Coffee producers, exporters, importers, roasters, retailers and coffee enthusiasts from over 40 countries recently gathered for the Specialty Coffee Association Annual Exposition in Anaheim, California.
From April 15 to 18, 2010, over 8000 people roamed the aisles perusing 750 booths showcasing innovative and never-seen-before products. All the big names were present, including Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Diedrich, Green Mountain, & Intelligentsia. It was even rumored that Starbucks visionary and CEO Howard Shultz was roaming the aisles, perhaps looking for the coffee giant’s next inspiration.
Pleasantly surprising was the considerable focus and presence of single-cup coffee applications for Home and Office which is now making a strong push into retail. In the single-cup symposium that took place prior to the show, the presidents of both Green Mountain and Keurig shared their vision, opportunities and concerns around the growing single-cup movement. Keurig, Tassimo and Coffee Pod systems continue to grow in both Offices and Homes; however, new and innovative systems were unveiled at the show with the purpose of providing the single-cup experience for cafes.
Bunnomatic, a 100 year old manufacturer of coffee equipment unveiled its top secret commercial retail single-cup system, the 'Trifecta" (see picture below). The Trifecta not only delivers a great cup of coffee but also a great show as it bubbles, agitates and pulls the perfect temperature water through the fresh coffee ground of your choice.
The high-tech Trifecta was not the only new commercial single-cup brewer on display. The Newco Freshcup, which uses coffee pods and hits the Specialty Coffee Gold Cup standard, was featured in silver and racing red.
I would have to say that the honorable mention goes to this brewer (see picture below). I have no idea what this system is called, but I have to believe that the inspiration comes from someone’s banjo-playing, great-uncle Jed (from the hills) who purveyed dubious alcoholic refreshments (err... rheumatoid medicine) whilst trying to avoid unnecessary entanglements with the local authorities!
Another highlight of the SCAA expo is the talent competing in the Barista Championship. Congratulations to this year’s champion, Michael Phillips of Intelligentsia Coffee, Chicago and second place winner, Chris Baca of Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, California.
Finally, since SCAA is about COFFEE, plantations from around the world entered their crops to be considered for Best of Origin competition. Since Guatemala was this year's portrait country, I will start with their impressive placement. The coffee sample sent by the Puerta Verde plantation scored an impressive 89.625 (less than 1% off our winner this year). In fact, plantations from Honduras, Kenya, Panama and Peru all broke the 89-point barrier. I should mention that the good ol’ US of A also had a respectable ranking of 87.56 with a submission from the Rising Sun plantation of Hawaii.
However, this year’s overall winner was a coffee submitted by the Buenavista Estate located in the San Agustin, Huila region of Colombia. With all of Colombia's coffee problems this past year, it was nice to see them take this prize home.
Whether you are a coffee professional that has not yet reveled in the excitement of a Specialty Coffee Association Expo or a novice that would like to immerse yourself in an industry that never disappoints, I can say with all honesty that it is three days well worth spending.