East Coast Coffee Madness

East Coast Coffee Madness gathers coffee lovers of all stripes

Connoisseurs, baristas, roasters, traders, food scientists and other industry figures will converge on ECCM this weekend.

ECCM 2017

A new wave has crested over our beloved city and there’s no stopping it. A movement that was born in the same mold of craft brew, craft (or “specialty”) coffee is now the drink of choice of starchy businessman and tattooed hipster alike.

It’s actually called the third wave, the third movement of coffee consumption. The first wave was your average diner swill — strong and hot and caffeinated enough to keep you going on the long road ahead. The second wave brought us Second Cup and Starbucks, a convenient stop where you and your Friends could hang out and discuss your screenplay.

The third wave is what next week’s East Coast Coffee Madness show is all about. This year’s fourth edition of the event is programmed to appeal to the coffee community with the themes “Meet + Learn + Grow.” ECCM’s first edition in 2015 took place in Kittel Atelier de café’s roastery near Vieux Rosemont. A group of 100 gathered to listen to speakers about coffee science, water quality and how many total dissolved solids (TDS) is optimal in the perfect cup of joe. Several local roasters got to flaunt their stuff, taking turns to pull espresso shots on a single machine, or making batch after batch of filtered pour-over coffee. Burgers were served and friends were made.

ECCM 2017

Year two saw big changes, including a move to a larger venue and more international food scientists and other studs of the coffee world. The event is an opportunity for members of the coffee community to come together and learn, discover new products, build friendly and business connections around workshops and speakers. Multiple brew bars and espresso stations will be hosted by established and up-and-coming specialty coffee roasters.

Love creamy chocolate aromas and nuts? A smooth Brazilian coffee could suit your palate. Do citrus flavours and juicy acidity pique your interest? A bright Ethiopian or Kenyan may do the trick. If black coffee isn’t your thing, there is no judgment here and there will be milk and sugar available (though you may want to keep your head down).

This year’s line-up of speakers cover all bases including quality, social development in the supply chain, and coffee sourcing and product development:

John Gordon: World Barista Championships 2018 finalist and New Zealand Barista Champion 2018; UK Barista Champion 2010, 2011 & 2013; Director of Gorilla Gear LTD and Sanremo World Academy Team member.

Kimberly Easson: Founder and Strategic Director of the Partnership for Gender Equity, a collaborative research and development initiative of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).

Al Liu: Vice President of Coffee at Colectivo Coffee Roasters who oversees sourcing, coffee-related operations, and new product development.

Coffee will be served. And then more coffee will be served. In between will be a discussion panel highlighting many of the macro issues the industry is facing today (think low prices to farmers, labour shortages, climate change etc.)

The discussion panel of coffee industry insiders will feature Adam Pesce (Reunion Island Coffee), Kim Elena Ionescu (Specialty Coffee Association), Meredith Taylor (Counter Culture) and Colleen Anunu (Fair Trade USA). All these organizations are heavily committed to the well-being of the supply chain and are actively engaged in finding solutions to heavily complex industry issues.

Which brings me back to my original point about the third wave. It’s not just about attention to quality and new ways of brewing. The third wave is a growing school of thought that actively brings worlds together — farmer, importer, roaster and barista alike. ECCM serves as a microcosm of this growing and passionate spirit.

And if you need even more convincing, did I mention there’ll be coffee? ■

ECCM’s main event is happening at SAT (1201 St-Laurent) on Monday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., $44.24, with satellite events taking place at various venues from Sept 29 to Oct. 1. Check out the ECCM website for more details. See their Facebook/Instagram groups here.

Jonathan Gabbay is a coffee enthusiast and third generation coffee trader at RGC Coffee Inc, a Montreal-based green coffee importer.