Recap: SCAE’s World of Coffee 2013 in Nice

07.09

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Last week I returned home from attending the annual Specialty Coffee Association of Europe’s World of Coffee event in Nice, France. The 3-day event was host to more than 100 exhibitors as well as the World Latte Art Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship and the first ever World Coffee Roasting Championship.

The event itself felt a bit small following so shortly after the World Barista Championships in Melbourne, with several notable companies absent. This however didn’t take away from the great weather, the great people and of course the great coffee.

Below is a recap of my favorite parts of this year’s event.

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One of only a few new products that were announced at the event was the Moccamaster Cup-one. It’s a miniature version of the company’s popular home auto-drip machine that brews a single 300ml cup of coffee. It’s an interesting approach to what seems like a small market, unless their goal is to compete directly with one-cup capsule machines, which is growing dramatically. There’s no price yet for the Cup-one and it’s expected to begin shipping in Europe this October (no date yet for the US).

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Robert Thoresen, founder of Kaffa in Oslo and the first World Barista Champion, is working with a Japanese company that specializes in industrial filters to help them develop a dual layer metal filter for coffee brewing that hopes to replicate rather than differentiate from the taste of paper filters.

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There were cuppings all day long focusing on many different things. Some featured new offerings from coffee buyers while other’s were more experimental—focusing on tests with nitrogen flushed coffee or different processing techniques. You could easily fill most of your day cupping really fantastic coffees.

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Hario had their new syphons on display, including the fancy new Sommelier. They were also showing off metal V60 cones and the new Largo tea brewer, which may soon be available with a coffee filter—think “glass Clever brewer.”

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Marco’s plus-shaped brew bar was back after last year’s debut in Vienna, featuring the coffee of 16 roasters from around the world using various brew methods.

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Last year’s second place World Championship Barista from Mexico, Fabrizio Ramirez was giving one-on-one trainings on Dalla Corte’s new Evo2 espresso machines throughout the event, while several espresso machine manufacturers were serving up espresso and offering hands-on demos of their latest equipment—which included a disturbingly high number of touchscreen controlled machines.

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There was also a lovely exhibit of Unic’s history of espresso machines. The French company who is based in Nice was also giving daily tours of their nearby factory—which I regret not being able to attend.

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There was vintage type on Probats, red shoes on Stephen Leighton, Norwegian faces on Norwegians, porcelain cups on walls and the chance to freebase vaporized coffee.

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Meanwhile, Tamper Tantrum kept the conversations interesting with lectures …

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… men in coffee banter …

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… and women in coffee banter …

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… and former World Barista Champions flipping the bird.

All of this took place while some of the world’s best coffee professionals competed for the title of “World Champion” in latte art, cup tasting, coffee cocktails and coffee roasting. You can read more about the winners of each competition on Sprudge.

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and of course there were the parties. Until next year, see you in Rimini!

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posted by on 07.09.2013, under Misc., Products

Recap: World of Coffee 2012 in Vienna

06.19

For three days last week, while the world’s best baristas were competing, some of the world’s best coffee equipment and sourcing companies had also gathered to showcase what they have to offer. The World of Coffee event, organized by the SCAE, took place in the shimmering Messe Wien convention center in downtown Vienna.

These events can quickly lead to sensory overload, from all the free coffee, conversations and shiny things to touch. So these are only highlights that captured my attention.

La Marzocco got my vote for the best designed booth. From the use of Jon Contino’s black and white illustrations to the wood paneled GS3 centerpiece. I was surrounded by visual awesome while waiting for Michael Phillips and other high caliber baristas to pull shots of rotating espresso on the candy colored Strada.

If you wanted to get a feel for the equipment yourself, you could pull your own shots at the Strada station or wait in line for a glimpse of the hybrid Linea—the Strinea?

If you weren’t in the mood for espresso, Marco built an epic brew bar staffed by an international roster of baristas brewing a rotating selection of the world’s finest coffee. The cross shaped Marco bar was outfitted with Über boilers, Über hoses, and Vario-W grinders, as well as ample space for brewing demos and experimentation with guests.

There was a second brew bar at Marco’s main booth nearby, where you could hang out with Koppi’s Anne & Charles who were working alongside Charles Babinski to brew even more delicious filter coffee and serve it with a smile.

If espresso or filter coffee weren’t what you were looking for, Nordic Approach (Tim Wendelboe & Morten Wennersgaard’s coffee sourcing company) were hosting very popular cuppings every few hours throughout the week.

Both the Ethiopian and Kenyan cuppings were too full to get a spoon, but I showed up for a Honduras and Guatemala cupping that had several delights on the table.

Several pour over companies had a presence at the event as well. For the first time, I encountered more Kalita waves than Hario V60s being used at various booths. Kalita also had a stand of their own, showcasing their lovely selection of brewing kettles and glassware that continue to grow as a popular alternative to Hario.

Hario was also present with the new products they showed off in Portland, including their new timer/scale, smaller and electric Buono kettles, syphon concept and double walled glassware. Even with all the new competition, I think Hario make some of the best looking glass products you can buy—all brewing preferences aside.

Swedish-based Espresso Gear was also showing off a variety of Tiamo gear which is one of the newer brands to appear in the growing pour over scene. Tiamo is priced at the lower end of the cost spectrum, but offers several unique designs—as well as some questionably blatant knock-offs of their competitors products.

After an overload of pour over cones and pouring kettles, I wandered back to the espresso side of the showroom to get a better look at the French-made Unic espresso machines and learn about their new Viper pressure profiling system on the Stella di Caffé.

The machine offers a unique design, more akin to an 80′s arcade than the sexy lines of a La Marzocco or the grown-up aesthetic of a Nouva Simonelli. A touchpad interface and glowing light bar, combined with manual hot-rod levers add to its MechWarrior vibe.

The pressure profiling system is computer programmable (with a manual option), making the profiles consistent and repeatable. It also has a unique hydraulic assist in the grouphead, making it surprisingly easy to lock in the portafilter.

I’d be interested to hear feedback from any baristas with more experience who have worked with the Viper System. While I’m not a huge fan of the machines overall look, I was definitely impressed by some of its details and features.

I was also pleased to meet Julie Smith-Clementi, one of the owners of notNuetral—who makes specialty coffee’s iconic ceramic cups that were developed in partnership with Intelligentsia. Their booth had a spread of various cup sizes and graphic samples, including these from NYC’s Doughnut Plant (a personal favorite).

Julie also gave me an exclusive peek at a prototype of their next product in development—a thinner, more refined version of their popular Lino espresso and cappuccino cups. I look forward to sharing the final product once they’re complete.

With soo much to see at these events, it’s impossible to capture it all while also trying to watch as much of the barista competitions as possible. Overall, this was another great show that’s a bit more intimate and manageable than others I’ve been to in the past. But with so many great people gathered in one place, it’s impossible to not enjoy yourself.

posted by on 06.19.2012, under Misc., Products

2012 World Barista Champion – Raul Rodas!

06.17

This week, 54 of the world’s best baristas shared their talent, knowledge and passion for coffee as they competed to be named the best in the world. After 3 rounds of inspiring presentations, an overflowing stadium in Vienna watched as Raul Rodas from Guatemala was crowned the 13th World Barista Champion.

Raul is now the second champion from a coffee producing country to have won the title, following last year’s winner Alejandro Mendez from El Salvador. The second place winner, Fabrizio Ramirez of Mexico, reinforced the message that coffee growing countries are able to produce world class baristas as well as the beans themselves.

As Alejandro announced the top two competitors, he switched to their native Spanish to share the proud moment with everyone in their home countries. Both competitors embraced as the stadium erupted in applause. After being handed a trophy and Guatemalan flag, we all stood in honor of Raul while his national anthem rang overhead.

Raul competed with a natural processed coffee from Guatemala and presented one of the most complex signature drinks in the competition, which involved having the judges taste 2 different drinks and then swapping them to fulfill rule requirements. (Visit Sprudge for the details of Raul’s signature drink)

It was incredible to experience the energy of the competition first hand and watch the best in the industry present their love of coffee at the highest levels. By the end of the finals, it was hard to guess who would win. But having had the pleasure of watching Raul work at two Coffee Common events, I’m excited and confident that he will represent coffee as well as anyone could over the next year and beyond.

Congratulations to Raul Rodas, the new World Barista Champion!

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World Barista Champion: Raul Rodas, Guatemala
2nd: Fabrizio Sención Ramírez, Mexico
3rd: Colin Harmon, Ireland
4th: Miki Suzuki, Japan
5th: Stefanos Domatiotis, Greece
6th: Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, United Kingdom

Watch all the final presentations on the WCE Livestream

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posted by on 06.17.2012, under Misc.