Passing on knowledge and experience, update on developments in the wider coffee sector and exchange of views. These were, among other things, some key points that can describe what happened at the Coffee Masterclasses of the 4th Athens Coffee Festival.
For three days the Innovathens Hall in Technopolis City of Athens, where the seminars and workshops of the Coffee Masterclasses were held, was essentially the knowledge and education center for people engaged in the coffee market and for the more “concerned” consumers that wanted to learn more about varieties and new techniques of coffee making. The presence of specialists as well as experienced executives from all over the production chain of the most beloved beverage in Greece, established the key role that this festival has been playing in this fast-growing industry, in the recent years.
Both professionals (business owners, baristas etc.) and coffee lovers (from ordinary consumers to home baristas) had the opportunity, the former, to expand their knowledge, and in many cases even their horizons, by learning new trends and techniques on how to take their final product and customer services, at another level and the latter, to upgrade their daily tasting experience at home. Every day, the venue of Innovathens was full of people eager to attend the speeches, panel discussions and seminars which had been prepared in a manner ideal to meet the demands of the most demanding attendees.
Left: Konstantinos Perpinias (Mr Bean). Right: Eleni Manika (Snack & Coffee Magazine), Panagiotis Haskos (Luigi Ltd), Stelios Roumeliotis (Coffee Lab), Dimitris Mitos (The Way)
On the first day Giorgos Makropoulos, representing Nestlé Professional, analyzed the importance of water (temperature etc.) in the brewing of quality coffee, followed by Thomas Tasoulas from Alpha Kaffe who explained in a detailed presentation the importance of milk in the art of coffee making. Nikos Antzaras & Michalis Katsiavos (Samba Café) elaborated on original training in coffee farms. That day’s panel consisting of Kostas Bisoukis (Kaffellinion), Michalis Piperis (Specialty Espresso Bar) and Giorgos Tsimotas (Burbon Specialty Coffees) elaborated, through an in-depth discussion on the secret of a coffee shop’s success. How many different roasting profiles can a coffee have? Konstantinos Perpinias’s (Mr Bean) filter tests helped stakeholders broaden their horizons. Volcafe Rene Fleischer’s (Volcafe) Head of department of quality, one of the world’s leading coffee experts, highlighted the importance of coffee quality to the end result that reaches the consumer. Giorgos Koutsoukos (DXN) closed first day’s speeches with an original and revolutionary topic, Organic coffee with Reishi mushroom!
Thomas Tasoulas (Alpha Kaffe)
Giorgos Makropoulos (Nestlé Professional)
The second day of the festival was even more vibrant with hundreds of visitors at Innovathens to watch the Masterclasses. The speeches began with an analysis by Panagiotis Nikaa (Coffeexpert) on the different types of home espresso machines and the “social face” of coffee by Vasilis Tartaris (Taresso). Konstantinos Tsekouras (WS Karoulias), focused on the cleaning and hygiene of coffee machines. After the first three speeches, the microphones were given to the panel of the day composed of Dimitris Mitos (The Way), Stelios Roumeliotis (Coffee Lab) and Panagiotis Chaskos (Luigi Ltd). The topic that the panel discussed and exchanged views upon, for the benefit of the professionals in the audience, was the pros and cons of owning a small cafe business over being part of a chain. The next topic of the day, analyzed by Giorgos Moraitis (Maui Gourmet – Caffe Del Doge), was Degassing, a necessary process for the quality of coffee grains, which also raised a lot of questions from the audience who wanted to know more about it. The agenda of the day ended with Christos Zamanakis (Dimello – Kafea Terra) giving tips on how to make a business a true destination.
Rene Fleischer (Volcafe)
Konstantinos Tsekouras (WS Karoulias)
The last day of Athens Coffee Festival had nothing to envy the two previous ones both in terms of speeches and audience turnout. The curtain was raised by the Indonesian embassy with a tribute to its local café, followed by Stathis Korebas (Taf Coffee Roasters) who analyzed the filtered coffee preparation methods. The panel of the day focused on the topic of tea. The varieties to choose for one’s business and this year’s trends were the basis of the discussion of Vangelis Konstantinou (Ahmad Tea), Kimonas Papapanagiotou (GUSTO) and Vasilis Sebos (Elixir Tea). The next one to take over was Michalis Dounetas (Délifrance) with suggestions for breakfast, brunch, sandwiches and coffee accompaniments for a business owner to put in his coffee shop. The agenda of the day and of this year’s festival closed with speaker Nikos Michas (WS Karoulias) who talked about the phenomenon of channeling in coffee, a matter that concerns all professional baristas.
The Masterclasses set a new appointment for next year at the 5th Athens Coffee Festival.