Nick Cho moderates a panel on the state of specialty convenience coffee. This talk was presented live in July 2017 at Bloom San Francisco, a unique event hosted by the Barista Guild of America.
Moderator: Nick Cho, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters
Nicholas Cho is the co-founder and co-CEO of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters in San Francisco. Nick has served as a director on the Barista Guild of America’s Executive Council, on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Board of Directors, on the World Barista Championship Board of Directors, and as the chairman of the United States Barista Championship. He was also the 2006 South East Regional Barista Champion and has served on the SCAA Standards Committee. Nick has been a guest lecturer at the University of California Berkeley, Dartmouth College, University of California Davis, and a speaker at various events around the world.
Panelist: Tonx Konecny, Co-founder, YES PLZ
Tony “Tonx” Konecny is a Los Angeles based coffee roaster, entrepreneur, and writer. Tony began his descent into coffee madness as a barista and then head roaster at Seattle’s seminal Victrola Coffee and later went on to bend the coffeebar genre as part of Intelligentsia Coffee’s Los Angeles project. An O.G. of what has come to be known as coffee’s Third Wave movement, Tony has the dubious distinction of being among the first coffee bloggers, for which he sincerely apologizes. In 2011 he founded Tonx Coffee, a pioneering direct to consumer coffee company later acquired by Blue Bottle. His latest coffee venture YES PLZ emerges from a partnership with Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson’s revolutionary fast food concept LocoL.
Panelist: Kent Sheridan, Voilà Coffee
Kent grew up in the coffee-barren suburbs of Atlanta before moving out to Bend, Oregon where he discovered what specialty coffee was all about. He soon realized what a relentless pursuit of innovation and perfection can lead to, whether that’s with Voilà or his arduous stand-up routine.
Umeko Motoyoshi, Head of Coffee, Sudden Coffee
Umeko’s mission is to make specialty coffee a rewarding and welcoming experience for people of all backgrounds. She joined Sudden after working in specialty coffee for over 10 years, most recently as Head of Education & Training at Four Barrel Coffee. Umeko is a licensed Q grader and (probably) the first person to represent an instant coffee company in a barista competition. During her time in coffee, she has managed cafes, refurbished espresso machines, and starred in a Japanese reality show, where she brewed gesha with water from a mountain shrine. The episode never aired.
Molly Irwin, Product Engineer, Fellow Products
Molly Irwin is a product engineer at Fellow Products; the company that makes the Stagg Pour-Over Kettle and other coffee brewing tools. She is passionate about coffee and creating products in the space that are human-centered, high design, and beautifully functional. Coming from a background in robotics and consumer electronics, she is applying her skills to coffee products to design and produce products that empathize with the needs of everyone from the home brewer to the barista.