Earlier this month here in Colorado, a number of different roasters, coffee shops, and coffee enthusiast got together at the Brew Market in Longmont. There had been discussions for some time about putting together an event where we could get some coffee folks together in a way where it would be engaging for everyone to attend. There had been tremendous success around the TNT’s that had been organized, but there were also some dilemmas surrounding those events. Two big dilemmas were that very few people actually got to participate in the activity, and then there’s the incredible waste as drink after drink goes down the drain.
We’d tried so different approaches to the TNT’s in order to try to reduce the waste as well as incorporate some different activities. At one TNT we auctioned away the winning latte of each round, raising funds for the local food bank. That made a difference, but we were still dumping drinks, half as much but still. We also incorporated some different tastings and exercises which were really interesting and well received, but also conflicted with the competition. Ultimately, for our region where we’re not so far away from each other but it’s still rather spread out, we thought that the TNT format was great for a smaller more localized crowd where for a regional event it could be something entirely different and much more rewarding for more people, making it worth the longer drive.
The format that we settled on was one where we thought we could really encourage customers and coffee enthusiasts to take part. We would hold open 10 spots for different folks to bring whatever coffee they wanted and brew it however they saw fit. Everyone really embraced the opportunity with creativity, there was turkish See our Ibrik Tip sheet for further information on this brewing method.”>ibrik preparations as well as a method based on the traditional ethiopian coffee ceremony. The coffee presentations lasted a little over an hour and a half, and afterwards everyone got together to talk about their coffees and why they chose their particular preparations.
After the discussion on the coffees that were presented, we launched into a discussion about standards and expectations. We broke it into 3 categories: Product Standards, Skill Standards, and Service Standards. The idea was that this discussion could tell us as a group where we were in regards to our approaches to quality, how those standards and expectations shaped our identities as professionals and business, and also where we still definitely had room to grow. Though they weren’t as active in the conversation as some of the coffee professionals, it was incredibly valuable to have some consumers and enthusiasts in the room for the discussion, especially in regards to expectations. It was very interesting once we launched into the skill standards and expectations how much they crossed over into also talking the service standards and expectations. It was incredibly heartening really. The fact that so much importance is being put on delivering not just quality coffee, but quality experiences makes a huge impact no matter where you are, but especially in an emerging specially/craft coffee market.
This Rocky Mt. area is growing like crazy right now with some amazing new shops as well as long standing shops and roasters who are genuinely excited to have some much effort being put into building a community. I strongly encourage folks to really look into some different types of events next time people start talking about a TNT. Fun and games are all good, but sharing some coffee instead of spilling it and getting everyone in the room into the conversation goes a long way to gettin’ this whole thing together.