Before walking into Café Virtuoso for the first time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Yes, I had worked in coffee for years, but the term “specialty coffee” had never been in my vernacular. What I’ve slowly come to understand over the past year is how unbelievably meaningful specialty coffee is to me. This may sound extreme, but hear me out.
Last month, a few of us from Café Virtuoso took part in an amazing event up in Seattle. Hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the affair is so impressive; it is known solely as “The Event.” We took classes, attended lectures, and had lengthy conversations about the latest and greatest coffee innovations (trust me, there are many).
I learned a great deal of information about my profession and my industry and for that I am very thankful. However, what I took away the most was the incredible feeling of being at home, all the while being in an unfamiliar city, surrounded by strangers and foreign machinery. It is an incredible thing when you put coffee producers, exporters, importers and brokers, roasters, baristas, manufacturers, and so many others, under one roof. I met a woman who runs a facility that roasts 60,000 pounds of coffee A DAY! I met another fellow, a physical therapy professor, whose love for coffee has inspired him to set aside his career and start his own roasting business. I am certain that I started some lifelong friendships this weekend with people who have a similar understanding of just how comforting coffee can be.
It all makes me very thankful. To our customers: without whom we could not put our passion into practice. To my bosses: who realize the value of education and have created an environment that pushes you to grow as an individual and a team member. To the coffee community, especially SCAA: for producing a home for all of us coffee nerds.