By Danny Pinnell, SCAA
At Symposium 2015, coffee service and the Sensory Experience room sponsored by Swiss Water® were featured prominently on the Benaroya Hall Promenade.
Coffee service has a reputation for being highly regarded at Symposium, and this year was no exception.
Designed by 2014 U.S. Barista Champion Laila Ghambari, this year’s service featured four separate espresso bars overlooking the Grand Lobby, and a brewed coffee bar in the Recital Hall Lobby. Service was provided by a team of highly-skilled Barista Guild of America members.
Each of these services was inspired by a 2015 World Barista Championship competitor. Lead Baristas Joshua Boyt, Julie Housh, Cody Kinart, Sarah Leslie, and Lorenzo Perkins each designed their bars with inspiration taken from a survey of WBC competitors about what they value in coffee.
Boyt highlighted the changes experienced in the coffee world through serving his beverages in pairs, for example, a cappuccino with a stick of honey. Kinart took multiple coffees, each remarkable in their own way, and blended them together to create a profile unachievable by each of those coffees on their own. Leslie celebrated the origins of coffee: Seattle as origin for the United States, Ethiopia as the origin for coffee as a beverage, and the mocha as a drink that introduces so many consumers to specialty coffee. Perkins explored single-origin espressos as coffee shots brewed with the EK43 to reimagine espresso drinks. In contrast to her peers focusing on espresso, Housh provided a delicious brewed coffee bar that emphasized efficiency, complimented with an approachable engagement about the coffees being served.
In the sensory experience room, Good Land Organics of Santa Barbara provided California-grown coffee cherries of varying ripeness in order to demonstrate why harvesting ripe cherries is so important, and so that attendees could experience how certain defects correlate to the cup. Layered agriculture provided a layered sensory experience with the opportunity to taste cherimoyas, fruits known for their custard-like texture and sweetness, and Surinam cherries, similar to size and color to the coffee cherry, but providing an entirely different “cherry” experience.
Danny Pinnell is the communications coordinator for the Specialty Coffee Association of America.