Coffee Fest 2008

September 18, 2008

Coffee Fest is really a show for “retail” and I went down Saturday to give a 1 hour talk that was not so much for retail titled:  “Developing Sustainable Direct Trade Relationships”.  In short I shared from my perspective what makes it work and what doesn’t.  Defined roles of each link and praised their value as one of the greatest myths is that cutting out the middle man is always a good thing.  It is not just roasters, but growers – who think they can replace and improve the in between links rather than work with them.


barista mag should do a piece on the interior of alex' room!

barista mag should do a piece on the interior of alex' room! See what happens when you hang around until it's all over.


Attendance was down quite a bit, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how many came to my talk.  I was prepared to have an awkward 8-9 people in a room that seats over 250, and it turns out we had about 75 people, all roasters or people that work closely with a roaster in one way or another. 

It was great to see many familiar faces as well as finally connecting with some of you I had never bet before.  It was hard to prepare as I didn’t know what type of audience to expect.  I could have probably gone more in depth in some areas that would have fascinated a select few and put everyone else to sleep.  While not my personal preference, I stuck to the safe shot gun approach.  Sorry to those who were hoping for more and thank you kindly for your sincere feedback.  It is much appreciated.  I think the best compliment I got was from someone who seemed to have been rung through the trade show course gauntlet.  “It was SO refreshing to participate in a seminar where I wasn’t being sold something”.  I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder what was discussed in other courses that were I’m sure taught by much more talented speakers.

Thank you señor Watts for being so candid with experiences where for the sake of maintaining a relationship you took a hit to maintain quality.  I did not have time to share this or many other stories of the challenges involved, what can go wrong,  how great the commitment of resources really is as well as the level of possible risk in volved.  Maybe some other time.

Missed out on a handful of parties but I couldn’t be happier as we are 6 weeks away from having a boy!  Yes, Nina and I are blessed to be pregnant I can’t wait for my boy to come to this world.  To write a dedicated post will not suffice so expect more family news to be snuck into posts and the like, indefinitely =)

I wanted to make a quick walk through the show floor in case I didn’t return the next day and I finally was held accountable by Tony Serrano who escorted me out of the building knowing I was not going to get out any time soon unless I ran for the door.  Thank you Tony.  I made the baby shower in good time.


3 Responses to “Coffee Fest 2008”

  1. m'lissa Says:

    I saw you in an aisle, but then you vanished and were never to be seen again! Sorry we missed you!
    And another big congratulatory hug about your little boy, Edwin Tres.

  2. . Says:

    M’lissa – me too! It was the strangest coffee fest ever, attendance was way down, but i connected with more people than ever before and even missed some like you and Chris altogether. I’m sure I’ll see you both again soon.

  3. Klaus Says:

    Wow, only 6 weeks! Time flies.
    My best to Nina too.

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