Every vibrant coffee community requires events. They enable people to meet, talk, and collaborate. They serve as an incubator for new ideas. They assist professionals in improving their skill sets by either learning new things or competing. They instill zeal and excitement.
Whether it’s a weekly coffee meetup or a multi-stage barista competition, here’s why and how you should organize an event.
WHY SHOULD YOU ORGANIZE COFFEE EVENTS?
If you enjoy coffee, you will benefit from attending events. That is true whether you are a professional or a weekend warrior. They will provide you with networking opportunities and a supportive coffee community, in addition to a lot of fun (and a certain amount of stress). They will assist you in understanding coffee in new ways and working on improving your skills with others who are also learning.
Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with a lot of events. However, I guarantee that if you think about it for a minute, you’ll think of another event that you’d like to attend. Perhaps your town has barista competitions, but they’re all a little too serious: you want the competitors to have to tell a new coffee joke with every pour. Or maybe they aren’t serious enough for you.
You can make whatever you want to happen. The benefit of organizing your own event is that it becomes precisely the type of event you want to attend.
Furthermore, if you own a café or roastery, you should definitely be organizing events. They are opportunities to strengthen your brand, provide new services to your existing customers, and even gain new customers.
So, let’s look at how to do it…
Reveal YOUR C-TEAM
You don’t need an A-team; you need a C-Team. I’m referring to the Coffee Team. The more you try to control every last detail of an event, the more difficult it becomes. Instead, surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your goals so that you can share the responsibilities.
Finding these people isn’t always easy… but the more you hang out in coffee shops, talk to baristas, and go to events, the easier it will become!
HOW TO SELECT A VENUE
If you own a business, you’ll most likely want to use your own location. However, if it is too small, the insurance does not cover events, or you are not a business owner, you will have to find another location to hold the event.
Where you choose will, to some extent, be determined by the type of event. Remember to think about practical things like space, local transportation, and enough electrical outlets, not just whether you’re friends with the owner.
Don’t forget to think about branding. This will be a fantastic marketing opportunity for the venue owner, as well as an easy way for you to increase attendance! Find out what kinds of events their customers would like to attend, whether it’s a coffee shop, roastery, or something else. A great way for the business owner to do this is through Facebook polls, face-to-face conversations, or simple surveys with each coffee order.
Most importantly, when selecting a venue, maintain a professional demeanor. There’s a chance that every company you consider will be in competition with one another. Don’t mislead anyone or try to pit businesses against each other in order to get better deals; the last thing you want is a he-said-she-said situation.
KINDS OF EVENT
You can host a wide variety of events, and I couldn’t possibly list them all. But, to get you started, here are five suggestions that will take you from coffee novice to coffee expert.
1. A Coffee Appreciation Evening
This is an excellent way to pique the public’s interest and answer questions about coffee. I begin with some facts about what coffee is, how it has evolved over time, and how important it is to various cultures around the world. Then I offer a sampling of common coffee drinks such as americanos, cappuccinos, and so on. Because these evenings are intended for “entry-level” consumers, they should be brief and informative.
2. A Brewing Methods Evening
This is a good event for customers who know they like coffee and have seen or used a few pour-overs but want to perfect their brewing methods. It’s a fun and interactive way to learn more about coffee, and it can include the Kalita Wave, V60, AeroPress, Chemex, siphon, and even some unusual brewing methods.
Try to hold this event somewhere where all of this equipment is available for purchase. This benefits both the venue and attendees who decide they like the flavor profile of a specific method. Furthermore, I recommend that you use the same coffee for each brewing method. However, sourcing from a variety of coffee roasters may make event sponsorship easier.
3. Palate Development/Coffee Tasting
This is ideal for those who aren’t quite ready for a coffee cupping but are interested in balance, body, aroma, and flavor. Even seasoned coffee enthusiasts can benefit greatly from these events! Try serving fruits, nuts, chocolate, and other foods to help attendees understand common coffee notes, followed by three or four coffees with similar profiles.
4. Coffee Cuppings/Cup Tasters
Cupping is an excellent progression from a palate development evening. It’s also interesting to hear everyone’s different perspectives on coffee. Other people’s perspectives can teach you a lot!
I like to follow cupping with a cup tasters competition when I organize this event. It adds excitement and is a great way to see people put what they’ve learned into practice. However, if you do this, make sure you have an experienced and knowledgeable team to assist you.
5. Barista Jams/Latte Art Throwdowns
These events can be held in any café, and even those who do not wish to compete will enjoy watching. So gather a group of passionate baristas and invite them to demonstrate their best work. Invite a local “celebrity” to judge; this will generate some interest. To make it even more exciting, ask coffee companies to sponsor prizes such as tampers, jugs, or even coffee bags.
Depending on what you want to get out of this experience, there is no shortage of events you can host. Any event you choose will help people make new connections, inspire new coffee lovers, and promote the growth of the local specialty scene. So, what are you holding out for? Begin organizing, and let the games begin!