The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) holds its annual convention every spring, and Black Coffee Roasting attended this year in Boston, MA. this last week. The SCAA is an amazing opportunity to connect with people from all avenues of the coffee industry… other roasters, importers, equipment producers, cup manufacturers, water filter makers, and on and on and on… rows and rows of displays, thousands of people, all mixed together in one large, open room.
Connected to the convention is also the U.S. Barista Championship in which you can sit down and watch the countries best baristas perform and display their skills. If you are unfamiliar with barista competitions it can appear a little funny at first as competitors are wired with a microphone performing their skill while narrating to a panel of judges that are watching their every move and critiquing the flavors and drinks they create, but it is a rather amazing skill set they all display and even to the casual observer, watching them makes you want to drink better, more interesting coffee.
And that is one of the best things we took from this conference. We were surrounded and inspired by the huge number of people who put their best into their specific segment of the coffee world. We met coffee producers who are at the forefront of growing, working tirelessly to grow the best coffees in the world, who are looking to meet roasters who will give the same attention to detail that they do in their task. We met with importers who have numerous connections around the growing regions of the world, traveling year round in pursuit of the best. Machine manufacturers who put their minds to task of creating and producing machines that perform the amazing task of extracting the desired flavors from coffee beans. We met with amazing and inspiring people from around the world, people who take what they do seriously and who are in constant pursuit of doing what they do the best. Being surrounded by so many people that are moving forward only helps us maintain our momentum in finding better coffees, getting better at roasting and extracting them, and sharing them with the people we know.