The week before Christmas, David Heilbrunn of Coffee Fest took me to Fresh Cup Magazine's Holiday Open House.

As a former Executive Chef, who did a two year sabbatical studying architecture in Boston, I completely understand having passion for a craft or trade. I'm quite passionate about creative culinary, gastronomy, sustainability and being a superior craftsperson.

Over the times I was Exec Chef, I participated in a number of coffee/tea purchasing decisions; I was aware of the barista craft, but only marginally.

Moments after arriving at Fresh Cup's Open House, the owner showed me her demitasse cup collection from around the world. As the next two hours unfolded and I spoke with people from all over the globe - it dawned on me just how passionate an industry specialty coffee and tea is.

A long conversation with Barista Exchange's founder Matt Milletto, another long conversation with Martin Barrett from Portland Roasting and several conversations with people attending a class at American Barista & Coffee School (from all over the globe) all contributed to a much deeper awareness.

I'm very excited to journey into the depths of specialty coffee and tea, meet all kinds of passionate people and experience your knowledge shares.

Cross posted from Leaf & Berry Blog

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Comment by Joe Marrocco on January 10, 2010 at 6:14pm
For sure! I'll be at the USBC/SCAA event in April!
Comment by Matt Milletto on January 10, 2010 at 3:14pm
Jeffrey, let's set up a time for you to come check out the school. Maybe later this week. We have class next week again, you could swing by then too.
Comment by Jeffrey J Kingman on January 10, 2010 at 2:50pm
@Matt: I'm looking forward to our next conversation. Perhaps I could get a tour of American Barista & Coffee School?

@Joe: I've been thinking about how restaurants, especially the independents, should capture the passion and professionalism I'm seeing the barista and tea professionals espouse. So many of them just avail themselves of whatever coffee and tea the major full-line supplier carries (i.e. Green Mountain being one of the better ones). I'm not sure when I'll get back to St. Louis, but as the social media voice of Coffee Fest, perhaps we'll meet at a tradeshow?
Comment by Joe Marrocco on January 10, 2010 at 2:09pm
It is very refreshing when I hear professionals from the culinary world venturing into our niche' coffee field. Thanks for injecting your thoughts and taking part in our passion. If you are ever in St. Louis, MO look me up. I'd love to share some Midwest hospitality and coffee with you!
Comment by Matt Milletto on January 10, 2010 at 1:33pm
Hey Jefferey, it was great meeting you at the open house! Good conversation and welcome to this fascinating industry, passion is for sure a fitting word for our community.

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