Highlights from the SCAA Conference
Now that the annual Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference is over, we asked some of our staff that attended about the highlights of their weekend in Anaheim, CA. The SCAA conference welcomes thousands of coffee professionals from around the world to learn about, taste, compete with and revel in COFFEE. Here’s a selection of Top 3 Experiences at the 2010 SCAA conference.
Mike Ferguson, Business Development Director
- 1. Watching Jason Dominy pull espresso shots of our Rwandan coffee at the Barista Guild coffee bar and watching people’s surprised and very positive reactions.
- 2. Our own Chandler Rentz’ very professional and smooth performance as a competitor at the United States Barista Championship.
- 3. Leaving 50 hats featuring our new branding in the press room and returning only 4 hours later to find they were all gone, and then seeing people wearing them in the expo hall…even some of our competitors were spotted wearing the Batdorf hat.
Will Frith, Training & Education
- 1. Sensory Judging for the US Barista Championship. At this level, everything tasted great, and I was so impressed with the camaraderie displayed in Specialty Coffee. The people who I’d already heard of had already heard of me, and the couldn’t-wait-to-meet-you vibe was mutual.
- 2. On that note, meeting so many great Specialty Coffee people. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to have these folks as peers and mentors. World Barista Champions and “celebrity baristas” who were just as interested in hearing what I have to say as I was in what they were saying, having so many coffee-centric conversations with such a broad range of folks doing a broad range of things. I was truly inspired and humbled.
- Still on that note, re-meeting the folks I work with and meeting the folks from the Atlanta crew. It’s not every day that we get to hang out and have casual conversations about everything and nothing. These moments showed me what a truly great group of folks I work with, both in shared and remote locations. Our conversations inspired me to always strive for excellence and to never settle for “good-enough.”
- 3. Volunteering for workshops. I can’t stress how important this is for both me and the health of the Specialty Coffee industry. I learned volumes from having to teach to a standardized program and train outside of just what I think is important for students to learn. Seeing students’ improvement through the course of a few hours, recognizing their epiphany moments and being asked very good, assumption-challenging questions from quality-minded folks really forced me to look at my own assumptions and reasons for doing things the way I do. I even got the opportunity to teach a few representatives from a couple of very well-known, large Specialty Coffee companies, which further challenged my assumptions and underscored the importance of events like these.
The theme: inspired and humbled.
Heather Ringwood, Operations Director
- 1. $2.10 tacos the size of your forearm and In and Out burger. Best food all weekend.
- 2. Having Chandler there. It’s all new and exciting through his eyes.
- 3. The Comic Con that was happening at the same time as Expo… the costumes were better than the year of the junior dance squad competition.
Ok, seriously? The folks from B&B represented our company well within our industry – leading the espresso labs, cupping, helping at the competition and networking on the show floor.
Jason Dominy behind the Barista Guild coffee bar.
Jason Dominy, Wholesale Support and Outreach
- 1. Having dinner and spending time with Bob Benck, Marcus Young and Will Frith for the first time. I felt right at home, and challenged at the same time.
- 2. Pulling our Rwanda Buremera on the BGA Cafe espresso machine, and serving so many people I know and respect. And seeing and hearing their reactions sealed the deal.
- 3. Dinner at In-And-Out with Chandler Rentz, Will Frith, Bryan Dyer and my wife, followed up by the incredible BGA Party/Bowling. The majority of my closest friends in one place, bowling, dancing, it was a beautiful night I won’t forget. And playing pool with my hustler partner Sammy Piccolo was the cherry on top.