On the third and final day of the Specialty Coffee Association’s Coffee Expo in Boston, we head to the Roasters Village—here are the highlights.
BY ANA MALLOZZI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
The Roasters Village and The Market were popular features of the 2019 Specialty Coffee Expo hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). Focusing mostly on roasters and merchants of café necessities, it felt like a smaller version of the main showroom.
New Harvest Coffee Roasters from Providence, R.I., had one of the most creative booths on the floor, from their cold-brew snow cones to their prize wheel. Guests had to answer a coffee or weather trivia question, and if they got it right, they could spin the wheel for prizes like a free coffee card or a bandana branded with their famous coffee monster.
Another lively booth was Brandywine Coffee Roasters from Wilmington, Del. Besides delicious coffee, Brandywine is known for their unique screen-printed bags, which are done by hand. Throughout the weekend, attendees could practice screen printing their own bag while visiting the Brandywine booth. I was lucky enough to catch Todd Purse, the creative director of Brandywine, when I stopped by. Todd told me about their new Brandywine Upcycle Rewards Program (BURP), where returning bags gets you discounts or other goodies. The returned bags are given to artists, who use them to create other items. Starting June 1, they are also premiering their guest artist bag project, starting with artist Ramin Nazer.
Olam Specialty Coffee, which has an office nearby in Providence, R.I., was featuring coffees roasted by their New England customers.
Another highlight was the Alliance for Coffee Excellence team brewing up Cup of Excellence winners all weekend.
TheStumptown Coffee Roasters crew was in full force, promoting their new Skate Team coffee. Also on display was the new branding of their cold brew line, which will now match their coffee bag design.
The Speckled Ax from Portland, Maine, uses wood fire to heat their vintage roaster. They chose a Congo coffee to brew on opening day, and it was great to see a growing specialty-coffee country represented.
Quality water was also represented at Roasters Village. GC Water was educating attendees about their residential and commercial water filtration systems, and Third Wave Water was passing out samples of their mineral packets, which when added to distilled water help to create the perfect mineral content for coffee brewing.
Amongst the coffee roasters and importers, The Market portion of the hall featured items that home and professional baristas alike would be drawn to. This ranged anywhere from drinkware by Created Co. to durable work aprons made by Hardmill.
Rishi Tea wanted to create an interactive booth showing their versatile product line. They brewed samples of their loose-leaf tea and served up milk-based drinks using their tea concentrate. The highlight was their mixology-inspired signature beverages, which changed daily.
Ritual Chocolate was attending Expo for the second year in a row, giving out samples of their single-origin chocolates and premiering their new line of drinking chocolates. Cofounder Robbie Stout said attending a coffee event like this makes sense for them, since there is so much crossover between the two industries.
A newer industry that is starting to become more present in the coffee world is honey. After extensive research, the National Honey Board has started a focus on specialty coffee, and they were attending Expo for the first time. Using coffee as a sweetener and flavoring component in coffee beverages is a growing trend, especially in the Northeast and West Coast, explained Andrea Schepke, as she handed me different samples of honey.
I had never done a honey tasting before, and it really caught me off guard how extremely distinctive the different varieties were. They even had a coffee blossom honey, which means the bees got their nectar only from coffee flowers. Andrea also explained how mixologists are already using the unique flavors presented in different honey varieties to match with different spirits and cocktails, and hopes in the near future the coffee industry will start to experiment with that concept as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ana Mallozzi has worked in the coffee industry for the past seven years in a variety of roles for roasteries big and small on the East and West coasts. Currently, she does operations for Granny Squibb’s, a local and organic iced tea company based in Providence, R.I.