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SCAA 2008 Minneapolis Day 2
Author: CoffeeGeek Team
Posted: May 4, 2008
Article rating: 8.0
feedback: (2) comments | read | write

Our coverage from the 2008 SCAA show continues, with wanderings around the show floor, lots of news on where the SCAA is going (and where it's been), and hopefully a few innovations here and there.

We regret to note that there will be not as much USBC coverage for the rest of these articles as we'd hoped for. Sucks, but if you need your fix, there's other sites about that are doing a great job covering the extravaganza!

CoffeeKids Reception and Party
Posted by Mark Prince, 5:30am Permalink to this blog entry

I was extremely honoured to have been invited to the CoffeeKids 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Reception last night, especially since this was also Bill Fishbein's retirement party.

Fishbein, as you may know, founded CoffeeKids back in 1988 in a widely known story about business failures (his own), followed by a business rebirth (Coffee Exchange) and the eye opening moments he had when visiting origin for the first time. Since then, he's dedicated his life to making the organization grow and prosper, and now he's stepping down as the extremely capable Carolyn Fairman takes over the reigns as Executive Director.

The evening was full of speeches, videos, and seriously good times. Fairman handled the introductory speech and it was so heartfelt about the organization and the man she's taking over from, she was choked up, and I have to admit, so was I from the bleachers. Fishbein then got up to a standing ovation, and spent the next 45 minutes talking about his start, the start of CoffeeKids, some highlight moments, and an awful lot of shared gratitude with others who have made the organization what it is today. It ended with another standing ovation, and then we had a chance to eat while the CoffeeKids movie played (find it on their website).

The evening wrapped up with further speeches by Rob Stephens (CoffeeKids' Board President), Rick Peyser, and some of CoffeeKids' top donors, including a fellow from Kerry Food Group, which donates about $125,000-$150,000 a year and is their highest donor. I didn't catch the fellow's name, but he put out a challenge to other companies (cough cough Starbucks) to up their donation game and get just as serious as "an Irish company doing things from across the sea" with regards to supporting CoffeeKids. I couldn't agree more.

Here's some photos from the event.

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Bill Fishbein
Bill listens attentively as one of the Producer Nation Partners speaks about CoffeeKids' impact in Guatemala.
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The Crowd
This was taken late in the evening - earlier on, the place was even more packed.
Bill Fishbein
Posted by Mark Prince, 10:50am Permalink to this blog entry

Sheldon Ferguson, who is the SCAA's official photographer (and who is available for professional photography work!), took this great photo of Bill Fishbein at the dinner ceremony last night.

Bill Fishbein

Bill Fishbein's officially retired now from his role as ED for CoffeeKids. Bill, your work has been life-changing for many people. You will be missed in the CoffeeKids spectrum, but we're looking forward to your next ventures!

Day 2 - Familiar faces
Posted by Beata Siwinski, 10:55am Permalink to this blog entry

Day 2 of the show - so much to see, so much to do! I continue on my path of consumer exploring a trade show. It helps me not having to stop by those huge Diedrich roasters which look quite scary to me.

First I go back to the Whole Latte Love booth hoping I will get to say hello to Gary Salzman before the floor gets too busy, and there he is, talking to Mark about their new line of organic & fair trade coffees in the biodegradable bags (that suits this year's 'Environmentally Friendly' theme at the show)  and also that interesting looking Handpresso. I wonder how handy this device would be camping and how cool it would be use a fresh glacier water for the morning espresso-fix! Gary shows me also their new line of organic flavor syrups and I get to take home a bottle of organic caramel to try out.  As well I get a bag of the signature medium roast espresso beans, which is a blend of central American and African coffees. That will actually be the only coffee I will be bringing home with me from Minneapolis!

As the booth starts filling up with folks wanting to watch Handpresso demonstration, I go to say hi to Instaurator who is having a book signing in the hallway. I'm so lucky to have a copy of The Espresso Quest (well it was actually given to Mark), as the photography looks awesome and I can't wait to read it once I get back home. We actually met up with Instaurator last year when he flew in to Vancouver to do some photography for the book.

I pass by the very busy La Marzocco booth, where I just learn that anyone on the floor is welcome to pull some shots on any on the machines. As I see some people that might recognize me, I politely decline an offer to try out my closet barista skills. As I admire the sharp skills of the baristas I see Kent Bakke who's working the crowd amidst the noise of grinders and smell of espresso. Somehow I suspect that it's not too hard selling La Marzocco products.

SCAA New Products Display
Whole Latte Love display
At the Handpresso demonstration
Instaurator at book signing
La Marzocco both
LM Grinder
Kent Bakke
Quick discussion with George Howell
Posted by Mark Prince, 12:25pm Permalink to this blog entry
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George Howell
Howell with some crazy fanboy on his left.

I stopped by a Meet the Authors event where I picked up a copy of Olaf Hammerburg's book, Coffee Trails, and George Howell was at the booth. Howell has an entry in the book, and we talked a bit about that, but I noticed he has a new mantra he's saying this year: Blends hide the farmer. He must have repeated that about five times.

As you probably know, George Howell is considered one of the "fathers" of specialty coffee (and he still looks so young!) and a driving force in so many good things that not only help identify spread the knowledge of great coffees, but also the entire seed-to-cup story. He's especially passionate about telling the farmer stories.

I asked him about his progress in this regard, especially noting his commentary in Hammelburg's book. "We're making good strides in specialty coffee just recently about identifying the farmer more" Howell said. "take this book, and it's entire seed to cup story - it's just fascinating for the (consumer) to read and discover. We're identifying the farmer and his individual work more, and really focusing on the single coffees."

Howell's never been a fan of blends and he stressed the point many times over with me that blends hide the farmer - they homogenize coffee for the consumer, along with certain roast profiles, he said, and he's happy to see more and more trends away from these things - a celebration of the single origin coffees, and more roasting for the coffee, and not roasting to a roast-directed taste profile.

UCC Booth - that $20,000 Halogen thingie
Posted by Mark Prince, 1:15pm Permalink to this blog entry

I was able to stop by the the Ueshima Coffee Company (UCC) booth, a company I first wrote about in the Day Two Report from SCAA 2003 Boston. Back then, no one over here had heard of these guys, and I found the halogen vacpot station absolutely intriguing. I guess no one else did at the time because the Boston show was a bust for them, with no sales generated.

What a difference a NY Times Article can make, I guess. It was enough to convince UCC to come back (though I think they'd planned it before the article), and also make a lot of people interested in this booth this time around.

Much of what I wrote in 2003 is the same this time around - a very cool (actually hot) heating system for high volume siphon coffee making is on display. It's a light show, fairly efficient, and even more expensive. Three burner units are $6,000, six burner units are $10,000, and a minimum $15K order. The $20,000 that the NY Times reported isn't accurate. I talked to James from Blue Bottle after that article was published, and the $20K number was in reference to the entire setup - fixtures, counters, the halogen system, the works.

UCC also brought their commercial cold drip coffee maker, which would probably do exceptionally well in some US-based cafes, what with the popularity of iced coffee. It's a slow dripper, but a double setup (it brews two huge pots per unit), and if run continuously, should produce about 10 litres or more a day.

I spoke to the booth owner, and he said this time around, the show was very good for them - many leads already in the book, and they hoped for more.

Siphon coffee makers - the new Clover for a lot of these third wave people. ;)

Here's some photos Beata took. I'll have some more later on.

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Vac Pots and Cold Drippers
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Siphon coffee
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Light Show
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He seems to like it
Coffee Countries
Posted by Mark Prince, 1:40pm Permalink to this blog entry

We're snapping various photos of the country booths, or in some cases, "pavillions" at the show. Pretty much every major and minor coffee producing nation is represented here. Here's just a sampling of some of the booths.

By far and away the largest again this year (as it has been for a few years now) is the Fair Trade / Transfair booth. I'm guessing a lot of $0.10 per bag sticker fees help pay for this. There must be lots of dimes - Fair Trade has now become the "budget" coffee for multi-million pounds per quarter coffee roasters, what with the current C-Market price.

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Colombia's Booth
Colombia's Juan Valdez booth was decent sized, but I snapped this sign way up above - it could be spotted all over the convention floor.
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Cafe de Puerto Rico
Very small booth by comparison to some.
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Honduras' Booth
Lots of action, and little private rooms for, private deals?
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Biggest booth of the show, bar none. Lots of action. Fair Trade is the new "gourmet".
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Transfair Booth
Mucho dineros being discussed.
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Guatemala Booth
Another fair sized booth.
Espresso Parts Source
Posted by Mark Prince, 2:00pm Permalink to this blog entry

My old friend Michael Teahan, a person I've had a bunch of healthy arguments with over the years on espresso methodology and practice, was a friendly face at the show again this year. I really respect Michael and his position in espresso, as well as his knowledge - I only wish he would post more - but this year, I was so enthralled with something else when I saw him, I didn't get into another debate. Instead, I focused on his booth: Michael's part of Espresso Parts Source and they had a booth again this year at SCAA.

I was particularly impressed with their new catalog they did this year. Not only is it full of detailed, visual colour photography of a gazillion espresso parts, but they also include schematics of many machines, and the best part for me - translations of much of the writing on major (and minor) parts, like vibe pumps, Gicar controllers and the like. The translations have a tiny bit of fun-snarky attitude too, I actually laughed reading a few of them.

A really invaluable resource. And it's free! Just email them for a copy!

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Miscela d'Oro, Coffee Art Exhibition
Posted by Beata Siwinski, 2:30pm Permalink to this blog entry

The big oversize posters of original coffee art in the corner of the exhibition hall caught my eye yesterday, but I didn�t get to check it out until today.

I was surprised to see what seemed to be an art gallery amongst everything coffee related. The art was brought to the SCAA show by Umberto Urbano and his company, Miscela d'Oro. Urbano is a third generation coffee roaster; his grandfather started the business in 1946 in town of Messina in the beautiful island of Sicily. Over the years, it grew into a successful coffee operation supplying stores and cafes throughout Italy.

Nowadays Urbano follows into his grandfather footsteps and is meticulous in sourcing the green beans, creating blends and carefully roasting them to what they believe is perfection. I spoke to him and he was telling me about how he actually listens to each batch of roasting coffee to ensure that is roasted exactly to his liking. He also explained that they use the 'prima di miscelare' technique - which is apparently rare for Italy - it's the technique of blending green beans first, and then roasting them.

The coffee profile is different from the northern Italian style for roasting; the espresso has a more full body and richer crema, according to Urbano. I was bit embarrassed that I was not very familiar with the different styles coffee in Italy, but Kimberly Fox, the Media Representative for Miscela d'Oro explained to me, the coffee in Italy can be compared to different profiles of wine in France, with each region being very distinctive.

It turns out that Fox is an active reader and member of CoffeeGeek and was very familiar with the articles published on the website - and in particular, she enjoyed the debate over the Italian coffees vs. North American coffees that we featured last year.

I tried a shot of the Grand'Aroma espresso blend and had to agree with Fox - it was quite different from Northern Italian style roasts! It tasted of rich caramel with very slight floral notes and an amazing after taste. Nowadays the coffee is distributed mainly in New York but the company hopes to expand and let the North American market taste the Sicilian coffee.

Now back to the art - which I couldn't get enough of. When Urbano was trying to create a new image for the company he succeeded in getting internationally renowned artist/photographer Oliviero Toscani in creating  'Faces and Flowers' collection of art, used ground and whole beans along with pods to create artsy images.

Here's a series of images from their art show.

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Umberto Urbano
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Art Exhibition - Faces and Flowers
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Art Exhibition - Flowers
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More amazing art
Coffee Kids
Posted by Beata Siwinski, 2:55pm Permalink to this blog entry

Saturday night I was honored to be at the special dinner honoring the retirement of Bill Fishbein. I think the best part of the evening was listening to Bill's speech, which for me was the next best thing beside knowing him in person. Well it's not that surprising how far this organization has gotten having a founder with a huge warm heart and a personality akin to sunshine!

I decided to visit the Coffee Kids booth on the Exhibition floor the next day, and had to make two attempts, as the first time the booth was too crowded. That was of course a good thing! I was told that each year there is a wonderful response to Coffee Kids click here and of course this year marks 20 years for them of helping coffee-farming families improve their quality of life. With Carolyn Fairman taking over as the new director, Coffee Kids can expect many more exciting years ahead of them.

Crowded booth on Sunday
Bill Fishbein with his assistants
Your Finalists for the USBC
Posted by Mark Prince, 4:55pm Permalink to this blog entry

Drew Catlin, Ritual Coffee Roasters
Chris Baca, Ritual Coffee Roasters
Nick Griffith, Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters
Heather Perry, Coffee Klatch
Kyle Glanville, Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters LA
Pete Licata, PTs Coffee Roasters

I hope I have all of these right, courtesy of Vince Piccolo.

Pasquini Espresso Machines
Posted by Mark Prince, 6:10pm Permalink to this blog entry
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Please forgive me if I have a bit of a memory lane moment.

Ahhh, Pasquini.... my first "super serious" espresso machine, circa 2000. You made beautiful espresso for me... you opened my eyes to how good espresso could be.... why did I sell you??! Why!?

Oh, I remember. I needed the dough.

I can't believe it's taken me almost eight years to meet Guy Pasquini, the owner of LA-based Pasquini, a machine importer, and designer / manufacturer. I bought a Pasquini Livia 90 back in 2000, when there were very few heat exchanger machines available on the market for consumers; it changed the path of my espresso pursuits.

Pasquini is a unique beast (both him and his machines). He was an importer of machines (La Cimbali, I believe), and one day, his mother, of all people, talked to him about home espresso machines. Florence Pasquini wanted a good machine for the home, so Guy researched a few and made some suggestions.

"No, Guy, I want a machine that can steam and brew at the same time!" she said. Guy looked around, and there weren't any machines readily available that ran on 110V and did what Momma wanted.

"So I went to Olympia with a set of specifications and, after a lot of dealing and talk, had my machine" Pasquini told me. That machine was the Livietta, which he brought to the US in the late 1970s (it was featured in a NY Times article about "high end espresso machines" in 1979). The market didn't even exist, but Pasquini slowly built it up.

In 1990, after running for over 10 years with the Swiss-made machine, Guy approached Bezerra to build his next generation model, the machine that would become the Livia 90 (and one that is still for sale to this day). There were many challenges with this machine too, including Bezzera's recent (last five years) forray into "prosumer" machines, selling a machine that's essentially identical to the Livia90, but with a plastic body for hundreds less.

All through that time, Guy Pasquini was a true pioneer in the world of consumer espresso. He is most likely the first person to bring a heat exchanger machine to the North American market. His Livia 90 model is the second longest-running heat exchanger machine still available today (honours for this spot go to Elektra's Micro Casa Semi Automatica, first available in 1983). One big difference is that the Livia 90 is Pasquini's "spec" - he came up with the design and parameters for the machine, and Bezerra built it. Without Pasquini's intent to meet his mother's wants and desires for an espresso machine in the kitchen, the entire prosumer landscape might be radically different today.

More recently, Pasquini has resurrected the "Livietta" line and name with a new range of just-under $1000 machines that feature dual thermoblocks to get the job done, and as he described it, "we went with an on-demand, actuated aluminum thermoblock system that is completely dry between uses and uses less power". Pasquini said that the brew on demand system has "no compromises whatsoever for the normal espresso loving consumer" but at a decent price - especially with how high the Euro is going these days.

Books Books Books!
Posted by Mark Prince, 8:00pm Permalink to this blog entry

Tell you what, this year was a banner year for new and interesting books at the SCAA.

They organized a "meet the authors" all weekend event, with almost a dozen books represented. I met some authors I haven't met before, and some old friends, and got some great reading for this summer.

Starting off the batch is the book by my good friend in the coffee biz, Instaurator. The Espresso Quest (which was going to be called God in My Espresso Cup until he found out about the God in My Cup book by Michaele Weissman) is filled with absolutely beautiful photographs and some very inspired discussion about espresso and where it's bean, where it is, and where it's going from an Australian viewpoint. Inny kindly signed my copy.

I also met Dean Cycon (mentioned in a previous post) who has his Javatrekker book out - he also signed my copy with an awesome message. The entire book's message is awesome - a journey through the highs and lows of fair trade coffee. Look for a review this summer.

There's the Birth of Coffee book, and I very unfortunately failed to meet the author - but the book looks awesome - photograph heavy, very intense.

And one I'm very excited to see - Olaf Hammelburg's Connecting Worlds: The Coffee Trail, which is a total seed-to-cup photo and written story about Peruvian coffee. George Howell is in the book as well, and both he and Olaf signed my copy.

I don't have two books, Scott Rao's The Professional Barista's Handbook and the aforementioned Weissman book in the picture because a) I bought a bunch of copies of Scott's book beforehand, and b) Weissman's PR firm is sending me a review copy. But they are included here in spirit!

All these books seem like great reads ready to happen.

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Bounty of Books
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Attending this trade show meant you could get personally signed copies of these books.
Article rating: 8.0
Author: CoffeeGeek Team
Posted: May 4, 2008
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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