Day two kicked off in similar style to yesterday's breakfast table discussion with Part II of The State and Future of Specialty Coffee. The players
today included Rocky Laverty (CEO, Farmer Brothers Coffee), Doug Welsh (Vice President of Coffee, Peet's Coffee & Tea), Doug Zell (CEO and founder, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea), and Nestor Osorio (Exec. Director, International Coffee Organization). Once again, David Griswold of Sustainable Harvest did an excellent job of spurring seamless conversation for over an hour.
While single serve seemed to dominate yesterday, Nichole and I immediately noticed that today was about education, education, education. Rocky Laverty set the tone..."we have 70,000 customers who know how to adjust sprayheads, calibrate machines and service equipment, but we need to get better at helping them know more about the coffee itself." Doug Zell agreed but with a different perspective by adding that he wants to help producers view coffee as a culinary product.
All agreed that the next logical step is to get audiences more directly linked and emotionally involved to source, even if that means to an individual farm.
It didn't take long for us to open the creative flood gates and jot down some ideas about how this could be a framework to support our communication efforts. we could support this effort. In fact, we are now really looking forward to attending the 8th Annual International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA)
breakfast on Saturday morning to float some ideas among a group with a mission for supporting the communities of origin.
Our next session was equally interesting as Steven Topik of the University of California Irvine and Ken Davis of Coffee Review took us for a walk through the history of coffee. It is a living, natural product that has been passed through centuries of diverse cultures. Unfortunately not all of its travels have been as pretty the postcard pictures of origin. But, more on that in a later blog, perhaps....
We wrapped up the day with a great presentation from David Armano of Edelman Communications who talked about the impact and potential of social media channels to better communicate and engage consumers about the world of specialty coffee. The best quote during the Q&A was, "Is a coffeehouse still a coffeehouse if patrons are only talking to their computers and not to one another?" Hmmm. We may have to explore that more.
Well we are off to the Closing Session for Symposium
. It will give us a good transition to ready ourselves for the Expo tomorrow. We took a quick trip over to our booths 2069 and 2169 on our coffee break. We sure do admire the hard work of our Brew Crew who works so hard to make our products shine in a sea of innovative options.