SCA Expo 2023 and Re;co Recap
There are many festivals and gatherings in the name of coffee throughout the year however, SCA Expo has become the Oscars of Specialty coffee. It is the largest, most well attended and anticipated coffee event of the year. This year took place at PDX Convention Center in Portland, Oregon and it delivered on its promise.
The convention center was vast and the amount and quality of booths was incredible. More participants were investing in quality booths to make an impression and they did. Full scales cafes, podcast booths, a cupping room and a fully operational tattoo parlor hosted body art creation for enthusiastic participants wishing to mark their visit with a permanent reminder.
The Roasters Village had a great combination of quality coffee roasters like Onyx Coffee Lab and Caffé Luxxé mixed in with green importers and producers. The village was dressed better and felt more organized than in years past. The SCA Community Lounge was well done with a full service coffee bar and plenty of seating for taking meetings and putting your dogs up for a rest.
Top schwag on demand were the Miir reusable water cups and the ultra-fancy tote bags at Cafe Imports booth.
Empowerment of producers was a movement that I noticed. There were more producers from a wider variety of countries than have attended in the last few years. Puerto Rico was present at Re;co and throughout the show. Vietnam was represented by at least three booths including Nguyen Coffee Supply with some high quality Robustas as well as Arabica coffees. There has been a movement in better storytelling and a concerted effort to make more direct relationships and take ownership of their own sales.
At Re;co there was a lot of talk and presenting on consumer trends. Millennials like boujee snacks and functional ingredients - we know this already because - how else would Whole Foods exist if it didn't have isles of "healthy" chips and candy that cost as much as a meal? Gen Z have no loyalty to brands or quality but are highly interested in convenience of purchase and delivery as well as sustainability. People drink coffee even in the middle of an economic crisis. Luckily coffee is the affordable luxury that people turn to when soothing their nerves during a recession.
The big winners this year were Robusta, Portland Coffee Roasters and anyone that brought an umbrella.
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