My second day of the SCAA Expo began with a lecture titled “Craft Brewing by Hand in a Café Environment.” The session consisted of 4 industry professionals discussing their individual brew-by-the-cup environments and their advice on creating or switching to a similar program. The panel included Kyle Glanville (Intelligentsia & Coffee Common committee member), Jay Caragay (Spro Coffee), John Piquet (Caffe d’Bolla) and Anthony Rue (Volta Coffee). Each panel member shared thoughts supporting the decision to only offer brew-by-the-cup coffee—not that I needed convincing—and discussed the benefits of doing it.
A few memorable quotes from the session:
“The Japanese treat both their food and drinks with great respect.” -John P.
“Define a standard of excellence for your company and stick to it. You will be rewarded.” -John P.
“Empower and trust your staff.” -Anthony R.
“When the customer leaves, we want them to be stoked on their experience.” -Jay C.
“Batch brewing in conjunction with by-the-cup will force by-the-cup to take a back seat. -Kyle G.
“Coffee under $2 should be over—pronto.” -Kyle G.
“You have to be fearless when you go all-in with by-the-cup brewing. -John P.
The second session I attended was about developing a social media strategy for your business. Tara Shenson, New Media Manager of the SCAA, was extremely engaging and delivered a pretty comprehensive talk on new media tools. Though I didn’t learn anything new—Tara warned it was a beginner’s course—I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I had a number of fine coffees this morning at the Counter Culture pop-up café. The sun-dried Sidamo was pulling pretty fantastic as a single origin espresso.
The Bunn Trifecta was in full effecta next to the Brewers Cup stage. I stopped by for a demo and a cup of the Hacienda la Esmeralda that’s being used by the competitors.
I spent the second half of the day watching the remaining USBC semi-finalists compete. My top pick, Sam Purvis from Coava Coffee, sadly didn’t make the final six.
However, the North Central Regional Champ, Ryan Knapp from MadCap Coffee (and owner Trevor Corlett)—who were both favorites of mine—have both advanced to the Finals. Good luck guys!
After the finalists were announced, about 400 attendees headed to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for dinner and some fine Texas beer thanks to the guys at Cuvée Coffee.
Another full day of good coffee and friends at the SCAA Expo has come to an end.
posted by bwj
on 05.01.2011, under Misc.
Today was my first day at the 2011 Specialty Coffee Association of America Expo in Houston. It’s the year’s biggest coffee event and host to the United States Barista Championship and Brewers Cup. There’s coffee pouring from every corner of the convention center, more tote bags than you could ever fill and rows upon rows of syrups, smoothies and tea that seem a bit out of place.
This being my first coffee expo, I quickly learned the best thing about the event wasn’t the free swag or tables of new products—it’s the people. The incredibly passionate people who make up the specialty coffee industry. To be surrounded by people who inspire you and continue to push the limits of what they do in search of ways to be better, is an incredibly energizing feeling—though it could just be the caffeine.
I spent the first part of the morning tasting coffee from around the world at the “Best of Origin” area. There were about 12 coffees to try and I made it through about half of them—the coffee from Ka’u Hawaii surprised me the most, it was quite nice. Next I sat through a lecture about developing a training program for baristas, but found most of it to be pretty basic, common sense stuff.
After the lecture I met up with 2/3 of Handsome Coffee Roasters and hit the showroom floor to do some window shopping and make the rounds. Here are some highlights.
First stop was the La Marzocco booth to try a shot of Ryan Wilbur’s competition espresso, pulled on a Strada.
Checked out a demo of the EsproPress, a microfilter press pot which created a surprisingly clean cup.
Discovered the company responsible for producing some of the nicest coffee packaging on the market, including Intelligentsia, Verve and Social Coffee Co. Now I’ll be prepared when I’m finally hired to design someone’s coffee bags (hint).
Got to see the new Baratza Essato, a weight-based grinding system. Cool, but definitely overkill for a home-brewer. I can see the benefits for a small volume café, but I think it ultimately has limited use.
Had a cup of Square Mile’s Santa Lucia on the new Kalita pour-overs that Nick Cho recently started importing.
A Hario hot-brew iced coffee maker. While it’s pretty clunky looking, it creates a nice cup of coffee. The clear plastic funnel is filled with ice, and a double strength V60 is brewed on top of it—melting the ice and cooling the coffee simultaneously. Unlike cold-brew systems it retains some of the coffee’s brightness that I enjoy, but is often stripped away.
Some new products from Hario. I love the double walled press pot. Beautifully designed, with wood where most companies would use plastic.
A couple of former World Barista Champions (Stephen Morrissey & James Hoffmann) announcing the semi-finalists of the USBC.
The Championship trophies made by Reg Barber. Two more days before we know who they’ll belong too. Congrats to all the semi-finalists and good luck!