CoLab: Antwerp | 25-27 April

After the successful launch of CoLab in 2015, with editions in Prague and Paris, we're excited to continue the seminar series in 2016. True to the event's ethos, we focus on the discovery of blossoming, warm, enthusiastic and engaged coffee communities across Europe, and aim to give them a platform to connect with the overall international community. 

Antwerp (Belgium) has been on Europe's coffee map for a while, but it recently has seen a booming interest in speciality coffee resulting in new cafés popping up in addition to the established ones growing — together attracting increasingly curious, demanding and geeky consumers. Home of the world's biggest coffee port, two-time World Aeropress Champion Jeff, and a great speciality coffee scene, we're excited to bring the international coffee community to this small historic city on the Schelde river.

Monday April 25 | The first sip

CoLab: Antwerp begins a little earlier than normal, due to our first activity in the program. From 11:00 registration will be open at a central location in Antwerp (tbc). The local BGE team (we're lucky that three members of our working group -Tim, Danny and Isa- all call Antwerp their home city) will be on hand to provide tips, directions and recommendations. They'll welcome you with a handy city map, schedule, and delicious coffee. While we'll be running registration throughout the afternoon, you may want to arrive early for our first activity: a visit to the biggest coffee port in the world. As the activity in the port closes early each day, we will gather at noon and travel together by bus to the port. We will visit one of the greatest coffee warehouses, storing and handling an incredible amount of coffee-bags from and to across the world. For safety reasons and logistics, you are required to pre-register for this activity (a survey will be sent to all attendees).

Once we've returned from the Port Visit, we'll provide you with the first of many opportunities to get properly caffeinated: at Cuperus, we'll be holding a cupping of delicious coffees brought by all our CoLab Coffee Partners. Those of you thinking of competing may also want to head to Cuperus to have a chat with Stephen Morrissey, who'll be on hand for all your questions about the rules and changes taking place to the Championship formats.

Later in the evening, Caffènation will be the host location for an extra-ordinary barista challenge. We're excited to be working with The Barista League for an evening of fun barista competition: "No intimidating rules or judges. No cost to enter. Just teams of two, making coffee, having fun and drinking beers." It's a perfect ice-breaker and opportunity to meet new friends, socialise, and test your skills in a fun and relaxed environment. Register here to compete, of course supporting attendees are welcome too, and there'll be goodies and prices for all!


Tuesday April 26 | The body

We’re partnering with Tamper Tantrum again in Antwerp, who'll bring a new line-up of inspiring speakers, inviting dialogue, and passionate discussion. From 9:00 onwards, we'll be taking over De Studio with a program of speakers and discussions that you won’t want to miss!

Each speaker will give a 20 minute presentation, which will be followed by Q&A with the audience. Speakers will also take part in panel discussions, led by hosts Steve Leighton and Colin Harmon.  We’re fairly certain you’re going to have lots of questions for our speakers, so bring a notebook and a pen!

We’ll break for delicious coffee and lunch - by our wonderful partners - in between the talks to allow time for discussion with fellow CoLab attendees. We'll end the day here around 18h with aperitivo and some nibbles. Our local team will happily provide you with dinner and drink recommendations, while our handy map will guide you there!

Without further ado, here's the line-up of coffee professionals who'll take the mic and share some of their knowledge and insights with us at CoLab: Antwerp.

Wednesday April 27 | The aftertaste

After a full day of coffeetalks, the next morning we’ll present you with the best chance to bring that knowledge into practice. As always, our last morning focuses on sensory experiences and cuptastings, but this time, we've gone a little further. We are lucky to present the CoLab'ers with a premier in Europe: an extra-ordinary tasting session based on a new language developed for the tasting of coffee.

We're excited to work with Emma Sage and Dr. Rhonda Miller who will be leading the CoLab attendees through a 3-hour tasting session, on the science behind the new SCAA Flavor Wheel and the WCR Lexicon that was used as a base to create it. We will be tasting a couple of the references in the lexicon, at different intensity levels, as well as applying these to sample coffees. In a discussion we'll be able to compare our results to the results of the expert-trained sensory panel of the Sensory Science Evaluation Laboratory.

The experience will teach you not only how the Lexicon and Flavor Wheel were created, but also how to apply them to tasting and evaluating coffee. As Emma explained to us "it really is changing your coffee vocabulary and learning a whole new language. It is an awe-inspiring experience, that is also a little scary at the same time."

We couldn't be more proud and thrilled to bring this educational sensory session to the CoLab: Antwerp attendees and to our European audience. We think this is worth buying a ticket in itself, as if the rest of the program wasn't enough to convince you. ;)