Specialty Coffee Associations of America and Europe Announce World Coffee Event Joint Venture

Long Beach, California & London (October 5, 2010) “ The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) announce the formation of World Coffee Events (WCE), a nonprofit joint venture that will develop and manage competitive events on behalf of both organizations.

œThe WCE organization will build upon the close partnership established between the SCAA and SCAE from our collaboration operating highly successful competitions like the World Barista Championship, World Cup Tasters’ Championship and others,  commented SCAA Executive Director Ric Rhinehart.

In addition to the World Barista Championship and World Cup Tasters’ Championship, the WCE organization will operate the annual World Latte Art Championship, Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, World Cevze / Ibrik Championship and new competitions currently under development. In 2011 alone, WCE branded events will be held in more than 50 countries with the support of thousands of dedicated volunteers in front of a vast audience of live and Internet viewers.

œCoffee is one of the few products with the potential of connecting on a personal level with hundreds of millions of producers and consumers in practically every corner of the globe,  observed SCAE Executive Director Mick Wheeler. œThe move to create a combined global coffee event organization is the direct result of strong demand for competitive events that are exciting, inspiring and promote excellence in our craft. 

The 11th annual World Barista Championship will be held June 2-5, 2011 in Bogota, Colombia. The next World Latte Art, Coffee in Good Spirits, Cup Tasters’, and Cevze/Ibrik Championships will be held June 22-24, 2011 in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

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  1. Awwww Frank – that’s cute.

    Nice of you to chime in with the “let’s divert the attention away from the issue” response with a personal insult towards me.

    However, the fact remains that the SCAA/WBC has been remiss in providing any sort of recompense towards the volunteers that they depend upon to operate and survive.

    We’re talking about tens and hundreds of people who take time off from work, travel, house and feed themselves – all on their own dime, because they want to help out and support the event. This costs real money and impacts their work life, home life and opportunity to spend time with their families. For those people involved from smaller companies, it impacts their companies and their livelihoods even greater.

    For example, a person interesting in judging must travel to the city on their own dollar. They must also attend a judges training class that is held a day or two ahead of the competition. This means the volunteer judge must be there for the training – meaning additional time away from work and, since the judge is paying for their own hotel rooms and meals, that amount compounds as well.

    For a volunteer judge, that two day competition can easily eat up five days, including judges training and travel days. That’s an entire work week – or $807 in base salary (to the person making $42K/yr.), or $480 (to the barista making $10/hr) in lost wages. Add $600 ($150/night) for the hotel, another $40 per day in meals and a budget of $300 for travel (drive or airfare), and the cost to that volunteer easily can push upwards of $2,000.

    And that’s not calculating the opportunity lost being away from family.

    When being invited to judge in a non-US or WBC competition, the host of the competition usually covers the travel, lodging, meals and logistics. The judges are typically not offered a stipend but most everything else is covered. It is a nice and generous gesture that is extremely helpful for the volunteers and it provides quality judges for the event – a win all the way around.

    Under the SCAA/WBC model, the volunteers are given nothing other than a certificate of participation – which is nice the first couple of times, but after a while, some form of recompensation would be appreciated.

    Currently, the SCAA/WBC relies upon the “prestige” of judging their events to lure volunteer judges. In turn, the organizations typically choose expensive cities to hold their events, causing the expenditures of their volunteers to increase dramatically (the fifteen dollar beers in Copenhagen were the rule and not the exception). Under this model, the organization acts as a bloodsucker continually draining the enthusiasm of its volunteers until they decide that it’s no longer worth the effort and direct their energies elsewhere.

    Quite clearly, this model is unsustainable and will result in a lack of experienced quality judges over the long term.

    The bottom line is that this model ignores the bottom line for its volunteers. No person can travel ad infinitum without exhausting the resources available to them. Something must be given in return that’s more than a simple paper that says “Certificate of Participation.”

    The SCAA/WBC needs to start assisting with the expenses of their volunteer judges. Providing a “Thank You Dinner” for their volunteers is just the basics of courtesy and respect. A show of thanks and gratitude would be something new for the SCAA/WBC towards their volunteers.

  2. Yes, Jay. We’ve seen you. Someone’s quite obviously taking very nice care of you with dinners.

  3. “WCE branded events will be held in more than 50 countries with the support of thousands of dedicated volunteers”

    Thousands of dedicated volunteers?

    Gee, isn’t it about time that the SCAA/SCAE/WBC, err WCE, start compensating their judges and “volunteers”???

    It is an absolute disgrace to the competitions and an affront to the “volunteers” and competitors that the USBC/WBC/SCAA/SCAE/WCE absolutely REFUSE to give anything back to those people who make it happen.

    I mean, even a Judges Dinner at the USBC/WBC would be a start…

    Meanwhile, the national competitions of other nations seem to take very nice care of their judges….

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