Reflecting On Tamper Tantrum NYC
In September, I traveled to New York City to speak at Tamper Tantrum's first inaugural American event, held at Taylor St. Baristas in Manhattan. If you don't know, Tamper Tantrum is a Dublin-based weekly podcast that includes the coffee-related rants of hosts, Colin Harmon and Steven Leighton, and managed by Jenn Rugulo. The live events are similar to TED talks, where speakers have 20 minutes to talk about anything they're most passionate about within coffee. We had such a sick lineup of speakers— Meister, Jenn Chen, Colleen Anunu, Nick Cho, Matt Perger— and I felt very challenged by everything they all had to say. Inspiring doesn't seem to cut it when describing my time with these awesome people.
When I first received word of this invitation, I was sitting inside Black Cup, a coffee shop in Anchorage, Alaska. I was out with Royal & Design on the last days of the Estival Survey, and I had no idea about the opportunity until Jenn told me she was speaking, too. Confused and immediately anxious, I checked my email, and there sat a message from Jenn Rugulo.
Those who know me well are aware that podcasts aren't my go-to for listening. (That has very recently changed and now, I'm all the way here for podcasts.) I didn't know what a Tamper Tantrum was prior to this summer. The first couple of times I read through Jenn's email, my initial response was, Hell no. What would I talk about? Why were they asking me? Did they want me to talk about my piece on race? How do I tell her nicely that I hate public speaking?
I was unsure of myself, but I accepted the invitation.
Choosing the topic came easier to me than I expected. It was inspired by an email I'd received shortly after my "Being Black In Specialty Coffee" post from a friend and former colleague. He'd sent me a list of thought-provoking questions about how he should approach hiring for his company's first brick-and-mortar shop down in Atlanta. His questions and my answers touched on the fine line between the intentionality of hiring diversely and tokenizing, as well as making sure his staff felt valued and empowered. This became the foundation for my talk.
My experience, from start to finish, was nothing short of life-changing. I'd never prepared so extensively for something that had the intention of teaching people or making them think. I'd spent the week leading up to the event barely sleeping while I organized my final thoughts. All sleep-deprivation and expected nervousness aside, my favorite part of the whole day was meeting and talking to so many new people, many I'd only known via the internet! The conversations I had made me realize there was value in my story. Everyone was so incredibly supportive and sweet, so much so that I had an emotional moment during the break for lunch haha.
All of that being said, I've decided I'm going to take my topic, Laying the Groundwork for Diversity, and release a series of blogs breaking down a lot of the points made. My hope is that it's educational and challenging, aiding in the journey towards a more inclusive industry! Stay tuned!
If you haven't had a chance yet, my talk is available here or in the Podcasts app on your mobile device! Just search for Tamper Tantrum. Barista Magazine and Dear Coffee, I Love You also posted full recaps of the day. Meister's talk on Ambition is already up (I've listened to it 3 times already!!), and the rest of them will be following over the next few months! Until next time.