Infinite Cups: A Cupping Extravaganza Coming to Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte coffee lovers: Grab your cupping spoons and get ready to taste coffees from all over!
BY J. MARIE CARLAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Featured photo by Daniel Weiss via Unsplash
LaChrista McArthur loves coffee people.
Though she’s working at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Portland, Ore., this week, she encountered a lot of coffee lovers in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C., who won’t be able to make it this year. A trip across the country for a coffee event is just not in the cards for a lot of people, whether because of finances, work, or other life responsibilities.
“It all started from a conversation I had with a co-worker,“ says LaChrista, who is the founder of The Barista Coalition, an organization that seeks to make specialty coffee accessible for everyone. “Last year they were able to go to Expo and so we met up there. … And then (recently) at work, I asked, ’Are you going?’ They said no, this year they wouldn’t be able to afford it.“ Her co-worker then said that the worst part of missing the Expo was missing out on all the coffees that attendees would be able to try.
So LaChrista had an idea: Why not reach out to the great coffee roasters who will be at the Expo, so the Barista Coalition could introduce local coffee people to the delicious coffees available there?
Cue Infinite Cups, a cupping extravaganza taking place in Charlotte, N.C., on April 30.
LaChrista’s experience with coffee began in high school with a senior project: taking over a coffee shop for an afternoon. She worked with a mentor who helped her pull off her senior project without a hitch. Nowadays, LaChrista is lending a hand to other baristas. Her goal is to improve diversity and increase access to education in the coffee community.
Education, Inspiration, and Access
The Barista Coalition focuses on education and professional development for baristas. LaChrista mentions that for a lot of people starting out in coffee, there is not a clear plan for upward mobility. Offering career support and training helps coffee people turn a job into a career. “(Coffee career success) shouldn’t be a matter of connections,” LaChrista states. “It should be available.”
Infinite Cups is a great example of how hosting community events can bring people together to learn and discover more. Roasters responded favorably to the call, excited to share the love (and the coffees) that will be at Expo. The Barista Coalition has gathered beans from all over the world for this event. Sponsors include Brandywine Coffee Roasters, WatchHouse, Abracadabra Coffee Co., Oddly, Onyx Coffee Lab, and others (including your pals at Barista Magazine; we’re big fans of The Barista Coalition’s work).
The Charlotte Coffee Community
Building community is one of The Barista Coalition’s core values. LaChrista mentions that before the pandemic, coffee professionals gathered together in her area much more frequently. Throughout the early days of COVID-19, The Barista Coalition hosted virtual coffee crawls as a way to keep people connected.
While the in-person event calendar is still emptier these days, Infinite Cups will be a great way to bring coffee people together again. Baristas new to the Charlotte coffee scene will have a chance to make some friends and contacts, and everyone will be able to enjoy the camaraderie that coffee events bring.
Infinite Cups will take place on April 30 at Not Just Coffee on Jay Street in Charlotte; festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m.
In the spirit of inclusivity, the cupping event is free to attend. “This event is about community and all the wonderful parts that keep it going,” The Barista Coalition Instagram explains. “This event is also about making the far and distant accessible. This event is about making space where coffee pros don’t have to think (about) money (flights, taking off, etc.) or feel like they’re missing out on all the fun in this season of coffee events, but can think about building their palettes and enjoying experiences with the community in their own backyard.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Marie Carlan (she/they) is the online editor for Barista Magazine. She has been a barista for 15 years and writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. When she’s not behind the espresso bar or toiling over content, you can find her perusing record stores, collecting bric-a-brac, writing poetry, and trying to keep the plants alive in her Denver apartment. She occasionally updates her blog.
Source: Barista Magazine