Before Seattle SCA Expo 2018
Before you do that thing you might do
Read my blab
The Specialty Coffee Expo is Seattle is arguably the hottest place to be this weekend for coffee people. I'm sort of "green" when it comes to this (it's only my second EXPO event) but I do have some thoughts to share. I remember when Weston (our latest co-host) went without me a few years ago. I called him on the trip, and I think he was having the time of his life. He came back and talked about it for weeks. But that's just the thing, fires are easily lit and hard to keep kindled (more on this later).
Consider those who can't go
It's relatively easy for me to go to this year's SCA Expo with a temporarily flexible work schedule, some saved funds for the trip, and things like that. But there are plenty of people who simply can't go to the SCA Expo, hear all the motivating chats, see all the gear, get pumped up like nobody's business about being a part of a people industry. And like that first year I couldn't go with Weston, I feel for these people. I was that person a few years ago. There's a real vibe of missing out if you're sitting in that seat. This post is for you.
Consider what it costs
There are a lot of barriers for people in life so I don't mean to minimize any of them. However, it does seem like cost is a big one. Remember when Scott Rao told his story about the Roaster who was starting up and landed all of her money in Expo instead of building the foundation of her business? I suppose there are also those placing maybe too much hope in the EXPO. My word to those who see cost as a barrier is this,
Don't let NOT attending this SCA Expo get you down.
Now don't get me wrong, I generally support the SCA and the SCA Expo. There is a lot of goodness coming out of and surrounding the event. You can also volunteer for the event and get those benefits. You can get sponsored by brands involved. There are certainly ways to attend if you are on a tight budget. But, to my next point...
Remember the producer
The producer is not the only marginalized person in this industry but the producer is without a doubt one of the most marginalized individuals in this industry. Compare your costs to theirs. Consider conversations like the ones we've had in the past on producer pay, the World Coffee Producer's Forum, and supply chain dynamics (Episode 113). There will certainly be some producers at the Specialty Coffee Expo, but
Really though, remember everyone in the chain
There are plenty of people who cannot make this event. There are plenty of people in the chain and people who want to join the chain. Let's do our best to avoid those quite ways of exclusion.
Can't go to the Specialty Coffee Expo? Try this.
We've interviewed some of the people speaking at both Re:co Symposium and the Specialty Coffee Expo this year. We've highlighted these individuals below in episodes we've had in the past (and some more recent).
What is Specialty Coffee?
Executive Director, Specialty Coffee Association
The Exporter-Producer Relationship
CEO, Caravela Coffee
Kim Elena Ionescu
Chief Sustainability Officer, SCA
Department of Brewology
Water For Coffee
Charles Nick, Third Wave Water
Talyor Minor, Third Wave Water