Travelling to learn

This weekend the reigning Aussie barista champion, Scottie Callaghan, is in London as part of a trip around the world.  He’s been hanging out in Copenhagen, Oslo, Sweden and Amsterdam beforehand and is heading to the US early next week.  I can’t help but be jealous.

Scottie’s trip is all about learning – talking to as many different people as possible, tasting as much as possible – and it seems like a pretty good idea to me.  It is easy to slip into habits where working hard every day at what you do, and maybe reading up on stuff online feels like enough.  You can’t replace the experience of learning through doing, but what I like about learning through discussion and tasting is that you often are taken down avenues and get ideas you hadn’t expected.

I haven’t travelled very much since the company started roasting, so I am really looking forward the upcoming SCAA show.  The show is all about people for me, but I am pretty excited about the SCAA Symposium on the days beforehand.  (It probably won’t surprise you to find out that Scottie is going to this as well!) Yes, I should be clear and state them I am involved in one of the sessions on the first day (about which I am actually a little nervous) but I am looking forward to the rest of the program too.  (If you are curious you can see the program here)  The idea of being in big room full of people who know more than I do about every single aspect of the coffee industry is immensely enticing!  I’ll try to blog as much as possible from the event, but if you are going I look forward to having a chat over some coffee!

Hopefully when I get back I can get stuck into (and reveal) another couple of big projects that I think will be amazing – and are the reason all has been so quiet on here of late.

6 Comments Travelling to learn

  1. James C

    One of the main reasons I regularly read this blog is because a lot of what you talk about relates to ideas about intellectual development and open-mindedness. These are some of the most important things in life. The approach that you seem to take on these ideas is very insightful…I would even like to see it shine through more often. I think that this blog could be read by someone who has no idea about what coffee even is and they would learn something about about thinking as a process and conceptualization.

  2. Will Frith

    Looking forward to the opportunity to at least say hi in person!
    Really enjoying your Yirgacheffe right now – complex, with clarity. Milk chocolate, orange juice and a pretty loud floral/herbal component (lavender?). Big kudos.

  3. James Hoffmann

    Really pleased you are enjoying it – but all credit to Anette on the coffee! We’re really loving it right now as well!
    Looking forward to meeting up at SCAA too!

  4. Sondre

    I think the “traveling to learn” is something that more baristas should do. It’s easy to take comfort in the “safety” of your own café and be stuck in there, and whatever new happens within those walls. I worked for half a year in a coffee house to the point where I could sell the coffee (there were five of them, all blends, and two single estates, both from india), pour latte art (which was, actually pretty nice) and pull an espresso (which I thought was very good, in retrospect the fact that I pressed the “double” button and let it run for the, I dunno, 12 seconds or something, and that no-one was allowed to touch the grinder-adjustments might both have been clues to now make me belive otherwise).

    Needless to say, the shock of started working at a “professional” place was quite the eye-opener. This is partly relevant, because it’s never about beeing good, it’s about always improving, trying new things, experimenting and beeing open to other peoples ways. A broader experience of the world of coffee will help people (and the community-slash-business) evolve, find individual roads and maybe best, boost the fun and enjoyment over the amazingly varied business we are in.

  5. Ahmad

    I agree this site offers a lot of food for thought. I would like more discussion, however around natural coffee processes (sundried), and traditional knowledge around coffee growing, processing and drinking. I come from Yemen and I feel we do things so differently here, some good and others not so good, but we can all learn from each other. We are hosting farmers from Mexico, Ethiopia, Uganda, India and other arabica naturals producers in Yemen to exchange experiences and knowledge on sundried coffees. I think this is going to be a wonderful exercise. Great site

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