water and freezing coffee. Jim will walk you through all the various stages of espresso gear so that you know almost as much about it as he does. If you’re getting into home espresso or just want to experience an epiphany in your own technique, Jim’s presentation will enlighten you.
Oren Bloostein, Well Equipped Coffee drinker – At a time when Chicago had open barrels of good-but-not-great bean at Treasure Island, New York City already had Oren’s, a chain or fresh roasted coffee stores. Unlike Starbucks, Oren’s roasted dark enough to develop but never singe the beans. Oren Bloostein himself roasted and he was obsessed with freshness. The amazing thing is he still roasts this way. He still runs his stores first and foremost as bean stores, not brewed coffee stands. Best of all we have Oren himself, here and in person. Oren will present an overview filled with in-depth, but practical information, basic enough for the coffee entrant, but deep enough to get you to take notes. Oren will prove that an inexpensive pour-over Chemex is all you need to derive complete satisfaction from your coffee.
Todd Larabee, Drip Coffee Makers of All Kinds – Todd Larrabe is a coffeemaker importer. He will be introducing you to various manual drip makers from Hario and others. He will compare the flavor profiles of each and, with the help of some noted baristas, demonstrate them.
Michael Janssen, Sowden SoftBrew – At a time in history when coffeemakers are becoming more automated and contain the highest parts count in history, George Sowden designed a ground-breakingly simple coffeemaker, the SoftBrew. Michael will demonstrate this unique cross between an elegant tea kettle and French press, perhaps the simplest-ever coffeemaker.
Scot Wil, Grinding – Scot is a rare bird, a grinding expert. His company, Modern Process makes huge grinders for industry. I’ve had them test grinders for my CoffeeCompanion.com reviews. Scot will compare blade grinders and disc (burr) grinders and how different particle size distribution affects your coffee’s brew quality and the relationship between ground particle size and brew strength. If you think you understand grinders, think again. Scot just might convince you that the grinder, not the brewer, is the single most important link in the chain towards coffee cup perfection.