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Highlights from the Nordic Roaster Forum 2013

One of the best things about working in something you love is that it never really feels like work.  Instead of feeling drained after travelling on the job, it actually feels like a bit of a holiday and I return home restored.

The Nordic Roaster Forum (#NRF2013) was no exception.  My first time to Reyjkavik was certainly a memorable one.  I really liked the intimate nature of the forum. There were enough people to have an interesting discussion, yet it was small enough to talk to everyone. The cuppings were really insightful.

There were many interesting speakers.

Trish Rothberg from Wrecking Ball Coffee and the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) gave an interesting chat on the SCAA Cupping Form.  She argued that as coffee professionals we must be able to justify every point deduction in order to give constructive feedback to importers/exporters/farmers.  It was an interesting discussion as many seem to benchmark every coffee on the table against their world favourite.   To be professional words like its “great” or it “sucks” doesn’t really cut it. Initially it seemed like we couldn't justify why were being a bit harsh. I'm glad Trish challenged us all to go a step further.

John Laird led an interesting discussion around roast profiles, and led a cupping on variations of the same coffee roasted with different profiles.   There was a roasting competition with a 1919 Saismic roaster, and a discussion about espresso. Ben Kaminsky suggested that most espressos are under-extracted and attributed to it why most people don’t like their coffee.  He shared some of his personal experience and provided a solution.  As simple as changing grinder from the traditional Robur to a Mahlkoning EK34 would lead to properly extracted espressos and a significant decrease in waste, saving coffee shops a significant chunk of change a year.  I hope Ben is making commission on the sales of EK 34’s as he left a lot of people buzzing.

Aaron Davis gave a chat about Wild Species - it was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Beyond seeing the Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon, seeing Bjørk, and leaving during a horrific snow storm, it was a fantastic conference. I feel inspired by all the roasters’ dedication to quality and sustainable sourcing.


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