Next Saturday in the capital of Lithuania, a unique inspiration-driven coffee conference called “Dark Times” will take place for its second year in a row. The event, organized by Emanuelis Ryklys, founder of the Lithuanian micro-roaster Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories will take place all day at the Vartai gallery in downtown Vilnius on October 25th.
Dark Times is not meant to be a coffee industry or insider-only experience, but one that is approachable by anyone who enjoys coffee and the culture that surrounds it. The list of speakers range from those working directly with coffee, to those who have an outside perspective, but still love it all the same. There will be five presentations by Lithuanian speakers, along with three international speakers, including myself.
Ryklys, who use to work in the world of advertising and design before starting Crooked Nose, understands the inherent value of coffee rituals and the stories we share with each other over a cup. Each bag of coffee he sells comes with its companion story and the design for both Dark Times and Crooked Nose combine a bit of the mysterious curiosity found in Lithuanian folklore. The conference celebrates the theme of stories by inviting a diverse collection of speakers who can provide a variety of perspectives with their own unique coffee experiences.
The list of speakers include:
Domas Ivonis and Ieva Malijauskaitė – Founders of Vilnius-based Taste Map Coffee Roasters, both Domas and Ieva have been successful in the Lithuanian Barista and Latte Art competitions and will be sharing a presentation on a variety of coffee tastes and their subtle aromas.
Eglė Mačerauskė – Editor-in-Chief and photographer of the Lithuanian food magazine “Virtuvė”. Eglė will share her love of coffee and the stories from her flavor-filled journeys.
Ralf Berlit – Co-Owner of the café “No Fire, No Glory” in Berlin and Barista Camp instigator, Ralf will share stories from his experience with the coffee culture in Berlin.
Wouter Strietman – The Dutch creator of the Strietman ES3 espresso machine will talk about his machine that brings together design, craftsmanship and coffee.
Andrius Bagdzevičius – Brewer at the experimental Lithuanian beer brewery “Raudonų Plytų Alaus Dirbtuvės,” Andrius will talk about his process of developing a new beer infused with coffee and discovering the nuances in the taste.
Brian W. Jones – A designer, writer and founder of “Dear Coffee, I Love You,” a specialty coffee website that shares coffee experiences from all over the world. Brian, who was born in the US and now lives in Sweden, will discuss the visual side of coffee, specifically packaging design.
Minoru Ooya – Founder of a roastery and two cafés in Kyoto. Mr. Ooya is a coffee roaster and master with nearly 30 years of experience and will share stories of coffee culure in Japan.
Kristupas Sabolius – A philosopher and writer, whose script for “The Gambler” was awarded Film of the Year in Lithuania this year. Kristupas will talk about coffee as a source of creative inspiration.