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May | June 2021


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SPRING IS A FANTASTIC TIME to hike in the Pacific Northwest. Before the mountain trails clear of snow, the hikes are limited to the lowland fields, waterfalls and rivers. These hikes epitomize the classic saying, “It’s the journey, not so much the destination.” Along the way, I tend to observe often-overlooked things, like how an entire ecosystem can be contained on a single fallen log. Mosses, ferns, fungi, insects and countless other creatures form a world that has always been there, doing important natural work, largely unnoticed.

At the end of February, Roast hosted the second Roast Summit. It was our first-ever virtual event, due to covid-19 restrictions. Like the fallen log, it took an entire ecosystem working together to make this event successful.

We had a fantastic lineup of speakers. Monica Terveer and Yimara Martinez Agudelo spoke on water activity in green coffee, Candice Madison spoke on the chemistry of coffee, Rob Hoos spoke on airflow in roasting, and Anne Cooper spoke about being a more decisive roaster. If you missed the live event, you can catch all of these presentations on our website at roastmagazine.com/roastsummit.

Going about their important work, largely unnoticed (which is a good thing at an event), the team behind the scenes did a fantastic job producing this virtual gathering. Thank you to Roast Editor Lily Kubota, Business Development Director Claire Harriman and Art Director Jeremy Leff—you are the heart, soul and brains of Roast (I’ll let you decide who is which).

Roast Summit would be more like Roast Flatlands if it wasn’t for the large (2,500 registered attendees) and participatory audience. I’ll be the first to say that I was skeptical of an online event. I thrive on the personal interaction that I have with the coffee community and initially couldn’t imagine what hosting an online event would feel like. To my surprise, interacting with the presenters and the audience (through the chat) gave the impression that we were together.

In order to reach as wide an audience as possible, we made the event free for attendees. Like the often-overlooked fallen logs on a riverside trail, the need for affordable and free educational platforms was always there but rarely noticed by event organizers on their way to grander destinations. Free and affordable events should have been happening pre-pandemic, and now the need is so clear—there is no turning back. However, we all know that “free” is not really “free,” and the final and truly critical piece of the ecosystem that makes this all work is the support of our sponsors. Thank you to all of our sponsors! Quality events like Roast Summit have hard costs, attendees get real value and sponsors get tangible exposure and business. This is an ecosystem that works, and I look forward to continuing these types of events in the future.

With regard,

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