by Molly Gore
Every year, for a few days, members of the coffee industry convene for the most frenetic, inspiring weekend of the year: The SCAA Exposition. The Event draws together producers, baristas, roasters, buyers, journalists, and folks from every arm of the industry—perhaps the broadest cross section of the supply chain you're ever likely to find in one room. This year, we'll be sending our largest delegation yet, and we're all up to some exciting things. Here's a peek.
The Event offers a sprawling menu of opportunity, compiling lectures, seminars, classes, competitions, and cuppings into a few days of serious education and conversation. Courses provide insight on everything from the finer points of brewing technology and the politics of trade to the art and science of grading green coffee. This year, two of our very own, Devorah Freudiger and Alex Littlejohn, will both be teaching on the skill building side, covering the fundamentals and complexities of extracting espresso. As our Director of Training, Devorah is well practiced as a barista instructor, having honed her own skills behind the bar throughout the last decade. Alex Littlejohn is new to the Equator team—working in Specialty Sales down in LA..—and teaches from a long and illustrious career in coffee. Alex also holds a post as a member of the Barista Guild of America's Executive Council. One of our lead baristas, Cat Mungcal, will be in attendance as a student, hoping to test into Level 1 Barista Certification. Together, Alex and Devorah will also be brewing at this year's Symposium—an annual series of talks from a confluence of forward-thinking industry luminaries, sharing their ideas and reports on the state of coffee.
And who could forget the competitions? Baristas from across the nation flock to the most electrifying portion of the SCAA weekend, competing in any of the weekend's roster of championships, including The US Brewers Cup, The US Barista Championship, the US Cup Tasters Championship, and Roasters' Choice. Our own Associate Green Buyer and certified Q Grader, Caitlin McCarthy-Garcia (who also garnered First Place in Roasters Choice last year), will be leading this year's Cup Tasters Championship. The competition adheres to a format of triangulation, wherein tasters are presented with three cups of coffee, two identical and one individual, ten times over. Tasters are scored on how accurately and quickly they can discern the singular different coffee. A subtle, some might say maddening, test.
As a women-owned, Certified B-Corporation, we are proud to have our VP, Maureen McHugh, as a board member of the International Women's Coffee Alliance. Every year, the IWCA hosts a breakfast that, among other things, celebrates one remarkable project. This year, Chido Govera will be giving the keynote speech. You may recognize Chido from the bagged blend we produced in order to help fund her work abroad. Chido holds a special place in our hearts, and we've been inspired over and over by her work empowering women in coffee growing communities to grow mushrooms from coffee waste. See Chido's website (http://www.chidogovera.org/) to find out more about her work and the Future of Hope Foundation.
Also in attendance will be our Bay Area Account Manager, Mike Mierz, our CEO Helen Russell, and Ted Stachura, our Director of Coffee. Get ready Seattle, you're about to get Tiger Bombed.