The Creator of Coffee-Con: Kevin Sinnott
We were lucky enough to run into (not literally) the creator himself of Coffee-Con, during the VIP Media Luncheon! It became immediately clear that Kevin’s sincere fascination with All Things Coffee, coupled with a charmingly populist approach to exploring this extraordinary beverage, is the blueprint for Coffee-Con. Charming, witty, and easily navigating between his status as an industry expert, and philosophizing with a coffee layman (such as myself), we talked about what is really at the core of Coffee-Con.
Of course, all sorts of coffee companies were represented, from smaller local purveyors such as Cafe Demitasse (Little Tokyo/Santa Monica), LaMill Coffee (Silverlake), Bar Nine (Culver City), Costa Mesa’s Portola Coffee Roasters (2015 Micro Roaster of the Year ), to large chains, like Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Sisel Kaffe.
But because Coffee-Con is for consumers, not just a trade organizations, there were also businesses that are complimentary in some way to coffee, which brought a lot of variety and fun to the tastings. There was the incredible New American Chocolate company TCHO (West Berkeley, CA), Kettle Glazed Doughnuts, Urnex (products for cleaning your coffee maker), and of course coffee equipment manufacturers like KitchenAid (with their new Pour Over Coffee Brewer).
Creating and guiding all of this is Kevin Sinnott’s populist philosophy, which welcomes everyone, wherever they might be in their own journey with experiencing coffee. This is a dynamic, quickly changing industry, with a very complex product that we are still learning about. Even experts in the industry itself don’t always agree about standards, parameters or definitions of coffee cultivation, production, brewing, etc. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) does not always agree with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE). Different philosophies are in play from the pure high-level experts who are pushing the boundaries of what we know of coffee production, roasting and brewing the perfect cup, to those who have a more pragmatic free-wheeling interest in using coffee in other products, from cookies, coffee soda (which is fantastic, by the way), ice-cream, and cakes to cocktails.
Sometimes the best cup of coffee that we experience and remember is not necessarily based on how perfectly it was literally made, but on special circumstances, good company, a unique place, or a significant event. My parents for example, had a simple wedding in 1958, after which the guests were served sandwiches, cake and coffee. So there is a resonance that can be created in our lives depending upon Coffee Drinking Circumstances.
Coffee-Con is clearly in good hands. I’m already looking forward to Coffee-Con 2015! Until then, I’ll be exploring the resources, information and many tastes that I experienced this time around.