Today our ECW agenda is devoted entirely to the topic of technological innovation, mostly, but not exclusively, in the coffee sector.
Geoff Watts, our Vice President of Coffee, Intelligentsia’s first employee 22 years ago and one of the chief intellectual and material authors of the Direct Trade model, will open the day by officially inaugurating the annual party he started back in 2009: the Extraordinary Coffee Workshop.
He is followed by three guest speakers whose technological innovations are poised to reshape the coffee trade, and one whose paradigm-shifting technology is poised to change the world. IKAWA Business Development Manager for the United States O.M. Miles, Cropster Founder and CEO Norbert Niederhauser and Cafe X Founder and CEO Henry Hu tell the origin stories of their respective companies, and demonstrate how their technologies are accelerating the evolution of the specialty coffee supply chain: an electric sample roaster with infinitely customizable and endlessly repeatable roast profiles that is managed from a smartphone app, a web-based end-to-end supply chain data management platform that emerged from a research project and became an industry standard for specialty coffee in less than 10 years and a robotic café kiosk that delivers precision extraction, consistency and efficiency and represents a bid to evolve the role of service in the coffeebar. A fourth special guest will speak to innovations in energy storage that represent the promise of true sustainability in an era of accelerated climate change.
In the afternoon, we put the entire event on wheels for a field trip to the flagship U.S. location of Cafe X, where this week is Intelligentsia Week: all the coffees on its four-item espresso-only menu are Intelligentsia offerings: a sparkling Tikur Anbessa Organic Ethiopia single-origin espresso, our Sapsucker seasonal espresso blend, our Analog blend, a year-round favorite, and a decaf Black Cat. For more on the Cafe X origin story, listen to my recent conversation with its founder and CEO Henry Hu on the Intelli Sourcing Sessions podcast here.
ECW 2017 is closed to the public Monday-Thursday.
But please join us Friday, September 29th for Public Day when we open the doors of our San Francisco Roasting Works (1125 Mariposa in Potrero Hill) from 10 am – 3 pm for coffee tastings, a coffee competition with a People’s Choice award (come, taste, vote and be counted!), a panel discussion with members of our Direct Trade network, food and live music by the Broun Fellinis.