Potent Quotables: Alex Negranza on his TEDCoffee Experience

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This is the second year in a row that Alex Negranza of Seattle, Washington, has volunteered his skills and talents to the coffee program at TED; both in 2013 at TEDActive in Palm Springs, and again this year at TEDActive in Whistler. Mr. Negranza put together a wonderful video for us that highlights the coffee/tea service in Whistler this year, and also explained what inspired him to participate in the TEDCoffee experience:

“Despite our communities and cultures, taste preferences and training, there’s a beautiful thing in coffee that unites us all: it’s the drive to serve someone a coffee that changes the way they approach their morning ritual. Almost a decade ago, I was entrapped by the idea that if I couldn’t understand something as simple as a cup of coffee, how was I going to take on the rest of my day…. and down the rabbit hole I went. I spent years reading, training, traveling, and countless sleepless nights of over-caffeination trying to wrap my head around a way to serve up that “A-Ha!” moment to a consumer. That moment that the light bulb clicks on…that moment when we share something that transcends the morning ritual…that moment when we, as baristas, turn into culinary alchemists and share black gold to a palate that’s only known charcoal and ash: that moment, created by depth and breadth of flavor and a story of scores of people united by a cause across handfuls of countries. Sure, it is something as simple as a cup of coffee- but nothing is ever as simple as it seems. And everything starts as an idea.

I’ve said it once, typed it three or four times and I’ll probably tweet it again- being a part of TED is one of the most inspirational and empowering things someone could ever experience. It’s hard to say what the coolest thing at TED was… Technology? Human Rights? Medical Advancements? Architecture? Biology? Aerospace? Edward Snowden Robot?! Selfies with aforementioned Snowden Robot?!?! Sure, those created unforgettable moments, but the coolest thing about TED for the coffee service was stripping down the baristas from our home machines, the comforts of our coffee bars, our favorite customers and coffees, removing the indie-branding and type-facing, letting us forget about our restored vintage knick-knacks and refurbished beech wood bars to remember that we share a common goal and story united across communities and cultures. We volunteered our minds and bodies for six long days. We served the idea of specialty coffee. We shared the goal of sustainability. We curated the service of that “A-Ha!” moment over and over again. And at the end of the day, we quietly bowed out, packed up, and went home to do it all over again.”

TEDCoffee 2014- Coffee Worth Sharing from World Coffee Events on Vimeo.

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