Good evening readers! We sent Panda over to Kansas City this weekend. No, it wasn’t because we’re tired of him. It was to attend a Caffeine Crawl and Barista Nation. Below is his report!

I’m very fortunate to have a job that involves a lot of travel because I get to meet amazing people from all over. I also get to have a lot of stellar coffee. My most recent travels put me in Kansas City and they have lots of both!

Espresso Parts was a proud Principal Sponsor of Monday’s Barista Nation event at About The Coffee. Barista Nation is a one day intensive Barista camp for Baristas of all skill levels. This was my third BN event and I can tell you all three have been completely different and I’ve learned so much.

The event is split between three focuses: Discovery, Development, and Devices. This format assures that there is something for everyone.

My day started with Oddly Correct’s dreaming of your own thing talk. They presented us with seven ideas to help craft vision & facilitate a culture of excellence: How do you kick ass? Whatchu want? Take a stand for something. Under do the competition/curate. Enjoy your boundaries & forget them. Space making/Once culture. Give the finger to the status quo.

Our good friend Sauro of LF USA kicked down some knowledge about equipment. We went over the important connections between the parts we use in our machines and what machines we use them on. The main focuses being dispersion screens and baskets.

It was a lot to take in so we took a lunch break to recharge on caffeine and delicious food. Thanks to The Filling Station for providing the food and drinks!

Discovery II:
Fully recharged we reassembled for the second round of talks. Sarah Allen of Barista Magazine gave us the rundown on connecting with your community. She called on roasters and cafes to come together for the greater good. If we as an industry want to get better we have to do it together. It was very inspiring.

Development II:
Now it was time for some BOOZE! Jacque Des Marais of Kaldi’s Coffee led an amazing presentation on Coffee Cocktails. It’s not as easy as just throwing some Toddy in with gin. To make a great coffee cocktail you must really understand flavors and how they interact with each other.

Our key-note speaker for the night was none other than World Barista Champion Pete Licata! Pete works at Parisi Artisan Coffee in Kansas City so he didn’t have to travel too far. Pete’s pretty much the most approachable rock star ever. He shared with us his journey from coffee newbie to WBC champ.

To top it all off we had a good ol latte art comp or Cowtown Throwdown as the locals call them. Yours truly was lucky enough to be a judge. I saw so much talent and skill! It was really hard at times to pick a winner because the pours were so good. Did I mention everyone that competed went home with a nifty EP Jolly Roger cappuccino cup?!?! EP also donated a Yama Silverton brewer for the top Barista.

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