Last Friday, Batdorf & Bronson® had the opportunity to organize the coffee program for this year's TedxPeachtree event, which was held at the beautiful Buckhead Theatre, here in Atlanta. When I first talked with Jacqui Chew from TedxPeachtree about the event, I knew I wanted to use the opportunity to help attendees to think differently about coffee. Especially after doing SO many Coffee 101s this past year, I wanted to demonstrate many of the things I've been teaching folks that may seem foreign to them in the class. I felt like the Tedx conference concept was the perfect place to make the coffee brewing interactive, as well.
I put out several calls over the last six months for baristas to brew and serve, and I was able to assemble a really great team of 10 baristas from all over the country, who volunteered their time and money to come represent specialty coffee in new and fresh ways. The team included Michael "Panda" Fernandez from Espresso Parts in Olympia, WA; Mallory Roth of The Coffee Ethic and Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, MO; Morgan Smith of PT's Coffee in Topeka, KS; Wade Preston of the Ponce City Market Dancing Goats Coffee Bar here in Atlanta; Myself and Chandler Rentz of Batdorf & Bronson Atlanta; and Tammie Johnson, Brittany Johnson, Caleb Hobday, Tai Sanchez, and Daniel Young from The Coffee Cup in Poteau, Oklahoma.
I knew I'd have two brewing stations, one downstairs in the main lobby, and one upstairs. I also knew the station in the main lobby would need to provide coffee brewed promptly in addition to the demonstration. So, I decided the downstairs bar would be ripe for brewing the same coffee five different ways. The coffee I chose was Batdorf & Bronson's Nicaragua Finca San Jose, a beautiful coffee grown by theMierischfamily. Wade Preston brewed with Aeropress, Caleb Hobday brewed with Chemex, Michael Fernandez brewed with Siphons, I brewed with Clever Drippers, and Chandler Rentz brewed with Hario V60s. When the breaks let out, we brewed non-stop and encouraged all to try all the different methods.
The upstairs station, manned by Brittany, Morgan, Daniel, Tai and Mallory, featured the same coffee, Batdorf & Bronson's Guatemala Finca El Valle from Antigua, brewed at one week off roast, and eight weeks off roast. Obviously, this demonstration was meant to show the difference fresh coffee does make, and how much better fresh coffee is. I've always wanted to do this demonstration side by side, and it was awesome to share the experience with others. Also upstairs, was our good friends from Cacao Atlanta, who were there to talk about how bean to bar chocolate is made, what makes their chocolate so delicious, and to sample their new Peruvian chocolate.
Over the course of the day, we brewed great coffee for hundreds of people and got to talk with them about the different ways there are to brew excellent coffee at home easily, as well, as well as being able to demonstrate why fresh roasted coffee is better. We had lots of great conversations, and lots of folks walked away with information that will have them brewing better coffee at home, and will truly give their coffee drinking experience a complete makeover. We heard great feedback both in person, and via social media, and one comment I particularly enjoyed, was this comment, "I had no idea that even the coffee brewing stations would be a place where I'd learn something!" Yesterday, while at lunch with a friend I received a call from one of the leaders of the TED conferences, who wanted to call and commend me based on all the feedback he'd been hearing from attendees on the professionalism of the team, and the ways we made the coffee brewing experience an interactive one.
I'd like to thank several folks who helped make this so special, and such a huge success: My team at Batdorf, from the roasters, to the folks who helped me at the Theatre. Chandler Rentz helped me with setup; Jacqui Chew, Al Meyers and Bill Schnitzer, leaders of TedxPeachtree, who not only invited us to come, but supported us in every way possible; Baratza, who supported us with Vario-W grinders which we put to good use, and which we had ZERO problems with throughout the event. Those grinders helped make brewing for the large crowds so much easier because of the time saved from dosing out; My wife, April, who although always supports me and assists in these events, worked all morning helping all of us, filling water, taking pictures, getting Clevers refreshed to brew again, you name it. She's always so amazing in her level of support, and this event was no different. She also put up with me working at nights to get this event organized.
Watch this video, from one of the attendees who participated in the Five Methods lab- https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4942317235712 Also, watch this video from Michael Fernandez from the event: http://youtu.be/UyHdfW1ZiDs