By Elise Richardson, Temple Coffee Trainer
It’s an exciting time in the specialty coffee industry. There is a huge influx of new and better equipment to support quality coffee in a high-volume format. From new and experimental processing methods, more sophisticated roasters and brewers, to mapping the coffee genome and creating a sustainable coffee tree, the industry is pushing what we know about coffee to a whole new level. It takes time and dedication to keep up with the amount of new education. Conferences such as Access Austin help make this new information more accessible.
Access in Austin was a two-day coffee event put on by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the Barista Guild of America (BGA). Attendees chose six classes of their choice varying from roasting, to brewing, to sensory as well as evening meet-and-greet networking events. There are many reasons why people attend these events; sometimes it’s to network or to gain the skills needed to improve an existing location or open a new café. For me, I was there to learn. This was my first SCA event, and needless to say, I was excited, nervous, and not quite sure what to expect. Walking into a room not having a familiar face is a bit daunting, especially for a small introverted female like myself.
The classes I chose centered around topics that I thought would enhance my ability to educate our staff and customers during our public classes. During the Coffee Processes: Experiments of Fermentation class I learned some new and experimental processing techniques used at the farm level to alter and change the perceivable flavors in coffee. We also tasted how adding yeast during fermentation can affect coffee’s flavor development. I was able to learn how to program and troubleshoot Curtis Brewers in the Batch Brew class as well as how to create an efficient bar flow from the Operations Manager of Stumptown. The keynote was centered around how to create a personal brand using social media to promote and spread your company name.