After months of excitement and preparation by the Sustainable Harvest® team, Let’s Talk Coffee® 2012 began tonight in the gorgeous Antioquia, Colombia. This year marks our 10th annual event, which has grown exponentially since its first days as a tiny gathering of 40 or so roasters and growers in Oaxaca to the event that it is now, with 4 days of workshops, panels, and relationship building among the most interesting and innovative players in the specialty coffee industry. That means farmers from the highest-altitude coffee regions in Bolivia, washing station managers from famed organizations in Rwanda, specialty roasters from New York and San Francisco that push the envelope on coffee consumer culture, green coffee experts from leading coffee retailers, and brilliant minds from the finance and development organizations that work to make third-world livelihoods sustainable. And the real live Juan Valdez. Needless to say, we are pretty excited to be here.
Today 425 of our friends from all over the world winged their way to the gorgeous, vibrant Medellin, Colombia, and then bussed through the state of Antioquia’s green hills to join us for a well-deserved celebratory cocktail at the kick-off for the largest Let’s Talk Coffee® ever. The energy is palpable–after 10 years of an event like this, many of us are old friends, and its exciting to be at the cusp of yet another Lets Talk Coffee, where we get to meet face-to-face with all the folks we work with and admire. There will be lots of talks and panels and meetings about the most pressing issues of our industry today, but there will also be time to laugh, dance, eat, and remind ourselves the power of relationships in this business.
Tomorrow kicks off the first full day with plenary sessions that speak to the current state of the coffee market and the future of our industry. We’ll start by all getting on the same page so we can jump into making the next few days of the gathering as effective as possible. This year’s theme is ‘The Next Generation in Specialty Coffee’ and we will be calling everyone at the event to action. How do we go forward from here? How do we scale our market share and our impact?
Stay tuned for more updates from Antioquia as the event continues. Check out the twitter hashtag#LTC2012 to see what people are saying. Also take a look at Sprudge.com who we are proud to have speaking at and covering the event. Learn more about Lets Talk Coffee here.