SCA Expo 2022 took place in Boston this month, bringing hundreds of exhibitors together with the return of the U.S. Coffee Championships.
BY JULIA MALLON
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Julia Mallon
The Specialty Coffee Expo returned to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center earlier this month, April 8-10, with more than 400 exhibiting companies and more than 10,000 attendees. Coffee professionals flooded the South Boston waterfront for three days of caffeine, cuppings, awards, workshops, and the crowning of the 2022 United States Coffee Championships winners at SCA Expo.
Pure excitement and a shared love of coffee poured through the aisles of the main exhibition hall. Attendees and exhibitors alike were thrilled to be back at an in-person expo for the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unfortunately, the virus was also present at the event; on April 15, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)—the organization that produces Expo—sent a letter to attendees from SCA CEO Yannis Apostolopoulos mentioning the rise in COVID-19 cases on the East Coast and the handful of reported positive tests so far from Expo 2022 attendees, and urging people who attended the event to get tested for COVID-19.)
Unique Activities and Booths
Coming down the escalator, attendees got a view of the whole showroom and a glimpse of the activities hall across the immense grid of booths that offered something unique at every corner. The List + Beisler booth had a mini golf course, Savor Brands brought an augmented reality experience, Rwanda Bean had virtual reality, and DaVinci Gourmet had a bathtub full of fruit for their photo booth. Also, NBA superstar and current Barista Magazine cover star Jimmy Butler stopped by Saturday to walk the show floor.
A Global Presence
Exhibitors traveled from all over the world to attend SCA Expo. Bruna Dias of Raíz (Portugal), who joined her family business—which was established in 1830 and is now in its fourth generation—as marketing specialist, was on hand at Expo. So was Tubagus Robby of Indo Coffee (Indonesia), who attended the event for the first time and was impressed by the connections and partnerships that could be made.
SCA Expo 2022 Introduces New Faces and Brands
Proper was one of the many companies that used Expo to launch a product. They served drinks featuring their organic and natural lavender and vanilla syrups. Littorary, which made it to the finals of the Best New Product Awards competition with the Vitri tumbler, introduced their sustainable on-the-go mug to the coffee industry for the first time after launching at the World Tea Expo in March.
Awards Beyond CoffeeChamps
At the center of the SCA Expo 2022 exhibition hall was the display for the Coffee Design Awards and Best New Product Awards. The Coffee Design Awards consisted of Tropicália Coffee winning for spaces, Colectivo Coffee winning for branding, and Roast Runner winning for packaging. Here is the full list of winners for the Best New Product Awards; Barista Magazine Online will have more on both competitions in an article tomorrow.
Sustainability was also a common trend among exhibitors and at Expo in general. The Specialty Coffee Association made sustainability a priority and introduced Go Green Stations, the Reusable Cup Program to reduce paper cup waste, and water refill stations.
The Roaster Village and Awards Show
The activities hall was home to the Roaster Village, more booths, and the U.S. CoffeeChamps competition stages. This year’s awards show was nothing short of entertaining with, of course, new champions, live music performances, and a soup-chugging contest while final scores were being tallied. You can see the full list of U.S. CoffeeChamps winners here.
The 2023 Expo is set to take place in Portland, Ore., April 20-24, followed by the 2024 Expo in Chicago, April 11-14.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julia Mallon (she/her) is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, food, coffee, and business. When she’s not working on stories at local coffee shops, she is planning her future travels both locally and internationally.