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Once we’ve solidified an event brief and reached out to speakers tentatively to check for availability, we usually get the question “but… what do you want me to talk about?” Whilst we usually have some ideas about what might go over well with an audience for a particular event, we’ve found that the best presentations are born from an exploratory chat about what it is that is currently inspiring, exciting, annoying, or even stumping them about their work or the current state of the industry—and, more importantly, that we end up in a very different place to where we started when we first approached the speaker.

Katie Carguilo’s talk, “Beyond The Bar”, is a prime example of this process: what could have been a talk on natural processing or the state of specialty in America became an open acknowledgement of career aspirations, hard graft, opportunities, and responsibilities of baristas who desire to move beyond the bar. Using her own thirteen years’ experience to frame the conversation, Katie’s talk is a must-watch for anyone seeking to further their development and career in coffee.


Katie Carguilo has spent the past 13 years in coffee first as a barista in DC, then barista trainer and Customer Support Representative for Counter Culture in New York City, and finally as Counter Culture’s Quality Analyst for their roastery in Emeryville, California. She is also the 2012 United States Barista Champion. She prefers cappuccinos to macchiatos, hot dogs to hamburgers, thrift stores to department stores, and guinea pigs to any other furry creature.