Peace Spokes from Peace Coffee
 
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by Keith Tomlinson, Peace Coffee Head Roaster

Coffee Fest is a traveling trade show. It occurs in three cities each year, and to the best of my knowledge this is the first time it has come to Minneapolis. It focuses mainly on existing and opening retail spaces: cafes, coffee shops, espresso bars, etc. It took place over the weekend of June 3 – 6th.The really great thing for me about having it in our city is that it gives us all a reason to pause and enjoy the coffee culture that we have here in the Twin Cities. It was a weekend of seeing colleagues, getting to know people better, meeting people I've long admired, and meeting new people that I now admire, all built around a passion for coffee.

Our booth on the trade show floor was where I spent the majority of my time. Espresso Partners, and equipment and service provider helped to connect us with a stunning espresso machine for our booth, the La Marzocco GB5 two group paddle. Considering my recent escapades in to barista-dom, I had met some pretty great people, and was hoping that since they were kind and let me invade their space, that they might like to come and invade mine. It was a joy and a success to have people come and play with our coffee. We primarily served our Brazil, but had stints of the Roots Blend as well as our basic Espresso Blend. I'd like to send thanks out to Adam and Dave from Common Roots and Piero from Black Sheep Coffee for coming out and spending time pulling shots of our coffee. Also served was our specially made for cold press brewing blend, the Yeti.

Aside from the booth, there were a couple of really great parties thrown by two relatively new and exceptional coffee shops in Minneapolis. Friday night was a party at Bull Run’s roastery, and while they are not a new roaster for Minneapolis, their new coffee shop in the Rustica Bakery at Calhoun Village has been the showcase for some of the best high end coffee that the Twin Cities has to offer. Heavily connected with the barista culture, Bull Run co-hosted a party with the Barista Exchange and held a latte art competition that went well into the evening. Note: Congrats to any and every one who put themselves on the line at this and the main Coffee Fest latte art competition. So many things involved with coffee are a combination of craft and art, and it takes a lot of courage to really put yourself and your talent out for the world to see and to criticize. Latte art is something that signifies that a great level of care and detail went into showcasing the coffee and consideration of the consumer's experience. Plus it is fun to watch. Saturday night was a party at the Angry Catfish, co-hosted by Cake Eater. I was admittedly quite exhausted and feeling rather aged at this point and ended up leaving early-ish. The party however was super fun, the space is incredible and inviting, and it was a pleasure to see so many people embracing our community and our coffee culture.

Lastly, before I forget, our Brazilian for this year is nearing its end. Having it around has inextricably changed my perception of what an espresso can be, in the same way that five years ago our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from OCFCU made me realize there was more to coffee than dark roasts. I’ve known this about espresso, I’ve tasted it over the last four years, but now I really get it and seek it out. Get some while we still have it for this year.

Cheers,
Keith

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