Tristan's Report From TED Talks

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week as a volunteer barista at the TED talks in Vancouver. This was one of the most interesting coffee bars I have ever worked behind.

During our meet and greet before the week at TED, Peter Giuliano told the group that we would be hearing the word “amazing” a lot during the week, and so it was. Everyday was something amazing. The coffee delicious, the baristas professional, the speakers diverse and inspiring, and the TEDsters were friendly and engaging. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Of course my favorite part was the coffee and the coffee team. I was pretty honored to work with people from all over North America dedicated to the same purpose as me. We spent every day sharing flavors and ideas, firing out cappuccinos and enjoying the incredible view from the Vancouver conference center.

We had several espresso bars each with different coffee. From Vancouver we had Matchstick and Elysian, and from Calgary, Phil & Sebastion. There was Gabbee coffee from Taiwan. It’s a kind of espresso blend you don't see too often in the Pacific North West with a heavy, earthy, tobacco like quality from the Indonesian component of the blend. It was quite enjoyable.


Also TOM’s coffee, as in TOM’s shoes, (they roast coffee now.) Their bar and seating area was cozy with lots of rugs everywhere and a cute cabin like structure with the glassware and, of course, shoes in it. Along this theme many of the bars were an attraction themselves. We got to work with great equipment at each one with all the machines coming from La Marzocco. The stand outs for me were a couple of Linea PBs and a Strada EE. The La Marzocco guys were real nice too.

Everyone involved was great, and it was an amazing opportunity for me. I feel quite lucky and humbled to have taken part in such an epic event.

Tristan Mapstone is the head of coffee training for Fernwood Coffee Company (@tristanmapstone)