It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore, SCAA 2015 Specialty Coffee Event


This past few days, we attended the “Event,” which is the Specialty Coffee of America Associations big trade show of the year. Thousands of coffee growers, importers, roasters & of course baristas and coffee aficionados joined together for a few days of great coffee, seminars, classes & coffee tastings. As they say, “Great coffee doesn’t just happen.”


SCAA – Dedicated to Coffee Quality Worldwide

via Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Established in 1982 by a small group of coffee professionals seeking a common forum to discuss issues and set quality standards for the specialty coffee trade, the SCAA is now the world’s largest coffee trade association with nearly 3,000 company members. SCAA members can rightfully be credited for much of the growth and success the specialty coffee industry has experienced over the past twenty-five years.

For more than a quarter of a century, the SCAA has inspired specialty coffee professionals in their quest to learn, grow and collaborate for the betterment of the specialty coffee industry.

We offer our members every opportunity for success through education, training, resources and business services. This focus has enabled the association to grow into the world’s largest coffee trade association, with members representing more than 40 countries and every segment of the specialty coffee industry, from growers to roasters and retailers.

The SCAA has also been at the forefront of developing and promoting specialty coffee and is committed to meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing industry by setting and maintaining standards, expanding our professional certification programs, conducting industry-specific research, and providing even more opportunities to connect, exchange, and work together so our industry continues to thrive.

Even in challenging times, the SCAA remains focused on what we love . . . coffee. It is at the heart of what we do, and the knowledge that it brings great pleasure to millions of people, gives us the incentive to continue to work with our members to improve the livelihood of those involved in coffee around the world.

Together with our members, we will ensure coffee, and the people involved in coffee, may reach its fullest potential.

Downtown Seattle is Growing

SCAA Trade Show – The “Event”

The annual SCAA Trade Show is one of the 50 fastest growing events in the US according to Trade Show Executive magazine. Thousands of attendees, whose interest in coffee ranges from growers, roasters, and baristas to those hawking every type of flavoring or tool for use with coffee unite at this “Big Event.” Also represented were a variety of cocoa, chocolate & tea companies. Countries from around the world & multiple continents were present.

We arrived in beautiful downtown Seattle, and made our way over to the Washington State Convention Center via train, where we registered and began exploring the surprisingly large facility. The weather was warm, and the sky was clear and bright.

Washington State Convention Center

Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremony featured comedy & dancing, and recognition of the many dedicated professionals in the industry. The Trade Minister of Ethiopia made a speech thanking us for the support of SCAA & coffee lovers everywhere. This year Ethiopia is featured here at the trade show. (Authors’ sophisticated palate note on the coffee: Yum!) There were many Ethiopian delegates on hand to share the current state there.

Atrium at the Washington State Convention Center

Networking Parties

There were nightly parties, which are perfect to get to know more of your compadres in the industry. Lots of food, fun conversation, and a lively atmosphere make these informal get togethers the ideal way to wind down after a long day of exploring, learning & meeting new friends. (Warning: can make those early lectures, seem, well…early.)

The Exhibit Hall

The large trade show floor was full of everything that a coffee lover could possibly want. Whether you are a coffee connoisseur, coffee shop owner, or coffee buyer there was something for everyone. All the latest machines for roasting, preparing great coffee & even for removing defects from green coffee were displayed.

Need bags or cups? Exploring new flavored coffees? Want to check out coffee from Peru or India? All there, just waiting for you. Many countries were represented, as well as every kind of vendor related to the coffee industry.

There were many new products & innovations. The show is a fabulous place to keep up on the latest in the coffee industry.

On the Trade Show Floor SCAA 2015

Lots of Vendors and Countries are Represented at SCAA 2015

Italian Aeropress Champion Prepares a Delicious Brew

Turkish Coffee Experts Kafette

Many Coffee Producing Countries Were Represented This Year

Lectures & Classes

The event featured a variety of lectures ranging from improving coffee roasting techniques to the future of coffee (hint – young people are leaving the farms,) and classes designed to improve the skills of coffee buyers, roasters, and tasters. The SCAA event allows an opportunity for professional growth in many areas of the specialty coffee trade.

Lecture at SCAA 2015

World Barista Championships

SCAA sponsors the World Barista Championships which culminate with one Barista earning the coveted title of “World Champion.” The competition if tough, but one skilled winner can take home this prestigious title.


Many thanks need to be given to our sponsors who made this event possible through their support of Specialty Coffee & their generosity in contributing financially and philosophically to the improvement and education in every step of the coffee supply chain. Thanks!

Coffee Plant Tours

There were many opportunities to tour surrounding coffee companies (including Starbucks) to see how coffee is transported, roasted, and packaged for the coffee loving public.


What makes the event run smoothly is the more than 1,000 volunteers who tirelessly toil to make sure all goes well. We had the privilege of being Spanish translators, which was fun & allowed us to meet many new friends and contacts.

On a personal note, it was an honor to be able to represent SCAA at the Event. We made many new friends & truly felt a part of the organization just by offering a few hours of time. It was gratifying to be able to help when needed, but I felt that we received the bigger reward. It was such a benefit, I couldn’t imagine not doing it in the future. Highly recommended!

Volunteers Make SCAA Run Smoothly


Peruvian coffee was well represented this year at SCAA. The PromPeru exhibit was quite large, and featured a barista for everyone to sample the best of Peru. PromPeru is working tirelessly to promote Peruvian exports of not just coffee, but all of the agricultural products that Peru offers. We made some new coffee connections that may lead to some wonderful coffee for this year, stay tuned.

PromPeru Had a Large Presence this Year at SCAA

Around Seattle

Space Needle Seattle, Washington

Space Needle Seattle, Washington


Downtown Seattle offers many delights for the traveler. One can visit the trademark Space Needle (built for the 1962 Worlds Fair,) ride on the monorail, shop in the waterfront Pike Street Public Market (which features literally tons of fresh seafood,) or just hang out in your favorite bookstore. Distant mountains and a tourist friendly atmosphere make for hours of new discoveries & fond memories. A fun town for walking & biking, Seattle is very welcoming to visitors.



Public Market Seattle, WA

Public Market Seattle, WA

Seafood at the Public Market Seattle WA

Seafood at the Public Market Seattle WA

More Seafood in the Public Market


Flowers at the Public Market

Downtown Seattle

Next Year – Atlanta

The 2016 SCAA Event will be held in Atlanta, Georgia. See you there!

©2015 Ben Gangloff

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