CoffeeCon. A phrase, frankly, that conjures up an image of little, old ladies sitting around sipping coffee from porcelain cups, while nibbling on coffee cake. But it’s not, of course.
A little history provides perspective. The word “coffee” originated in the Middle East, where it was first spelled as chaoua, cauwa, kahue and cahve, all akin to the Turkish kahveh, which came from the Arabic qahwah. Scholars are unsure where the Arabic word came from, but suspect it derived from Kaffa, which designated a remote area in the Abyssinian highlands, where some say the coffee tree originated. From there, the word transitioned into the Italian caffe, the French café, which led to the word cafeine, from which we get the English word caffeine. Interestingly, the Spanish word café resulted in cafetero “coffee-seller,” which led to the English cafeteria.
So in one paragraph we went from coffee cake to the Abyssinian highlands to cafeterias to CoffeeCon L.A. That’s almost as slick as the transporter in Star Trek.
CoffeeCon is the brainchild of Kevin Sinnott, author of Great Coffee: The Coffee Lover’s Guide and The Art and Craft of Coffee: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Selecting, Roasting and Brewing Exquisite Coffee. Saying that Kevin is “into coffee” is a vast understatement.
Kevin, who describes himself as a “coffee geek,” came up with the idea about five years ago. The first CoffeeCon took place in Illinois, where most people thought the event would probably be more like a farmer’s market: some folk music, a few kiosks selling coffee and maybe some arts and crafts. Nope. CoffeeCon is much different and seriously sophisticated.
There are coffee tastings, where you can sample expensive, exotic brews from all over the world, along with cutting-edge technological devices designed to grind, measure and brew the best coffee. World Champion Baristas demonstrate how to make lattes, espressos, mochas, etc. You can watch how they do it, while they explain what they’re doing and why they are doing it. You’ll learn how water impacts the taste of coffee and, most importantly, about coffee bean roasting. In the end, as Kevin says, “It all comes down to the bean.”
CoffeeCon L.A. will feature a California coffee farmer, who will make a presentation. Part of his presentation covers sustainability and the future of coffee.
According to Kevin Sinott, California coffee is “an excellent coffee.” There will even be a presenter at CoffeeCon L.A. who will demonstrate that it’s possible to get four completely different tasting coffees, using the same roast of coffee bean. The only difference is in the brewing method.
The Taste of Coffee
The Kevin was asked the BIG question: what’s your favorite coffee in Chicago?
He replied: “Big Shoulders Coffee.”
And in L.A.?
His choice: “Alana’s Coffee, who you’ll find at the Farmer’s Markets.”
He did add that there are lots of great coffees in L.A. In his opinion, the best coffees seem to come from the small hole-in-the-wall Mom & Pop shops, where they take great pride in their coffee. This pride is reflected in the way they pick their roast, the way they grind their beans and the way they brew their coffee. It’s an art as well as a science.
As Kevin pointed out, almost everyone drinks coffee, but most people don’t know how to brew a decent pot of coffee. CoffeeCon is the place to go if you want to learn how to properly use the coffee machine sitting on your kitchen counter. Whether it drips or presses or percolates, you can make a delicious cup of coffee. Just think how amazed your friends will be.
When & Where
When: February 25-26 (Saturday and Sunday); 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Where: The Magic Box @ the Reef, 1933 S. Broadway Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
Tickets are $15. Available online at: http://www.coffee-con.com/losangeles/