Oh man, again, what a crazy life I live. I would have never thought that it would actually cost me time on my blog. Although there are really like 5 people, including my mom, who come to the site, I still feel like it is a disservice not to be doing something I committed to. If I make a website I have to try and log in and post once or twice a week.
Well, one of my many excuses for posting on my blog is that I have been busy with working on the organization The Rocky Mountain Craft Coffee Alliance. What is the RMCCA? Well I am glad you asked…
The Rocky Mountain Craft Coffee Alliance in a nutshell is an organization created for the Northern Colorado Coffee Community as a way to get us together to talk about the coffee industry as well as really try and offer support to each other on our adventures in the land of coffee. As I have stated before, coffee people are the most insecure people that you will ever meet. A skill set that is built out of passion but is very misunderstood and under-appreciated can really create emotional issues within a person. Especially when most of their afternoons are spent listening to that stupid “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” ukelele cover. For those that work in a cafe, you know exactly what I am talking about.
The RMCCA was the brainchild of a few people, but mostly from my good coffee friend and mentor, Christopher Schooley. A professional roaster, green coffee buyer, and overall great guy, Schooley saw Colorado start to bloom in regards to coffee. Almost overnight we saw a huge increase in the coffee here in Colorado and not just coffee, but really good coffee. We started seeing people become passionate about the coffee they were roasting, brewing, and serving to customers. Not only that, he saw a business that was built on community and the pursuit of creating relationships between consumer and producer. Top that off with Denver and Colorado not being seen as a “coffee community” by the broader industry he saw it was time that we take matters into our own hands to help develop a scene that people can respect and be proud of.
As the mission statement states:
To strengthen community amongst professionals in the coffee industry and to use this community to promote inquiry and improve the quality of coffee within our region.
To encourage interaction with our patrons and colleagues to illustrate what craft coffee endeavors to be, fostering a passionate atmosphere within that relationship, and to transform “consumers” into “enthusiasts”.
First and foremost I think that the RMCCA is focused on education. It wants to educate the industry and really help cultivate a well educated and non-pretentious coffee industry. Also, we want to teach our consumers about how amazing the coffee industry is. We in the industry know that what we pour impacts at least 25 people’s lives, but how many lay customers know that?
They way I always like to explain this organization when I am talking to people is that we are trying to bring the same respect to craft coffee that Colorado has put into the craft beer industry. We think that craft beer is great and have a lot of respect for these people who stand on their feet for hours a day creating a great product. Why can’t we produce that same reverence for our product?
Last week we hosted our second event of 2013 at Novo Coffee Roasters new cafe in Denver. It is located at 1600 Glenarm Ave right off of the 16th street mall. The space is modern, chic and a great space to stir conversation. I decided that we should have our conversation at this cafe for two reasons. 1. To celebrate Novo’s new space and 2. For us to analyze and look at a coffee company that really understands the importance of the customer and the conversation. As I have stated time and time again, the craft coffee industry has become too focused on our processes and showing off that we kind of shun the customer in the conversation. When they layman hears Craft Coffee they hear “pretentious and snooty.”
With this conversation at the cafe we hoped to really build and understand how important people are. Herb Brodsky, owner of Novo Coffee, has had many conversations with me about people and how important it is for us to love and how his coffee is his way to show love. He sees his business as a way to bring people together and make them happy. With people as the structure of your business your are motivated to make the best product ever so that you can fulfill a customers need, not fulfill your own needs and desire to be the best. Novo doesn’t want any ego in their process, they just want to do the best they can. In turn this has made Novo roasters one of the top 10 roasters in the nation. To have an event bringing the coffee industry together to talk about the importance of people thru coffee rather than the importance of coffee to people was my way of helping the industry.
The event turned out to be a great success! Not only did we all get together in the industry and have a great time talking, but we also got to remember that this is why we make coffee. It’s for the people. For the love of sharing an experience. A great organization and I hope to talk more about this organization in the future.
If you would like to be part of the RMCCA newsletter let me know in the comments below. Also, Novo has a youtube channel. Its funny in a serious way.