This week, Chris and I have been given the incredible opportunity to be a part of an amazing coffee service at the TED2012 conference in Long Beach, California, arranged by the Coffee Common consortium and TED.
Coffee Common was founded with the vision of creating a collaborative “common” with a shared passion for education and innovation in coffee. Coffee Common is comprised of world-class baristas and roasters with the collective aim of introducing people to the flavours and stories of coffee by creating incredible coffee experiences and events. Remember the one time you tasted a coffee that changed your perception of coffee forever? Or learned the incredible stories of the people, farmers and families behind your favorite coffee? These are the experiences Coffee Common is hoping to create.
The common and collaborative aspect of the group has been really evident the short while we’ve been here. It blows my mind to think that each Coffee Common event is entirely made possible through the support of roasters, equipment manufacturers and suppliers such as La Marzocco, Baratza, and Hario, and even local milk producers. Further, the assembled group of baristas and roasters would even be considered ‘competitors’ by definition, but instead are working side by side to tell the amazing stories behind these coffees through brewing and conversation.
Speaking of coffee: eight coffees by eight roasters from around the world were selected to be brewed at TED this year. These coffees were selected not only for their incredible flavour, but also for the transparency, the story and the closely developed relationship between the producer and roaster. The conference attendees are all ready to learn and we want to be able to make a connection; introducing them to an aspect of coffee that they’ve yet to experience.
Officially our orientation day, we were fortunate enough to get a tour of the TED space in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. There are some truly innovative uses of cutting edge design and physical space all with the goal of providing a unique form, function or task. We have five coffee bars interspersed throughout the conference center and each will be serving the same coffee, switching up at different times of the day. This allows TED attendees to be able to continuously return, taste and engage in something new throughout the day.
The TED theme this year is Full Spectrum, and I am incredibly humbled and excited to be able to learn from and be a part of a full spectrum of experiences here in Long Beach!
(Photo courtesy Brian W Jones.)