Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aug. 18, 2011
Arrived at the Stonewall Retreat in Roanoke, WV at 5pm -- just in time for the start of the "newcomers" session. Specialty coffee long-timers like Phil Beattie, Chris Schooley,Chris Wade and Darin Daniels sat down with our small groups to give us insights and suggestions about how to maximize our experience.

The opening session included a fine keynote address by the president of Probat. At dinner we were encouraged to sit with our team. I was honored to be on team #1 with legends such as Paul Katzeff, Thanksgiving Coffee; Willem Boot of Boot Coffee, David Kastle, Swiss Water Process; Tom Owen, Sweet Maria's; Bjorn Dhaese, Dillanos Coffee; Carol McLaufhlin, Gorilla Coffee; Alex Burbo, Intelligentsia; Stephanie Ratanas, Dogwood Coffee; Neal Wilson, Wilson's Coffee; and Mathew Hill, Salt Spring Coffee Roasters. Apparently, they carefully pick the teams to have a balance of experience and in-experience, new-comers and old-timers, also roasters and importers (like me, with Artisan Coffee Imports).

We had a hard time deciding a team name. Eventually we got to "The Luwak Liberation Front." (see photo right, with David Kastle and Tom Owen.)

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