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Reports From the Road
SCAA Seattle 2005, Day 0
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: April 15, 2005
Article rating: 9.3
feedback: (4) comments | read | write

The SCAA is in the undisputed coffee town of America, Seattle, and CoffeeGeek has several people at the show to cover it. We have blog entries all weekend long, with a new blog each day. Today's blog will mainly focus on the WBC Certification process (which happened Wednesday and Thursday) as well as a good focus on ongoing seminars and discussions. We may even have an entry or two from the parties and social events tonight!

Make sure you check back often, as it will be continually updated all day long. And tell us what you would like to have reported on! Leave your suggestion in the comments.

Seminar: Taking Great Photos in the Coffee Business
Posted by Mark Prince, 11:10am Permalink to this blog entry
Click for larger image

Gavin Johnson, Jeff Taylor and Brian Kimmel gave a seminar on this topic, which mainly focused on taking photos at origin, and branching off into technical skills, with some advanced stuff bandied about.

During the Q&A, They got lots of technical questions, and some really advanced stuff was discussed, including backlighting, using a camera's Fstop as well as possible (along with shutter speed), and more. Reading the manual was heavily stressed.

Jeff Taylor mentioned "magic hour" and how National Geographic Magazine has an informal policy in place that they only shoot during that last hour or so the sun is still out, and at the horizon. It's because it makes skin tones look absolutely fantastic, creates muted, soft shadows, and is ideal for any photo situation.

The panel kind of poo-poohed the use of Photoshop, saying the good image should be taken in the camera, and the photographers on the panel were saying they avoid using photoshop as much as possible, instead preferring to create the ideal image at the source - in the camera. I dunno if I would want to say that to a seminar group - many want to go there to get answers, not to hear "just be good enough". But that was only a minor point for me.

Overall, it was a very interesting seminar, and though not a packed room, there were about 25 people in attendance and they seemed to get a lot out of the discussion.

More to come...

The Show Floor - as Chaos!
Posted by Beata Siwinski, 1:00pm Permalink to this blog entry

On Friday, the setting up of the trade show floors is very chaotic and a busy place. You can easily get run over by forklifts, and navigating aisles is a challenge. But as you can see from the pics, a lot of work goes into this shindig called the SCAA Trade Show, and it costs a LOT of money to display. By Saturday at noon, it will all look good!

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The show floor is a busy place on Friday, and it ain't even open to the public!
Coming through!
Getting through even supposedly wide lanes is tough!
The BGA booth is coming along, but no power yet, so no machines working.
Tricked Synesso
Tricked out, customized Synesso at the BGA booth.
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Nick Cho
Nick having "a moment" with the tricked out Synesso.
Zoj Booth
Zojirushi always has a big booth at the show.
Ack boxes!
The entire two trade show floors are like this!
Ambex in da... hall?
There's a hall connecting the two trade show floors, and Ambex has primo space there.
The WBC Preparations.
Posted by Mark Prince, 1:40pm Permalink to this blog entry

WBC Prep is in full swing. I'll have a more detailed article later about the WBC. For now, here's some photos and some brief talk.

I guess the first issue is that out of a room of maybe 70, 80 people taking the sensory skills test, only six in the new group, and about eight or nine in the Trieste group of judges passed the Sensory Skills test. It's a shockingly low number, and some are upset. Word has it that the scoring is different than at the USBC Sensory Skills test, but I'd like to find out more about that before posting an opinion.

Trieste certified judges are the only judges allowed to judge this year's WBC... those of us who certified this week are not allowed... until Berne next year. Even judges who didn't pass the sensory skills can still judge (if they certified, sans sensory skills, last year in Trieste). That means people who passed this year, and also passed the Sensory, are locked out.

Personally not crazy about this kermuffle, but I am happy with one thing. I passed WBC Certification this year, and passed sensory in March, so I'm now officially WBC Certified for 2 years. It's a personal thing I wanted to do, and I've done it. The irony is, I have my doubts I'll be going to Berne to cover it next year, or to judge.

Anyway, here's a few photos today from the Barista meeting, where all the world's champions got together for a detailed briefing.

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Michelle Campbell
The tireless Michelle addressing all the national champions.
The Champs
36 national champions and their trainers listening to the WBC Briefing.
Sammy Piccolo
Sammy, Canada's champ, at the meeting.
Emily Oak
One of the big wigs in the WBC is the very down to earth and fun Emily Oak from Australia.
Seminar: Successful Print Ads through Great Photoshoots
Posted by Mark Prince, 2:00pm Permalink to this blog entry
The Panel

This was a seminar by Connie Blumhardt, Tiffany Howard, and Matthew Wills.

The seminar is about running advertisements that help promote your business, and featured about 30 minutes of slide shows followed by a Q&A session.

Discussion in the seminar showed a lot of techniques that people will find useful for their ads. Tiffany for example was discussing various techniques that people use, by showing examples and explaining how they achieved the photo. One specific:

A nice photo of display teas was shown, and Tiffany talked about how it was actually a montage, because as all the teas were brewed, they would unfold in the cup at different times, which they couldn't capture as  a single cup, so they actually did a seamless montage photo of several different cups, and in photoshop did cutting and pasting to bring into one image that appeared seamless, and shot at one time.

She walked them through a brief process of seeing how the individual photos can come together as a single photo.

They did show some examples of stock photography and promoted it's use. There was some discussion on royalty free and rights limited photos, and they presented a lot of sites to use.

In the Q&A, there were some really good questions, but not many of them. One example: there was discussion about using models vs. no models, and the answer said that in typical trade magazines, most times, models and such are rarely used, but for mainstream articles, they usually are if the situation warrants it.

The La Marzocco GB5 - Da Buzz
Posted by Mark Prince, 4:30pm Permalink to this blog entry

Everyone's a buzzin' about the new La Marzocco GB5 machine. The first ten just rolled off the production line for the first time, and nine of those ten are at the show, used in the World Barista Competition.

I got to fool around with the machine quite a bit, and I also had many shots served off a few of them, when I went through Judges' certification. As such, I've got some initial thoughts on it.

First, the positive: this is one helluva machine. Not only for the user, but for the servicer as well. For the user, we're talking absolute temperature control through a PID. Pressure control. Super fast recovery times thanks to preheaters and ingenius use of the boilers. Beautiful machine to look at. Steam performance is part. And for the servicing of the machine, everything is easy access. Everything is easily laid out. And though it is an automatic, it still retains much of LM's old school philosophy on making a machine bulletproof with backup systems in place.

The bad? Well, the drip tray is not deep, front to back. It's probably 1/3 less deep than the current Lineas and FB70s. I found myself missing that tray space. And the new gizmology inside means you have to relearn a bit on using the machine... it appears to need a bit more bleed time, and if you accidentally run the pump dry (if running off water bottles), you need to do more intensive bleeding of all the groups and wand to get it back up to performance once you change the bottle.

Here's some photos. Enjoy!

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La Marzocco GB5
Nice tight machine. Looks awesome.
Automatic controls, but with some backup tech inside.
Multi Display
This is the heart of controlling the GB5... if you're a power user, you can control everthing on the machine.
Ron Cook
Ron, in white jacket, is the head of La Marzocco. He's showing off the machine to customers.
My Seminar: Photos and the Web.
Posted by Mark Prince, 5:20pm Permalink to this blog entry

Well the seminar Matt Riddle and I had today went off pretty well. Matt spoke first and gave a great presentation. I went afterwards, and think I did okay.

We didn't have many questions after, but did have most of our people stay for the entire discussion, which was good. There was probably 25 people in the room at any one given time.

Here's some PDFs of our slide show, if you're interested.

Matt Riddle's Presentation (1.5mb, pdf file)

Mark Prince's Presentation (0.5mb, pdf file)

Jane Goodall's Keynote Speech
Posted by Mark Prince, 6:45pm Permalink to this blog entry
Click for larger image

Jane Goodall of the Jane Goodall Institute has just completed her keynote speech. It was quite amazing to hear this woman speak, she's had such an impact on the world's understanding of primates and social causes in third world nations.

The discussion didn't touch too much on coffee, but it popped in here and there. At one point, she talked about her "Take Care" program and how in some communities they are helping the villagers to start growing crops, some of them coffee. She mentioned that the Fosse Foundation has their Gorilla Safe coffee branding, and she made a plea to the huge gathering for something similar for the chimpanzees.

Mostly, Goodall discussed her programs and gave many annecdotes about how the social behaviours of chimps are very similar to humans. She stressed a point that one difference really exists: humans can communicate, verbally, in writing, and electronically. And while we could be using this skill to be great stewards for the earth, instead we're using it to be great destroyers. It's so true.

The room was packed. I am bad at estimating numbers, but I would guess there was at least 1000 people.

I have some rather crappy audio from the lecture (hey, it's my cell phone's audio recorder!). Apologies for the quality, but if you'd like to hear Goodall talk, here's a 1.2mb wav file of her. Enjoy!

Article rating: 9.3
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: April 15, 2005
feedback: (4) comments | read | write
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