CoLab: Belfast 2017

Art Tour

As part of the CoLab: Belfast Community Events Program CoLab’ers had the chance to join a walking tour with Belfast Coffee Tours and the founder of the Belfast Coffee Map. Taking in a handful of Belfast cafes and enjoying a variety of coffees and delicacies along the way – this was a fantastic way for attendees to immerse themselves in the local coffee scene.


Sarah Hannaway of Bailies coffee serves up espresso during a coffee break on equipment provided by Food Solutions Limited.


First speaker of the day, Ben Szobody takes to the stage with a presentation titled Don’t Hire Your Customers. In his talk Ben broaches the missed opportunities employers have in not broadening their search for staff wider than their typical customer. Ben opens the audiences’ eyes to new training program models and recruitment ideas.

BGE Breakfast

A tradition in the CoLab program – day three of the schedule opens with a breakfast meet-up at General Merchants, a local café renowned for serving up great brunch!


Another activity as part of the Community Events day: a presentation and cupping with Café Imports at Established. These events are open to CoLab ticket holders and the wider community which makes them a fantastic opportunity for the visiting international community to connect with the local coffee scene.

Group Ladies

Attendees from Dublin and Cork – centre is Caroline O’Keefe who is a representative of the SCA Irish Chapter.

Group Shot

CoLab: Belfast which was well attended by the industry from the UK and Ireland offered the chance for locals to connect and take time out to share and learn from each other.

Kathe Kaczmarzyk

Kathe was the second speaker of the day at CoLab: Belfast, filling the Outside Industries slot with a talk on The Culture Of Fermentation. This presentation offered an insight into the wonderful world of bacteria and fermentation process across the globe.

Panel 1 – What’s Unique About Coffee In Belfast

Left to right: Ryan Lord of Lost & Found, Ryan Kane of Bailies Coffee and Stuart Ritson, BGE Events Chair.

Panel 2 – What’s Unique About Coffee In Belfast

Left to right – Ben Craig of Root & Branch, Bridgeen Barbour of Established This panel which is run at each CoLab, invites locals to discuss what’s different about the coffee scene in their city – exploring challenges, goals and progress.


Ben and Rachel of Root & Branch serve up coffee during a coffee break using equipment provided by the brewing bar partner Marco.


Ralf Rueller concluded the morning of talks with his presentation on Establishing a Specialty Café: The Essential Building Blocks. Attendees were asked to consider all the factors that would ensure a potential new café was on the road to success.

Workshop 1

During the afternoon at CoLab attendees are invited to join each of the morning speakers for a workshop developing on their presentation topic. In Ralf’s workshop, CoLab’ers were challenged to create a business plan for a new cafe using the factors outlined in his talk.

Workshop 2

Kathe lead an interactive and practical workshop for attendees to create a jar of sauerkraut. A high percentage of the audience were completely new to the idea of home fermentation.

Workshop 3

Ben’s workshop encouraged attendees to take part in soft skills activities which are typically part of Ben’s training programs. Using these activities in the workshop allowed the attendee to consider what type of learner they were and how they fit into a learning environment.

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