After my experience at Coffee Conn LA 2014 (http://www.coffee-con.com/) my main thought is: I can do this!
That may seem like a strange revelation, but I have nasty habit of elevating others onto unattainable pedestals. Why? I have no freaking idea, because it’s stupid. I was there tasting coffee, watching people brew, asking questions and picking brains. I even called shenanigans on a few people and watched their response. As I did all this, the thought that kept trickling up into my brain was, “I already know this.”
Yes, I agree that sounds pretty arrogant, but it really isn’t. The reason is that I went to Coffee Con expecting the heavens to open and reveal to me what only the elite few know about coffee. I was actually frustrated after my first presentation (not just because it was 200 degrees in there), but because it was poorly executed with very little good information. That frustration was the first hammer strike to my glass ceiling. The realization I had to arrive at is that there are no mystical secrets. These people were not gods among men. They were just people of passion.
People of passion… Passion for what? There were a few differences. A few companies had pure passion for coffee. I found those to have good coffee (some even great coffee), but I left the booth thinking they were kind of arrogant. Then there were others who I couldn’t really pinpoint what they loved most. They talked to the people with the same love and care they talked about the coffee. Their service had a genuine feel. They seemed to really love what they did, not just the coffee. I found myself returning to those people multiple times.
There was a company, who for the life of me I cannot remember the name (they were in the far corner near room 4 and had the donut shop next to them), that exemplified this. I was one of two people there with a toddler. It was hard. The room was crowded, I didn’t want to take up space in front of the tables or hit people. So I ended up off to the side, not being able to try coffee. Being the shy one that I am (not really), I waved my arms and asked if he would bring me a sample. The guy looked over and saw I had a baby and jumped to it with the comment, “I have a 6month old, so I understand.” He left his booth and sampled a couple of coffees with me off to the side. I loved talking with these guys and I would support their shop (I think it was Alana’s Coffee Roasting Co. If someone verifies that I would appreciate it).
Great coffee is more attainable than I realized and I was able to come to this realization because of the great people behind the tables. No one judged me for bringing my child; they showed great understanding and even compassion. No one behind the tables talked trash, because what’s the point? Coffee Con was great people talking over great coffee, the way it should be.