At the start of this month, we had the pleasure of attending a gem of an event — a regional, grassroots coffee conference called MANE (The Mid-Atlantic Northeast Coffee Conference). For two and a half days, coffee professionals from up and down the East Coast gathered in beautiful Providence, RI, for a deep discussion and educational symposium on our collective passion for coffee, the state of the industry and its future. MANE was founded by our favorite superstar coffee trader, Gerra Harrigan, of InterAmerican Coffee, along with Rik Kleinfeldt, of New Harvest Coffee Roasters.
The festivities kicked off on Thursday November 3rd with an event called "The Coffee Woman” - a session highlighting women in coffee, with special guest, Aida Batlle, a fifth generation coffee producer doing amazing work in El Salvador. Read more about her work here. During MANE, we attended a barista competition simulation, espresso theory conversation, local community action panel, cold brew industry panel, professional development panel, and other great hands-on workshops. This year, the keynote speaker was Charles Babinski, The 2015 US Barista Champion, and co-owner of G&B Coffee and Go Get Em Tiger in Los Angeles. He urged us to advocate for the importance of coffee shops as hubs for greatness, to minimize our waste, and to keep holding our industry to the highest standards possible.
MANE, has reminded us of how the coffee professionals of the last few decades have paved the way for the future of this industry. We had an amazing time meeting the many startup roasters and cafe owners who are seeing third wave coffee thrive in smaller towns and rural areas and we're elated to hear that more effort is being made to make coffee about people - that’s a beautiful thing.
Thank you MANE for showing us just how fun and quirky the coffee industry is. A special shoutout to Tania of InterAmerican, for dressing up as a coffee bean and reciting a monologue…. We loved every bit of it!
See you at the next conference!