Teach Us Stuff

It's time again for us to ask you lovely people to a part of the next This Coffee Thing. We're shooting for an October date, but there won't be no date without a bunch of you smart kids booked to say smart things for the people. So please, if you have an idea for a presentation about coffee, holler at info@thiscoffeething.com with a few hundred words about what that presentation might entail. We'd love to have all our submissions in by August 19th and we can't wait to hear from you all!

Morale booster: Ashley Rodriguez coming to TCT

You might know her from barista competition, her years in the New York coffee community, her work for San Francisco's Sightglass Coffee, or as the co-host of the Portafilter Podcast. No matter where you recognize her from, if you've crossed paths with Ashley Rodriguez you probably understand why we're so excited that she's coming back east to be a part of This Coffee Thing. Ashley will be drawing on her research and years of shop experience to speak about a challenge all coffee shops face: helping baristas grow and be happy in their work.

She joins Colleen Anunu, Cheryl Kingan, and Amanda Whitt in our all-star lineup. Come to the Cafe Grumpy roastery on 6/16 and learn some stuff!

Don't Go For Second Best, Baby

Less than three weeks left until TCT#3 and we're ready to announce the second of our three presentations. Amanda Whitt will making her second appearance at This Coffee Thing (after contributing a ton to our panel at TCT#1).  Amanda is one of the world's foremost experts on the intersection of coffee and cocktails, having worked at some of New York's finest coffee shops before moving to the cocktail world and then combining the two deliciously at Double Buzz. Since we last saw her, she has been serving coffee and booze at the Hotel Belmar in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and we couldn't be any more excited to welcome her back to NYC for a talk entitled "Espress Yourself; Coffee Cocktails, Madonna and Me" in which she will explore the application of cocktail techniques to the making of coffee beverages. 

Three is the magic number

We have some things to announce; we think they are exciting:

- This Coffee Thing will return to the skylit glow of the Cafe Grumpy Roastery on Thursday, June 16th, with doors once again open at 6:30pm and the show set to begin promptly at 7pm.

- The first presentation we're announcing is one we've been trying to put together for a while: Colleen Anunu of Fair Trade USA is coming to town and will be in conversation with Cafe Grumpy's Cheryl Kingan discussing gender equity issues at origin. 

There will be more info in the coming days, but I'll be damned if that's not a hell of a start.

Total (submission) Request Live

Well, we've pulled off two, so why not go for three, right? We've started work on This Coffee Thing #3, and while we don't have a date yet (some time between mid-June and mid-July?!), it's time to get started on asking you for probably the most important thing we need to keep this rolling along: dope submissions.

If you'd like to join our illustrious list of presenters, send 200-500 words describing what you would like to present at This Coffee Thing to info@thiscoffeething.com. We're looking for presentations in the neighborhood of half an hour, and we're interested in the scientific, social, technological, historical, and practical (and mostly anything else not covered under those umbrellas) sides of coffee.

One of the main things we learned after TCT#2 is that we need to be better at responding to and giving feedback about all these submissions, so we promise that if you holler, we'll holler back this time. We'll be open for submissions until Monday, May 16th and we can't wait to hear from you!

Amie

Amie Raskin brought her considerable talents east a few years ago and, as a sales associate, has contributed greatly to Toby's Estate's rapid growth in New York City. She is our final panelist for The Barista Monologues.

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
My coffee heroes are Geoff Watts and Peter Guliano. (Bailey and Maciej are pretty big heroes of mine too!)

What's your least favorite brewing method?
Because I prefer a clean cup I use a french press the least. 

If you were a coffee beverage, what would you be? 
I would be a cafe au lait! A sweet mix off coffee and milk. 

What's your favorite animal?
My friends dog Fletcher.

Nick

Nick Kohout has worked the bar at some of the best coffee shops in Chicago and now works for the prettiest scale company in the coffee universe, Acaia. He's flying into NYC to teach us all about scales, so tare your emotions and get ready to read all about him (I'm already aware that joke doesn't really make sense but hope to be even more aware of why after Nick's talk).

nickkohout.jpg


Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
Maciej Kasperowicz and Marty Sweeney  

What's your least favorite brewing method?
Siphon, but only because they are so annoying to clean.

If you were a coffee beverage, what would you be?
Batch brew filter coffee. I'll leave the reasons open to interpretation.

What's your favorite animal? 
Besides my cat, Henry? Raccoons. They are called "little washing bears" in Italian, which is super cute.

Amaris

Amaris Gutierrez-Ray is yet another awesome coffee professional on our panel The Barista Monologues: Discussing the Experiences of Women in Coffee. She roasts coffee for Cafe Integral.

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
The producers and female cuppers our company works with every year. I'm constantly imagining them on the other side of our cupping tables here in NY, and am encouraged to keep up the pace and mirror that effort. 

What's your least favorite brewing method?
Espresso - don't scoff! Give me a kettle and some filters and I'm a very happy camper.

If you were a coffee beverage, what would you be? 
I'm all about that Fetco hustle, all day every day.

What's your favorite animal?
Adelie penguins and extraordinarily large Bernese Mountain dogs -- the dumber the better.

Jennahhhhhhhhh

Jenna Gotthelf became a coffee superstar competing for Northampton Coffee in 2014 with a flurry of puns and inspiring, delicious decaf coffee. She can currently be found keeping it super-real behind the bar at Everyman Espresso. 

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
My late grandfather Edward B. Gotthelf is my coffee hero.

What's your least favorite brewing method?
My least favorite brewing method is a brewing method with a bad attitude.

If you were a coffee beverage, what would you be? 
If I were a coffee beverage I would be a hot cup of whatever you wanted me to be.

What's your favorite animal?
My favorite animal is a sweet dog.

Tymika

Tymika got her start in specialty coffee quite accidentally 5 years ago and never looked back. She's now with Counter Culture Coffee, educating baristas, and helping cafes serve great coffee to the masses! She will be yet another panelist on our panel "The Barista Monologues"

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
This is so hard! Like every good coffee person, I have a profound respect for all the hard work that gets done at origin. One of my producer heroes is Marysabel Caballero. She's innovative, consistently produces excellent coffee, and is incredibly warm and gracious. 

On our side of the supply chain, I would say Lizz Hudson, and Emily Davis(head of education at CCC). Aside from being exceptionally skilled coffee people, they've also been great mentors who have supported (and challenged) me!

What's your least favorite brewing method?
V60! Not because you can't make a great cup of coffee using one, but because I think a lot about the accessibility of specialty coffee. I want brewing great coffee at home to be accessible to beginners, and it can be a challenging brew method for a new coffee person!

What's your favorite animal?
Dogs for sure(mine in particular of course)! I lose it pretty much every time I pass a Dachshund on the street. 

Bailey

Bailey Arnold is one of the organizers of This Coffee Thing and the Director of Education at Gregorys Coffee. She will be moderating our panel, "The Barista Monologues".  I think the proceeding picture basically says everything that I would say about her in this space.

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
 - 💖TvF💖
 - 👯Erika Lee Vonie👯

What's your least favorite brewing method?
Probably percolators, because it's really tough telling someone that there's pretty much no way they're ever going to extract properly on a brewing method no matter how hard they try to dial it in.

If you were a coffee beverage, what would you be? 
I should say Espresso I guess, because that's what I drink, but no matter how much we want to be our favorite things, that's not usually how it works out, right? So I guess I'd say I'm a cortado. A little stronger than your typical milk drink, sweet and balanced when properly composed, but bitter, frothy, and possibly scalding if you fuck with me. 

What's your favorite animal?
A TIGER

Sarah Leslie

You might recognize Sarah as a barista competitor and a proud Barista Guild member. She is currently heading up education at Irving Farm Coffee Roasters and cheering very hard for the Kansas Jayhawks. She will be a part of the all star Barista Monologues panel at This Coffee Thing #2.

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
I have so many coffee heroes, I'm going to cheat and list a group rather than a person: The Barista Guild of America. The BGA has meant so much to me personally and professionally over my career. What we are able to achieve as a collective, promoting the professional barista is all ways, is a constant inspiration.  

What's your least favorite brewing method?
It's hard to say which is my least favorite method, because I believe a bad barista blames her tools. But, I do find cleaning a Siphon or French Press always leaves me with a feeling of regret. 

If you were a coffee beverage, what would you be?
If I were a coffee beverage, I would be an espresso con panna. Sweet and strong. ;)

What's your favorite animal? 
My favorite animal is my Boston Terrier, Pickles. 

Caroline

In the lead up to This Coffee Thing #2, we've sent out a brief survey to our presenters and panelists. Caroline Bell owns Cafe Grumpy, for a decade one of the bedrocks of the New York City specialty coffee community. We're thrilled to have her as one of our panelists on "The Barista Monologues: Discussing the Experiences of Women in Coffee".

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
My heroes are the coffee producers we work with - their innovative ideas, ongoing research, passion for coffee and hard work are an inspiration for us to keep focused on how we translate that coffee quality at the cafe level.  

What's your least favorite brewing method?
If someone else is preparing the coffee, I don't have a least favorite method because I am always happy to drink a good cup of coffee...But if I have to make the coffee for myself, my least favorite method would be an aeropress because I don't like to turn things with hot water in them upside down!

I can also tell you my favorite brewing method - even though it isn't the most popular these days - the french press. I love the simplicity, familiarity and the body of the coffee it produces.

If you were a coffee beverage, what would you be?
People might think I would be a cappuccino, but I would be an americano.

What's your favorite animal? 
As far as pets go, my vote is for the guinea pig...but really, I love all animals.

We're baaaaaaaaack!

On what we're sure will be a lovely Thursday night in March (3/10 yoooo), This Coffee Thing will reemerge from the mist and once again take hold of the magical and spacious Cafe Grumpy Roastery in bewitching Greenpoint, Brooklyn, USA.

This Coffee Thing #2 (as we've creatively named this sequel) will feature many delights. Among them:

- All the way from Chicago, we have coffee gentleman Nick Kohout of Acaia presenting "Is This Too Heavy? A Discourse on Scales": a talk about one of the most-used and least-discussed of all devices we rely on to brew coffee every day - you guessed it - the scale.

- If you've been to an east coast barista/brewing competition in the past 3 years, you're familiar with Jenna Gotthelf as the most consistently entertaining competitor out there. At This Coffee Thing #2, Jenna will grace us with "Brewers Cup: Raw & Uncupped," an interactive, performance art-based presentation that plays on the format of the Barista Championship and Brewers Cup competitions.

- Our panel this time will be "The Barista Monologues: Discussing the Experiences of Women in Coffee," moderated by Bailey Arnold - the Director of Coffee at Gregorys Coffee and perennial best dancer at your coffee event of choice. Her illustrious guests will include Cafe Grumpy owner Caroline Bell, Toby's Estate sales associate Amie Raskin, Irving Farm educator Sarah Leslie, Counter Culture wholesale customer support rep Tymika Lawrence, and Cafe Integral roaster Amaris Gutierrez-Ray.

We'll be opening the doors of the roastery at 6:30pm and starting our program at 7 after a half hour of mingling and friend-making. The Grumpy Roastery is located on 199 Diamond Street. The event, once again, is BYOB. and 1000% free. We will have buttons.

Here's the Facebook event (you might notice some familiar text on it). RSVP there and invite your friends!

Hey you!

After a few weeks of rest, we're ready to get up and at 'em and start planning This Coffee Thing #2. And if we're going to pull off another edition of this lecture series, we need some of you awesome coffee professionals to give some lectures.

From now until December 31st we will be open for submissions. Send us 200-500 words describing what you would like to present at This Coffee Thing (which we're looking to do around the end of February or the beginning of March). Call it a paragraph or two, call it an abstract if you feel like it, just give us an idea of what you're trying to do. We're looking for 30 minute presentations on topics in all aspects of specialty coffee. Holler at info@thiscoffeething.com and let's make it happen.

Liz

In the lead up to This Coffee Thing #1, we've sent out a brief survey to our presenters and panelists. Liz Dean runs Irving Farm’s beautiful 79th St. shop and is heading up our hospitality panel. If she’s anywhere near as good at asking questions as she was at answering these (she is), it’s going to be great.

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
One of my coffee heroes is Asnakech Thomas, who is the producer of Irving Farm's delicious Ethiopia Amaro Gayo. Not only does she produce consistently excellent coffee that is a huge favorite of staff and customers alike (I've received personal e-mails from customers BEGGING me to put Amaro Gayo on as our single origin espresso!), but she's also incredibly involved in her local community. She's been working on projects to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, getting better access to healthcare for women (especially in childbirth), getting a bank to open to fuel local economy, etc. She's a total bad ass and so worthy of admiration for all that she does.

What musician most makes music most like the way you make coffee?
This is such a good question! And a hard one, because I feel a lot of pressure to know more about music than I do. But honestly the first band that came to mind was The Strokes, or maybe Pavement or even early Weezer. I think the way I make coffee is solid but also straightforward and earnest and consistent. I work in a really, really busy shop and I don't have time to do crazy experimental shit (even though I sometimes want to!). And because of my wide customer base it's important to me that I make coffee that everybody can get behind. So, I'm not necessarily going to blow your mind but I will make sure you have something solid to rock out to and enjoy. 

What's your favorite horror movie?
I don't like horror movies so my answer is technically "none". I'm especially not into like, slasher gore shit or anything that seems intentionally made to make you jump out of your seat. I can appreciate horror movies that are mostly psychological (Rosemary's Baby, for example) or ones that are just really visually interesting. A recent movie that yes, scared the crap out of me, but that I thought was really good was It Follows. It was a well-done movie and beautifully shot. Also had a killer soundtrack, no pun intended.

What scares you most about coffee?
I think I often grapple over wondering whether or not it's all bullshit. I think it scares me to feel like something I care so much about and invest so much of my time and energy into learning about or talking about might just be total bullshit. I remember reading recipes from I think the Aeropress or the Brewer's Cup competition and competitors were listing very specific sources of water with like, pH levels and I remember just being like, "What the fuck, does this really matter?" and I think it scared me to both feel like, yes, it does, and also, no, it doesn't, this is just such nonsense. I feel like I'm constantly reconciling those feelings about my work. It's even worse when I have to explain to non-coffee people what it is that I do for a living because people just assume that this is just a side job for me. They're always like, "What do you really do?" and I'm like, this. This is what I do. And obviously there are days when I am super proud and I just love what I do and I love and admire the people I work with but there are also days where I'm like, it's just fucking coffee. 

Ben Kuby

In the lead up to This Coffee Thing #1, we've sent out a brief survey to our presenters and panelists. Ben Kuby has been making coffee and being a delightful human being on coasts both west and east for a while now. He recently left coffee shop life to make coffee at the totally delicious 29th St. pizzeria Marta. We’re very excited for him to share several slices of his restaurant coffee experience with us on our hospitality panel.

Who are one or two coffee heroes of yours?
My parents, for always having coffee around.

What musician most makes music most like the way you make coffee?
At the moment, John Prine. A bit rustic, but certainly a colorful human.

What's your favorite horror movie?
Do Woody Allen films count as horror films?

What scares you most about coffee?
Lack of clarity and balance, in cups and in business.