Exploration, practice, dedication–practitioner tips for entrepreneurial success
In this photo essay, we feature more stunning exhibits from the World Coffee Conference and Exhibition, and expert insights on creativity.
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 720 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
In Part I of our photo essay on the fifth World Coffee Conference and Expo (WCC), we showcased the wide range of exhibits on display. See also our earlier photo essays on Coffee Santhe 2015, Mango Mela 2018, and Mango Diversity Fair 2019.
“The highlights of WCC2023 for me included India's strong representation on the global stage, the bustling exhibition arena which featured diverse businesses in the coffee industry, and an informative conference hall with speakers from various countries,” Q Arabica Grader and professional coffee taster Ajay Redij tells YourStory.
He participated as a sensory judge in the National Barista Championship, spanning regional preliminary, semifinal, and final rounds. He was also a judge in the Women Star Brewer Championships and acted as a visual judge in the Indian Latte Art Championship Mumbai regionals.
“The competitions were impeccably organised, and the champions exhibited exceptional performance, truly deserving their titles,” Redij enthuses. He believes such competitions will provide valuable platforms for baristas and coffee professionals, elevating the Indian coffee industry's standards and positioning it strongly in the international coffee market.
WCC2023 showcased several B2C and B2B opportunities for entrepreneurs in the coffee industry. “These included innovative products such as various cold brew options and advanced coffee brewing equipment,” Redij observes.
There were presentations of cutting-edge manufacturing machinery that enhance the coffee production process and streamline operations for manufacturers. “For entrepreneurs, larger brands offered a range of business services, from bulk coffee orders to supplying large-scale machinery such as farm equipment, roasting machines, and associated machinery,” Redij explains.
The event also featured small and large coffee growers who provided high-quality coffee beans to roasters and roasted coffee to end consumers. “Various distributors presented café machinery, including espresso machines, grinders, and accessories, creating additional opportunities for entrepreneurs in the coffee sector,” he adds.
Such industry events offer valuable insights and opportunities for networking. “I am looking forward to participating in coffee festivals that take place in coffee-growing regions,” Redij says.
They often provide a unique opportunity for farm visits, with firsthand knowledge of coffee cultivation and processing techniques. “Additionally, these events feature informative presentations by industry experts and cupping sessions, which are essential for developing a refined palate and understanding the nuances of coffee tasting,” he affirms.
He plans to attend expos like AAHAR, a prominent trade show in the food and beverage industry. “Such expos serve as excellent platforms for discovering the latest coffee-related products and innovations, connecting with suppliers, and exploring emerging trends in the coffee sector,” Redij says.
Other competitions on his list include the Indian Brewers League (IBL). “These competitions not only showcase the skills of baristas and coffee professionals, but also provide an opportunity to witness the evolving coffee culture and excellence in brewing techniques,” he observes.
“Overall, attending these diverse coffee industry events is part of my ongoing commitment to staying informed, fostering connections, and continuously improving my knowledge and skills in the dynamic world of coffee,” Redij enthuses.
He also offers tips to those aspiring to participate in coffee competitions in the future. “Embrace challenges. Remember that not qualifying in a competition is a new opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. Use setbacks as stepping stones toward becoming a champion,” he says.
“Success in coffee competitions requires dedication and consistent practice. Continuously refine your skills and techniques to reach your full potential,” Redij advises.
Coffee professionals should invest time in honing their coffee tasting abilities. “Explore diverse flavours and foods to enhance your sensory perception,” he says.
It is important to create a strategy to differentiate from other contestants. Innovate and originality help here, as well as deep analysis of juror feedback.
“Seek guidance. Consider having a knowledgeable coach who can steer you, set standards, and help calibrate your performance,” Redij urges.
Practice and composure help improve performance. “Remember, participating in coffee competitions is not just about winning; it's about personal growth, learning, and contributing to the coffee community," he adds.
"Stay passionate, stay committed, and keep striving for excellence,” he advises.
In sum, WCC2023 was truly a remarkable event of massive scale, according to Redij. He commends the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) for its efforts in promoting and documenting various events within the coffee industry.
“Such global gatherings play a crucial role in fostering international collaboration, sharing knowledge, and advancing the coffee industry as a whole,” Redij signs off.
Now what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and showcase the breadth of your creative side?
(All photographs taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at TechSparks 2023.)