I'm taking part in planning the first in a planned series of Bay Area Get Togethers for Home Baristas.
This event could be really cool.
And the series could be amazing.
These events are intended to be partially social - partially educational.
It's a chance for consumers who are passionate about coffee to get together, share, learn and meet each other in person.
The first event is going to focus on Tasting and Technique.
By starting off with these fundamentals, I think we'll all start growing together.
Personally... I've long said that the single most valuable thing anyone can do to better develop their understanding of coffee and their palate for coffee is to cup coffee. Regularly. With other people.
So, the Tasting part is going to be mostly about cupping. And I'm really (really) excited about that. I love to cup coffee.
More than that, however, I feel like one of the last remaining really big gaps when it comes to the conversation between professionals and amateurs in the coffee world revolves around cupping. There isn't a serious coffee professional in the world who doesn't cup at least once per week. Many cup every single day. This not only develops palates - it gives everyone a common metaphor and a common platform and a common language for exchanging opinions and making decisions and providing feedback.
Even the most serious consumers are unlikely to cup every week. In fact, many very serious coffee consumers - seriously fanatical coffee enthusiasts in fact - never formally cup coffee. This is not a judgement on these enthusiasts. But it does create a gap between these enthusiasts and the pros. This gap is semantic. It's palate. It's preference. It's philosophical. It's cultural. And it's a values thing.
My hope is that we can do our little tiny part to change this. Given that almost all top coffee companies now offer free public cuppings (many days I think there are at least 2 held here in SF) people have many opportunities to continue to cup and develop their understanding. Even if you live somewhere without these public cuppings, the investment in doing your own cuppings is minimal (especially as compared to the investment required to make espresso at home). Instructions are available all over the internet.
A chance to create even just a little change is priceless. Very cool.