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May | June 2019

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I started working in the specialty coffee industry in 1997, and although I wasn’t the first one to discover this cool new band, it was a time when it played in small clubs with low covers.

In the mid-2000s, events such as the Roasters Guild Retreat were small and intimate. It was entirely possible that you might know every person in attendance. Deep connections were made, and lifelong friendships were born. Since then, the specialty coffee industry has grown immensely, and the size and scope of its events have grown as well.

Not only has the industry changed here in the United States, it has become a global community. There are roasting retreats and events held around the world. At the risk of stretching this analogy too far, the band is now on a global tour, rocking arenas with awesome sound systems and cool pyrotechnics.

While this growth certainly provides more avenues for coffee roasters in all corners of the globe to learn and connect, I believe that our local craft roasting communities could benefit from an event that brings us back to our roots—one that will lead to more cooperation and learning among peers, where participation is less intimidating and more accessible.

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In the spirit of building stronger communities, Roast will be hosting a new educational and social event called Roast Summit. Our goal is to provide a smaller venue for connections to develop and grow, where we can expand on the conversations that are taking place in our global industry—and to deepen our shared commitment to specialty coffee. An inexpensive entry fee ($125) is designed to be inclusive and break down some of the cost barriers for people to attend.

The two-day summit will be held January 23–24, 2020, in Portland, Oregon. Day one will consist of lecture-style classes at the world-renowned McMenamins Kennedy School (sister site to the McMenamins Forest Grove, the original location of the very first Roasters Guild Retreat). Day two will offer hands-on roasting and cupping training at the Buckman Coffee Factory, which is world famous in its own right!

I am looking forward to seeing old friends and new faces at the Roast Summit. Stay tuned as the year goes on for more information.

Warmest Wishes,
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