By Ric Rhinehart
It has been my pleasure for the past five years to draft a brief note welcoming all of you to our annual Event and to dive deeply into the world of specialty coffee. This year it is a special honor to invite you to join our celebration as we present our 25th Annual Event in the historic city of Boston. It promises to be a spectacular Event, with a fantastic show floor in the world class Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, hundreds of hours of excellent educational sessions, and our fifth presentation of the SCAA Symposium, which will be held this year at the venerable Harvard Club. We invite you to join us not only for this milestone event, but also to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the United States Barista Championship, the 25th anniversary of Coffee Kids, and the tenth anniversary of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.
While it is an appropriate time to look back proudly at our achievements as an industry and as an association, it is even more appropriate to harness the tremendous energy and intellect present at this event to work together to overcome issues facing our supply chain, spread the good news on coffee as part of a healthy lifestyle, and find ways to prepare for the future of our industry. We can, and should, use this unique gathering of the coffee family to celebrate, to collaborate, and to advocate for the unique pleasure that coffee brings to the world.
This year you will have a chance to participate in a greener show, with some exciting new projects underway in the realm of sustainability both at The Event and new work around low impact cafés, more efficient brewing equipment, and greater access to our START database. You may also continue to explore new ways to engage consumers, new language for starting the coffee conversation, and new ideas about managing quality.
As always, you will find lots of ways to interact more informally – at our Opening Ceremonies, a wide variety of competitions, and around town at parties, dinners and social events. Boston is a unique city with a tremendous history as one of the centers of the democratic experiment that is the United States, and I hope you can find some time to explore some of what it has to offer.
We are thrilled to be back in Boston after ten years, and on behalf of our Host Sponsor, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and our Portrait Country, El Salvador, along with the Board of Directors and staff of the SCAA, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to The Event. Have a great, productive, and rewarding experience here and let us know your feedback.