Pictured: Coffee cherries handpicked in Guatemala.
BUNN is a buzz this week as employees prepare to head to Seattle and gather with coffee professionals from around the world for the 26th Annual specialty coffee Symposium and Exposition put on by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, or SCAA.
Back in 2011, my first week at BUNN happened to fall during SCAA Expo week. I kept hearing employees saying they were going to “SCAA.” (Insider tip: When referring to the Expo many professionals simply say SCAA.) Being new to the coffee industry I quickly had to learn who the Specialty Coffee Association was, what they did and why all these employees were gathering at the event.
Who is the Specialty Coffee Association of America? The Specialty Coffee Association of America is the “world's largest coffee trade association.” It has over 3,000 company members with representative in every segment of the specialty coffee industry, including growers, roasters, equipment manufacturers (like BUNN) and retailers. This association is focused on you guessed it… specialty coffee. So this made me ask:
What exactly is specialty coffee? According to SCAA, “specialty coffee can consistently exist through the dedication of the people who have made it their life's work to continually make quality their highest priority. This is not the work of only one person in the lifecycle of a coffee bean; specialty can only occur when all of those involved in the coffee value chain work in harmony and maintain a keen focus on standards and excellence from start to finish. This is no easy accomplishment, and yet because of these dedicated professionals, there are numerous specialty coffees available right now, across the globe. “
What does the Specialty Coffee Association of America do? It develops and promotes specialty coffee in a variety of ways including: setting specialty coffee standards, offering professional certification programs, providing industry research, and connecting members.
Why is connecting members at large events like the Expo important? The events allow SCAA members and coffee professionals the opportunity to come together to exchange, learn and work together to advance the industry.
I remember my first experience at SCAA Expo in 2011 I was amazed at the sheer number of people and hours that are involved in producing coffee. As I near my third year at BUNN I still am awe struck. Not only is there a Specialty Coffee Association in America, but other associations around the world exist including: Specialty Coffee Association of Europe(SCAE) and Japan( SCAJ).
Whether you are a coffee enthusiast, or someone who enjoys an occasional cup of specialty coffee remember this: Individuals in every sector of the business care about the beverage in your hand, and there are whole associations dedicated to it!
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