My name is Lyssa Strickley and I am the new manager at Magnolias: Sous Le Pont. With 9 years of service experience, 5 years of coffee experience and 3 years of management experience, I am extremely excited to be a part of the Harwood Hospitality team. I lead with a mission to inspire and equip my team to be not only outstanding baristas, but exceptional individuals as well. 

Harwood Hospitality recently sent me on an adventure to Coffee Fest, a traveling coffee and tea trade show, that is strategically showcased every year in cities like Dallas, Anaheim, Chicago and Nashville to name a few. Coffee Fest has been the leading trade show in networking, showcasing and connecting people within the coffee community both nationally and internationally since 1992. 

With roasters eagerly pulling and handing out espresso shots to vendors carefully concocting flavorful combinations, there was a certain buzz about the air. It very well could have been a caffeine overload from too many doppios, but everyone was welcoming and excited – caffeine high or not. 

At the end of the day, two specific coffee roasters stood out to me at Coffee Fest – Novel and Avoca. Not only are they up-and-comers in the coffee realm, they also embody values and processes that are in alignment with our philosophy at Magnolias: Sous Le Pont. Here’s how: 

1. Novel Coffee Roasters - Located here in Dallas, I got to personally meet and talk with Ryan, one of the founders of Novel. Novel Coffee Roasters trade is, "We believe that every coffee has a story. Every seed is cultivated, harvested, processed, traded, shipped, roasted, and prepared before it reaches your cup. It is our goal that every person involved in this process is treated fairly and rewarded for their work. Therefore, our trading model is built on trusted relationships and quality incentives." With such intentional morale, Novel is such a great company with ethical reasoning and motivation to get behind and partner with. From taking special care in selecting and roasting their beans to brewing and showcasing their products, Novel sets itself above the rest as such a unique roaster with a sustainable background and meaningful foundation. 

2. Avoca Coffee Roasters - Located in Fort Worth, Avoca is exceptional in holding high standards for their equipment and products. I had the privilege of meeting Jimmy Story, one of Avoca's founders. We were immediately and warmly welcomed by Jimmy behind the bar to hop onto their equipment and play around with the tools they were showcasing at Coffee Fest. Quickly and efficiently answering any and all questions we had, Jimmy was open to introduce us to streamlining products and new materials. 

Coffee Fest was an outstanding experience of insights and inspiration. I’m looking forward to trailblazing engaging ways to introduce our guests to an honest, top-quality experience that sparks conversation and nurtures relationships. Best of all, it’s all done over simple, handcrafted cup of coffee. 

I look forward to seeing you at Magnolias soon!