This week features the last speaker from our last collaboration with BGE this year at CoLab: Antwerp—the one and only Stephen Morrissey! Kicking off with a somewhat provocative title, “I’m a World Barista Champion and I don’t want to pay for your coffee”, Stephen’s talk is an engaging look at how our position within the industry impacts our perception of “good value” when it comes to coffee. Drawing on personal experience, Stephen’s talk is an incredibly honest—and humorous—reminder that we could all benefit to walk at least a mile in a consumer’s shoes before we try to sell them a transcendental coffee experience. We realise we’ve been bandying about the term “must watch” a bit recently—and we can only attribute this to the incredible speakers we’ve been lucky enough to bring on board—but we’re pretty sure you’ll not only benefit from but also enjoy having your eyes re-opened to what it’s like on the other side of the till.
Stephen Morrissey’s coffee career began in Rio Coffee Co. on Dublin’s Exchequer Street. He spent a few years training baristas and roasting at Bewley’s on Grafton St, while at the same time completing a degree in Music Composition at DIT. In 2008, Stephen moved to London to help open Square Mile Coffee Roasters and that year became the first Irish person to win the World Barista Championship in Copenhagen. This led to traveling the world visiting coffee farms, providing education on the merits of specialty coffee, and ultimately a new home in Chicago where Stephen began work at the renowned Intelligentsia Coffee. Over six years, his many duties involved overseeing the education department, store design, brand development, design, product development, events, marketing, and communications—skills that serve him well as Senior Creative Advisor for the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Stephen has judged in national barista competitions spanning four continents and today serves on the Advisory Board for World Coffee Events, the governing body that produces events and competitions promoting specialty coffee. He is the inaugural chair of the Competitions Development Committee, a group charged with evolving the World Barista Championship format. Stephen was the co-founder of Coffee Common, a series of consumer-focussed educational events that originated at the TED conference in California. He lives in Chicago with his wife Jen, his son Gene, and their black lab Regis.