SCA announced on Wednesday, May 23, that there will be no international coffee championships taking place in Dubai in 2018. They will instead host a World of Coffee trade show in 2020, in partnership with the Dubai World Trade Center.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photo courtesy of World Coffee Events
On Wednesday, May 23, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) announced that it will not hold any World Coffee Championships in Dubai in 2018. This decision was made in partnership with the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC), which will launch an annual World of Coffee Dubai Show starting in 2020. This show will run in tandem with the annual World of Coffee show in Europe.
“Hosting a World of Coffee show in Dubai, a common gateway to the Middle East and Africa, represents an exciting opportunity to engage a market that ranges from coffee-producing countries like Kenya and Yemen, to the many Arab cities where coffee serves as a key social drink,” a press release states. Ric Rhinehart, executive director for the SCA, says that the decision to move the competitions from Dubai and still host a world event came from a desire to “align our values with the community and foster the growth of coffee communities in places where coffee is growing.”
Ric acknowledges that it took the work of two ad-hoc committees, the Deferred Candidacy Policy Committee and the Site Selection Committee (which launched a set of criteria to be considered when choosing sites for coffee competitions), along with the work of the larger coffee community—many of them volunteers—to come to this decision. “From the moment we came to grips with this tension, we never stopped brainstorming ways to solve it,” Ric states.
The SCA announced that it would be moving forward with Dubai as the location for a number of World Coffee Championships in November of 2017, then launched the Deferred Candidacy Policy as a means to provide individuals who did not feel comfortable competing in Dubai—or could not attend the host country of any World Coffee Championship—a way to defer their spot to the next year. This response was met with general criticism, and the SCA continued working on solutions. “One of things that we struggled with was being culturally sensitive to emerging coffee communities. There are a lot of different stances—and many of them were new to us. We had to broaden our understanding,” Ric states.
This decision came out of months of deliberation and engagement with the global coffee community. “I think now we’re much better equipped to make decisions in the future. We’ve put systems in place and we have new practices in place—the town hall meetings, the webinars—and we plan on keeping these systems in place,” Ric said. “A lot of reflection is happening, and it’s driving growth in a meaningful way.”