SCAA: The biggest coffee expo in the world

Monday, 22 April, 2013
By Joanne Sarah Berry

The Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) annual exposition is possibly one of the biggest events in the year for our niche, quality driven part of the coffee industry and is certainly the biggest event in coffee I have ever attended. I had the pleasure of attending last year in Portland however this year the conference was held in Boston, Massachusetts were I was privy to this same luxury.

Before I talk more about the show itself, I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who where lost and those who were injured in the events at the Boston marathon on Monday, 15th April 2013. It is heartbreaking what humanity is capable of.

The Expo this year for me was punctuated by some incredibly delicious coffee offerings, some intriguing new equipment and by what I have been informed, was the most competitive US Barista Championship to date.

The Barista competition was by no means the only platform of competition taking place, the Brewers Cup, the Cup Tasters Championship and the Aeropress Championship were all happening under one roof. All of which offered an abundance of excitement and butterflies! The newly crowned Barista champ is Pete Licata of Parisi Coffee in Kansas City. Pete has now won the US Barista Championships for the second time in three years.

Erin McCarthy of New York City’s Counter Culture Coffee took the trophy in the Brewers Cup. Counter Culture Coffee was represented by other competitors throughout the various competitions and had a booth, which was certainly one of my favourites, where they served a number of their coffees as brewed coffee and espresso. I managed to enjoy a Burundi from the Mpemba washing station, a naturally processed Rwandan coffee from Buf cafe (the first of its kind out of Rwanda), and Aida Batlle’s Bourbon from Finca Kilimanjaro.

The Cup Tasters Championship was won by Erin Wang of Molinos de Honduras in San Rafael, California.

Andy Sprenger, a previous Brewers Cup Champion and currently commencing on a new roasting endeavour, won the Aeropress Championship this year.

The showroom floor was littered with exciting coffee toys, most notably for me where the changes in Nuova Simonelli’s Mythos grinder, La Marzocco’s redesign of the Linea and the direction Breville is taking home espresso making to.

In short the changes made to the Mythos is the addition of vanes in the grind delivery path, this has been made to decrease clumping and to ensure a smaller amount of ground coffee is left in this pathway. They now claim that only 0.5g is left in the grind delivery chute, they have also made the addition of a fork on which the portafilter can rest and be dosed into.

La Marzocco had on their stand the newly redesigned Linea which offers barista’s the choice of either displaying the time of their extraction or alternatively the number of counts on a flow meter, each roughly equivalent to 0.5ml of water. There have also been changes made to the steam delivery; the steam valve now opens in half a turn allowing a more speedy delivery. La Marzocco also had on display a prototype of a new grinder still in development and something exciting to look out for!

Breville revealed the new direction it is taking with the Oracle and 9’. The 9’ is an experimental model, where the 900XL has had added to it a rotary vane pump while the Oracle takes the 900XL in addition to a new automotive milk steaming, grinding, dosing and tamping system.

The Expo provides a platform for the skills of individuals and the teams of people that work in conjunction with each other in every aspect of coffee to produce the end product, including those who create innovative and new equipment. It also acts as a platform for a greater dialogue between all facets of our industry. It is a space in which people come together and share their understanding, skills and experiences. This is invaluable and it means more amazing coffee for everyone.

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