Previous Event Talks


Mokhtar Alkhanshali – How Coffee's Roots Hold the Key to Its Future

Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up between Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Yemen. Mokhtar comes from an ancient lineage of coffee farmers, that traces back to when the world’s first coffee was cultivated in his home province of Ibb over five centuries ago. As a Yemeni-American, Mokhtar hopes to serve as a bridge between the farmers of the oldest, rarest and most unique coffees to coffee lovers the world over.


Martha Stoumen – From Grape to Glass: Exploring Natural Wine

Martha Stoumen was born and raised in Northern California. Following her studies in traditional agriculture and Italian language, at twenty‑two Martha went to intern in the vineyard, olive orchard, and winery at a small Tuscan farm. This started what would become an 8‑year series of apprenticeships, mostly abroad, sandwiched around a Master’s degree in winemaking at UC Davis. Martha is now 33 and making wines in California under her own label, Martha Stoumen Wines, that celebrate that wines, at their core, come from the earth.


Donnie Madia - Being Present
Owner, One Off Hospitality

Among the city of Chicago's most acclaimed restaurateurs, Donald J. Madia has mastered the art of collaboration to execute his singular unerring instincts for style, atmosphere and hospitality. His unique blend of visionary inspiration, attention to detail and sense of unlimited possibility informs all he touches. His gift for connecting talented individuals and business acumen was recognized by the James Beard Foundation in 2015, when he was awarded Outstanding Restaurateur.


Marcus Boni - Carving a Career in Coffee
Vice President of Retail, Intelligentsia Coffee

Marcus has had the sincere pleasure of being a member of the Specialty Coffee Community for the past 14 years and is currently the Vice President of Retail with Intelligentsia Coffee. He has held leadership, marketing, and operational roles with companies like Intelligentsia, Kaldi's Coffee and Espresso Supply. Prior to living the dream in coffee (and during), Marcus was a sales director and operations manager in the wireless industry specializing in spectrum deployment and new market operations. 


Ria Neri - The Value of Perspective
Co-founder, Four Letter Word Coffee

Ria Neri is the co-founder of Four Letter Word Coffee in Istanbul, Turkey. In late 2015, she expanded roasting operations to Chicago. Simultaneously, she co-founded Whiner Beer Co., a brewery dedicated to barrel-aging and wild fermentations. She is also a Certified Beer Cicerone. She is currently Head Roaster for Four Letter Word Chicago, and Chief Creative Mouse for Whiner Beer Co.


Charles Babinski - Coffee Not Difficult: How I Make Coffee Good
Co-founder of G&B Coffee and Go Get Em Tiger, 2015 US Barista Champion

Charles Babinski is the cofounder of two coffee shops in Los Angeles: G&B and Go Get Em Tiger. Having worked in specialty coffee shops across the US over the past dozen years, Charles has developed a passion for the retail coffee experience, something that's reflected in the service he and his business partner, Kyle Glanville, have developed at their shops.

Katie Carguilo - Quality is a           moving target.
Quality Analyst at Counter Culture Coffee

Katie Carguilo works in the coffee department for Counter Culture Coffee as the Quality Analyst for their west coast roasting facility in Emeryville, CA. Prior to, she was a barista trainer on the Customer Support team for Counter Culture in New York City, and even spent time as a barista in Washington, DC. Katie is also the 2012 United States Barista Champion.


Sarah Bennett - The Necessary Beerification of Coffee
Freelance Craft Beer Journalist

Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist specializing in the culture, industry and business of craft beer. Her words on the subject have been published in L.A. Weekly, OC Weekly, Beer Advocate Magazine, First We Feast, Thrillist, Drink Me! Magazine and CNN Travel, among others. She first discovered her love of the populist beverage while beertending her way through journalism school and she has watched craft beer grow from an underground movement to an international phenomenon. She is a founding editor of Beer Paper L.A. -- the only monthly print publication covering craft beer in greater Los Angeles -- and is the former Food Editor at L.A. Weekly, where she also covered the local coffee scene.

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