Every year around this time the Specialty Coffee Association puts on the biggest coffee tradeshow. This year, it was held in Boston and in mid-April a handful of Eight Ounce employees made the trek east to attend the show. In years past, we’ve always had a booth but this year we decided to focus our efforts on meeting with suppliers, connecting with customers, and walking the showroom floor to see new and exciting products. While having a booth provides a great opportunity for people to see our product in person and meeting people who just happen to walk by we thought we would try a different angle this year and see what we thought!
All in all we had a great week! It’s always fun to be able to connect with friends and customers you only see once a year as well as meet people you’re only familiar via email. We spent a bunch of time at some of our partners booths: Huskee Cups, Ratio, Acaia, and KeepCup to name just a few. We really enjoyed the opportunity to support our suppliers in this way as well as giving us an opportunity in meeting with our Canadian customers at these booths! Thanks to our suppliers and friends for partnering with us in this way and giving us the chance to show some love.
It was also great to watch all the incredible baristas compete in the World Barista Championship. The level of talent and dedication was pretty phenomenal and it was so exciting to see our fellow Calgarian, Cole, from Rosso Coffee Roasters take home the very well deserved 3rd place! Congratulations again, Cole - a truly impressive and tight performance. I know we all walked away wowed by the level of education and information that was included. Hats off.
One last highlight worth mentioning was the lecture series that was provided over the course of the week. A really fantastic lineup of a range of coffee professionals speaking on topics ranging from water science to coffee processing, from expectations regarding direct trade to addressing profitability constraints for smallholder coffee producers. A diverse spread of lectures and lecturers. One of the lectures we were able to attend was by Saša Šestić, former World Barista Champion, who spoke on the innovation and development happening in coffee processing and farming and how that has the potential to change what we perceive to be “specialty” coffee. Saša has two of his own farms in both Nicaragua and Honduras and has experimented greatly with different processing methods on coffee that is traditionally viewed as low-scoring and unimpressive. One thing that stuck out specifically was not necessarily the experimentation regarding processing methods but rather Saša’s commitment to the quality of life of the farmers who he employed. The dedication to the value of the livelihood of the farmers, and their families, as well as utilizing their incredible experience and knowledge that they have is of the utmost importance when trying to build the success and sustainability of coffee farms and farmers.