have been keeping the airlines in business as tea and coffee shows were held on almost every continent this past February and March.
The Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) held its annual conference in Athens, Greece alongside the local Coffee Biz show in early March. Education about specialty is one of the main tenets of the SCAE’s mission, and the seminars and workshops delivered just that. Broken up into three tracks, an International Track, a Greek Track, and workshops, SCAE’s educational program did service to anyone involved in specialty coffee throughout the chain, from grower to barista.
The National Coffee Association of the USA (NCA) also held their annual convention in early March. One of the many highlights included Nestor Osorio and Shaun Donnelly from the State Department, detailing the many steps it took to lure the USA back into the International Coffee Organization (ICO). Single cup brewers, pod popularity and Starbucks’ revealing research into entering China, were just a few things conference attendees learned about.
The 2nd World’s Wildest Coffee Conference held by the East African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) in Livingstone, Zambia - in early March as well - was highly successful. A couple of major agreements were accomplished at the conference: Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with EAFCA indicating support in provision of high quality trainers for EAFCA members in the coffee value chain and other cooperation in coffee quality improvement. Coffee Organizations Network (CORNET) also signed an MOU with EAFCA, effectively making it possible for the coffee private sector’s participation in the regional coffee research agenda, and the ICO domestic consumption program/campaign was launched with a complete manual on how each African country can go about promoting coffee consumption.
Coffee Fest, held in Chicago at the end of February, yet again brought in record amounts of coffee newcomers interested in opening retail shops.
Take Me 2 Tea held their 4th tea show in Las Vegas, with their brand new show name: World Tea Expo. Organizer George Jage explains that the name change is a reflection of the continued influx of international attendees and exhibitors. The show has evolved admirably and now offers advanced classes for teashop professionals who come to the conference with a fair amount of tea knowledge. One of the education tracks focused on the spa industry. Spa owners are offering treatments with both coffee and tea ingredients and are serving high-end teas. These treatments are attracting the baby boomers and more people are taking advantage of a luxury pampering. Spa owners are looking at loose, herbal and tea blends and some have gone the extra step of establishing their own blend.
I saw a lot of boutique tea packers at this WorldTea Expo. Sounds like an opportunity knocking here.
Editor & Co-Publisher