The 27th Annual Specialty Coffee Event: A Recap

Coffee enthusiasts and experts alike came together for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s 27th annual Specialty Coffee Event, held April 9th-12th at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Always a lively affair, featuring tours, competitions, and exhibits put on by the highest-quality coffee companies in the nation.

Keeping knowledge and growth at the forefront of its focus, the event boasted a number of workshops, exams and lectures geared toward mastering the specifics of the craft, all led by skilled instructors equally as focused on success as the participants. The weekend was not without its accolades, however — the coveted Best New Product and People’s Choice awards were given in a variety of categories, with Torani specialty beverages making a sweep in both awards.

The event serves to illustrate hard work on all fronts of the coffee industry. With a turnout of over 10,000 guests from around the globe, each element of the business was well represented, from distributors to retailers to exporters all in attendance.

The World Barista Championship was a glowing presentation of both the artistry and skill that make up the service element of the market, and tours of both Georgetown manufacturing and the Starbucks Kent Flexible Plant offered a hands-on peek into the collaborative labor that makes for a successful company. The sheer number of exhibitors alone pays tribute to the years of toil poured into making each of these entities (big and small) functional brand names.

However, to say that the event was more work than play would be inaccurate. It was also a collective celebration of the industry itself — participants could choose from block parties, networking mixers, breakfasts, luncheons, and social occasions thrown by the staff of many of the event’s main attractions.

These commemorations offered entertainment not only for those who are involved in the coffee business in some way, but also for those of us who simply have a passion for a good brew and excellent company.

The event also catered to the environmentally conscious mind: from a sustainably sourced breakfast hosted by the Rainforest Alliance to an annual award reserved for a product or team making a positive impact on the earth, the Specialty Coffee Association makes their commitment to green living apparent. Honoring the best of both work and play year to year, this momentous event is sure to be around for another 27 and then some.

Jonah Engler is a finance expert from NYC who also happens to be an avid coffee lover.