As the new year gets underway, a group of coffee educators plan to gather at The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room in Oakland to illuminate potential new paths for other coffee professionals.
Taking place Saturday, Jan. 14 at 12 p.m. PST, the ticketed event called Lift & Learn is designed to bring coffee technicians together with coffee practitioners and quality experts in an environment in which they can learn and borrow from one another.
The Lift & Learn concept was created by Maria Cleaveland, the North American sales director for Urnex Brands and a member of the Leadership Council of the SCA’s Coffee Technicians Guild. The inaugural Lift & Learn took place in Texas with Anita Tam and Kathy Altamirano just before the pandemic shut down in-person gatherings.
“My vision is to have folx interested in learning about fixing, installing and maintaining coffee machines to have a supportive environment to learn,” Cleaveland recently told DCN. “Conversely, the desire is to have techs who wish to expand their knowledge about coffee to have a similarly supportive learning venue. It’s all about creating connection and learning from one another.”
The Crown’s Evan Gilman told DCN that participants will be divided into groups for rotating modules of their choice. Examples from both sides of the aisle include steam wand rebuilds, grinder maintenance, sensory science or espresso fundamentals.
Cleaveland and Gilman will be on hand as instructors alongside coffee professionals such as Shad Baiz of La Marzocco, Anastasia Chovan of Vivreau, Maciej Ostrowski of Rancilio, Devorah Freudiger of Equator Coffees and Kristen Hjelm of Bunn.
Tickets are $20, with all proceeds donated to the US Women In Coffee Association, the United States chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. Gilman said some scholarships are available.
Said Cleaveland, “At [their] core, Lift & Learn are community-based workforce development events exposing folx to progressive career options that they might not otherwise consider.”
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