CoffeeCon Chicago 2017 Experiences

Talk about your favorite cafes, local barista events, or plan your own get-together.
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dominico
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Postby dominico » Oct 12, 2017, 12:58 pm

I had the opportunity again to participate in the home roasting demonstrations at CoffeeCon Chicago this year, which spanned 2 days although I was only able to make it on Saturday.

The convention itself was very busy, perhaps the busiest I've ever seen it. Great coffee was to be had pretty much everywhere, and a fair amount of booths pulling espresso from various origins.
I of course completely failed at taking photos of the rest of the convention, I'll have to find some photos taken by photographers greater than me, and link them here.

The Home Roasting demo was organized by Scott, rasqual. I took a few pictures of the home roasting demonstration area, where we were provided with plenty of green coffee by Theta Ridge. Convention goers could grab some samples of green coffee as well as the stuff we roasted up as we talked about our experiences roasting and had a good variety of roasters running ranging from a GeneCafe and Behmor to some homemade ones out of popcorn poppers, and the turbo oven drum roaster I made a couple years ago.

The class schedule looked very well rounded this year and there were a lot of interesting class descriptions that I wish I had more time to get to and see. I did catch a bit of the Espresso Q&A that was being run by Andrew Betis of Rancilio, we talked with me about his recent experiments with temperature profiling while pulling a few shots on the XCelcius, which has temperature profiling capabilities. Look for his article on temp profiling in Barista Magazine later this year.

Here we see Scott presenting on home roasting to a group of convention goers, in the back another home roaster Jim is talking about roasting while roasting up some Congo on his GeneCafe.
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In the morning before things picked up I snapped a couple shots of the roasters that would be roasting up over 20lbs of coffee during the course of the day:
A Behmor and a GeneCafe
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My DIY Turbo Oven drum roaster
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Scott and his WMD popcorn popper turned coffee roaster.
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In the Rancilio Espresso Classroom, the XCelsius was the workhorse during espresso classes and Espresso Q&A
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skimmy
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Postby skimmy » Oct 12, 2017, 1:07 pm

Thanks for the write-up. It was on my radar but I wasn't able to attend. Anything particularly new or innovative on display that stood out?

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dominico
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Postby dominico » Oct 13, 2017, 1:33 am

That's a good question, I wish I would have gotten to see more of the exhibitors, mainly I just enjoyed tasting all the local roasters' SO espressos.
There were two places doing nitro cold brew there: Ipsento - the "inventors" of nitro cold brew, and Pilcrow, which is actually based in Milwaukee. The first nitro I tasted was at CoffeeCon in 2015; it was wildly popular and I must have been the only person who didn't like it. This year I tried the nitro from Pilcrow and I was impressed. I'm not a cold brew fan by any means but I would drink that again.

The other big hit this year was turkish coffee from the Specialty Turkish Coffee booth. The line was halfway across the exhibit hall at some points; people would walk out to the home roasting demonstrations sipping their Turkish coffee and interrupt my presentation to let me know how good the Turkish was :lol:

As far as products go I didn't see anything too revolutionary, but I did see a couple drip machines that would knock your average drip machine out of the park. Bonavita and Bodum were there, Behmor was there, and the SCA was there with a giant flavor wheel to show convention goers what it is and how to use it.

By far the largest majority of the booths were all coffee roasters. You could walk pretty much anywhere and get a good cup of pourover.

Also, the Specialty Turkish Coffee booth had Comandante hand grinders for sale there, wood and metal bodied versions. I was tempted.
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IntrepidQ3
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Postby IntrepidQ3 » Oct 16, 2017, 3:04 pm

I was able to stop out there on Sunday. The event was fun and provided opportunity to taste different methods of brewing. I brought along two friends that had little knowledge of specialty coffee. Walking around it helped me explain why I get technical with coffee brewing and roasting.

I wouldn't say there was anything ground breaking there, but you get a feel for what is currently on the market. Overall it was a great show, but I wish there where some booths related to espresso machines, as the majortiy of the booths focused on nitro brew and other brewing methods. I would have loved to have the opportunity to learn about different brands and types of machines.

Shout out to the home roasters providing demonstrations. I had a great conversation with the gentleman, Jim, that was manning the gene. They provided me a couple bags of the coffee they roasted. I pulled a couple shots with it the following weekend and it was delicious! I am looking forward to next year.
"As you know, an explorer's temperament requires two basic qualities: optimism in attempt, criticism in work."-Freud

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dominico
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Postby dominico » Oct 16, 2017, 3:12 pm

That Congo we were roasting turned out pretty sweet, I've been pulling it as espresso ove the last 4 days or so.

Jim is a pretty cool guy, he comes to the Chicago HB meetups; he's been roasting on the GeneCafe for like 7 years now.

There were four or 5 booths (at least on Saturday) that I saw that were pulling shots with espresso machines. Two years ago La Marzocco Home was there and you could play with the GS3 or the Linea Mini, but I didn't see them their booth this year. If you went to any of the espresso classes in the Rancilio classroom, they let you pull shots on the XCelsius in there.
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IntrepidQ3
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Postby IntrepidQ3 » Oct 16, 2017, 4:37 pm

We were having so much fun walking around, talking at the booths, and drinking coffee, we missed the classes! I am looking forward to next year, hopefully we can go on Saturday. Sounds like there is more going on.

Where did you get the Congo from? And when do the HB Chicago meet ups occur?
"As you know, an explorer's temperament requires two basic qualities: optimism in attempt, criticism in work."-Freud

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dominico
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Postby dominico » Oct 16, 2017, 9:13 pm

The Congo was provided by Theta Ridge, one of the convention sponsors.

The Chicago area meetups happens 2 or 3 times a year, watch the Cafes and Get togethers /cafes/ section, when someone gets the urge to host one they will post something there.
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