A Yemeni-American, Mokhtar Alkhanshali hopes to serve as a bridge between Yemen and the World by connecting the farmers of the world’s oldest, rarest cultivated coffee varietals with coffee enthusiasts that can fully appreciate it. Combining a blend of his knowledge of specialty coffee production and progressive infrastructure strategy, Mokhtar has helped to change the face of coffee in Yemen. Through extensive travels in 32 different coffee producing regions in Yemen, working on the ground with farmers along every single step of the coffee value chain, Mokhtar has been able to source coffees with flavor profiles that surpass the rarest of geishas. His harrowing escape from war-torn Yemen on a fishing boat across the Red Sea to Africa may have put him in the news, but it is his work with Yemeni farmers and families that endures.
HEATHER PERRY is the Vice President and Director of Training and Consulting for Klatch Coffee, a 20 year-old Los Angeles based coffee roaster and retailer. Ms.Perry has that all-too rare quality that comes from working in the retail stores, honing her skills to compete in Barista Competitions to win many titles. She is past Chair of the Barista Guild of America where she helped to design and launch their Certification Program. Ms. Perry has also used her vast industry knowledge in a consulting capacity, advising companies such as Mars, Breville, Got Milk, Krups, and Nestle. In her spare time, Ms. Perry is a Director on the Board for the Specialty Coffee Association of America and Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee.
This Hollywood born agronomist and exotic fruit farmer is paving the way for California’s newest crop: coffee. Jay has been farming for 25 years along the coast of Santa Barbara and specializes in developing markets for rare fruits. He has been growing coffee in the ground for the last 13 years and has led the way for others to join him. Through his nursery, Jay has provided over 20,000 California adapted coffee trees to commercial growers in this region over the last few years. His coffee can be tasted at the A Taste of California Grown Coffee on Sunday (ticketed event). Jay will also be presenting California grown: coffee with LAtitude and on the panel for Can Coffee be Sustainable?
Marcus has had the sincere pleasure of being a member of the Specialty Coffee Community for the past 15 years and is the Director of Coffee & Partnerships with Espresso Supply. In his role, Marcus strives to connect the world of Specialty with consumers, helping create product, content, and experiences that ultimately manifest into amazing coffee at home. Marcus has also held leadership, marketing, and operational roles with Intelligentsia Coffee and Saint Louis-based Kaldi’s Coffee, as well as Director of Community Development with the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Marcus holds a bachelor’s degree in both computer science and business management, and is currently the chair of World Coffee Events. He is proud to call Chicago home.
In 1988, Peter Giuliano began his career in coffee as a barista in San Diego. Since then, Peter has worked in a variety of coffee occupations, including roaster, cupper, manager, trainer, and coffee buyer. Peter became involved in the Specialty Coffee Association of America in the 1990s, when a workshop taught at SCAA headquarters inspired him to become more involved as a volunteer and trainer. Since then, Peter has been deeply involved in SCAA training programs, serving as Training Committee Chair from 2005-2007. He has been a volunteer for the Coffee Corps and other CQI programs, teaching cupping, roasting, and marketing programs. He is a proud member of the Roasters Guild, and was a founder of its Executive Council, sitting on the Council from 2001-2007 and serving as its chair in 2004. Peter was the Director of Coffee and co-owner of Counter Culture Coffee, a wholesale roasting and coffee education company based in Durham, North Carolina. Today, Peter serves as the Chief Research Officer for the Specialty Coffee Association, a global coffee organization dedicated to making coffee better all over the world.
Lindsey Mesta began her career working on a coffee farm on the Big Island. In 2012, she started at Good Land Organics and has found a niche in post-harvest processes, cup quality analysis and strategic planning. She is certified as a Q (Arabica) Grader and is also the lead roaster for Good Land Organics. Coffee brings together a number of passions for Lindsey including culture, education and culinary exploration. She will be hosting a cupping on Sunday exhibiting a handful of California grown varietals, A Taste of California Grown Coffee.
Marco Rocchio is a sixth generation coffee roaster in the Rocchio Family’s proprietary coffee roasting tradition. Hardwood charcoal roasting – not gas, not propane – but an Old World coffee roasting method that has been handed down, generation to generation in the Rocchio Family. Marco spent six years as his grandfather’s apprentice – learning how to roast the different coffee varietals from around the world. Today, Marco continues the tradition – roasting small batches coffee by hand over hardwood charcoal.
Turgay YILDIZLI began his Pilates journey in Istanbul Turkey and is now continuing his practice in New Orleans, Louisiana. He trained with Kristi White and Jennifer Pearlsteinand has been able to study with Rael as well through his workshops in Istanbul. He hopes to be able to continue and further his practice now that he is in New Orleans where he lives with wife and business partner Amy. Turgay actually combines the best of the original ibrik brewing practices with some unique twist, the most unique of which is his insistence that overground, preground coffee is not ideal for Turkish method, which makes him a perfect evangelist of this method at CoffeeCon.