The Barista Guild of America (BGA) is preparing to host the first Access, a new two-day event being billed as the annual membership gathering for the BGA community and coffee professionals, which will be held Sept. 19-20 at Brazos Hall in Austin, Texas.
An evolution of the BGA’s long-running Barista Camp program, Access was unveiled by the BGA Executive Council at the Specialty Coffee Expo this April. Registration for Access is now open and the schedule has been released, with a program featuring workshops, a panel presentation, a keynote presentation and networking opportunities.
“We felt it was time to take a break from Barista Camp after 17 events in seven years,” Sarah Leslie, chair of the BGA Executive Council, told Daily Coffee News. “Access is all about what the name implies — taking barista education and making it accessible for all, as well as making it more engaging and hands-on.”
Workshops offered at Access will cover a range of topics, including espresso fundamentals, water chemistry, exploring roast profiles, and opening a cafe. Attendees will participate in six sessions, with four options to select from for each session.
For this new event, BGA leadership and SCA staff focused on feedback from the community, which called for a more diverse and experimental event — with a lower ticket price. The registration fee for Access is $375 for BGA members, $425 for SCA members, and $475 for non members.
Meals and housing costs are not included in the ticket price and will be covered by attendees directly, as opposed to Barista Camp’s all-inclusive registration model. It’s worth noting that the Barista Camp of Europe is hosting a Barista Camp in Portugal Sept. 3-6 this year.
The new U.S. format, however, will provide more flexibility for local attendees and those traveling from outside the area when it comes to accommodations, as well as the opportunity to visit a new city each year for return attendees.
“We decided to plan the event in the heart of a coffee city, rather that at a retreat resort, so that attendees can really maximize their event experience,” Leslie said. “Our hope is that this event becomes an annual event that baristas are drawn to attend year after year. We’re so excited to welcome baristas to Austin to start this new BGA tradition together.”