This summer I had the opportunity to attend the Roasters Guild Retreat hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). The exclusive 4-day clinic took place on the beautiful Columbia River Gorge on the border of Washington and Oregon. The event was attended by coffee roasters from across the globe.
The retreat provided an excellent opportunity to congregate and share roasting knowledge, while sipping on coffee (and sometimes beer!). Attendees not only came from all over the world, but also from a variety of business types and sizes. There were huge, commercial coffee suppliers as well as small, boutique roasters like Bergies.
The first evening kicked off with a coffee ‘cupping and roasting’ session in preparation for a team competition. We were divided into teams with the challenge of who could create the best cold brew coffee.
As the weekend progressed, we attended seminars on issues and ideas which the SCAA felt were most important to the overall industry. Some topics we discussed were how to prevent coffee from going stale, the best way to bag your beans from a marketing perspective, and how the entire coffee supply chain functions.
Another class I attended focused on coffee lab equipment. We learned about machines which measure the size of beans, the color of beans, and even how much water is in each bean. Finally, I took a class on analyzing coffee aroma called ‘Le Nez Du Cafe (literally, The Nose of Coffee’!). In this class, we used the Le Nez Du Cafe kit to help identify the many aromas of coffee. The weekend concluded with a fierce finale of the cold brew competition (which my team did not win … fear not friends, I took it like a man!).
Overall, I was exposed to a significant amount of new information and I established important relationships for Bergies throughout the coffee industry. I basically went to this retreat with no expectations of what I would leave with, but it turned out I gained far more than I could have imagined. With this new found knowledge, I plan to further educate myself as well the dedicated staff here at Bergies.