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SCAA Portland Wrap Up

by The Klatch Team

This past week the Klatch Team was in Portland for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference … “The Event”. It was a special time with long days highlighted by renewed friendships with Coffee Producers and Farmers. “The Event” kicked off with the Symposium, a two-day pre-conference of industry leaders who came together to solve issues that affect all of us in Specialty Coffee. From understanding the increasingly complex economics of coffee prices to helping develop a more sustainable supply chain to building a stronger customer experience, the Symposium tackled it all.

Following Symposium, it was time for “The Event”.

For Mike, our Roast Master, who buys our green beans and oversees all our wholesale, it was cupping cupping cupping and more cupping. From Ethiopian cuppings under a tent in the Downtown Park (a la Mike’s recent cupping caravan), to a 90+ Geisha cupping in a hotel room, to Hawaiian Coffees in a small loft above a bar which was also host to the Barista Guild Party. Mike also cupped many other coffees from Honduras, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Colombia, Panama and Kenya. Mike found many great coffees that he is re-cupping in our own lab this week to finalize our orders with producers around the world. Speaking of cupping, Mike reports the cupping class where he was a table lead was a blast for cuppers old and new.

For Heather, our Director of Consulting and Training, “The Event” was a lot of work. For those who do not know, Heather is on the Board of Directors for SCAA. Following Symposium and opening night remarks by Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa , Heather was MC for the Barista Guild of America’s TNT (Thursday Night Latte Art Throw down) where our friend Stefano from Greece took down all the Americans in a fun head to head competition. Congrats also to our own Lil P who made the Elite 8. The next day found Heather as MC of the real Championships, this year featured three exciting Barista competitions and we would like to shout out to:
Katie Carguilo: New US Barista Champion
Andy Sprenger: US Brewers Cup Champion
Stephan Bauer: US Tasters Cup Champion
Congrats to all and good luck in Vienna Austria at the World Championships….. Go USA!

But like Mike, Heather also taught many classes including her sold out Latte Art class where new barista learned to make great foam and pour perfect hearts, rosettes and various other designs. For those who want to learn and missed this opportunity, sign up for one of Heather’s future classes. Following “The Event”, while others were heading home and touring Oregon’s wine country, Heather continued her work with follow up board meetings…. The life of a Board Member.

For our retail team headed by Holly and Cindy, “The Event” was more about building relationships, attending seminars and walking the giant convention floor. From breakfast with our friends at Jasal (who bring us our Orange Bourbon and San Juan Bosco) to lunches with the Ortiz family of Las Mercedes fame (who picked up another honor from Rainforest Alliance) to parties and more with Producers and coffee friends from around the world, the days were long but fun. On the show floor, they were able to see the latest and greatest products to bring to our customers. They promise some new exciting retail items so check back frequently. Holly also reports the educational seminars taught by SCAA were full of good info she can share with our staff and customers this coming year.

All in all it was not only a good weekend, but one of the best conferences the SCAA has hosted. Thank you Portland and the SCAA.

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