The SCAA Issues Apology for Last Week’s Regional Barista Competition Decision

Editor’s note:  This morning, we received this email posted below from Tracy Allen, president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Board of Directors. Tracy called me last week after Barista Magazine printed an editorial about our disappointment both in the SCAA’s decision to cancel the Regional Barista Competitions, and the method in which they did it. He called to explain why the decision was made, and promise to issue a statement about how he, the SCAA board, and the SCAA staff would move forward in light of the enormous outcry opposing the decision. With much of the SCAA’s leadership, Tracy was in Atlanta at annual planning meetings this last weekend. We were very happy to receive this email this morning, and are excited that the SCAA has listened to members and is promising to reevaluate the status of the barista community’s beloved regional barista competitions.

Dear Members,

On behalf of the SCAA, Ric [Rhinehart, executive director of the SCAA] and I would like to apologize for the communication surrounding the  announcement  about the regional barista competitions last week. While we felt we had made the best decision on behalf of the entire membership, the barista community amplified what the Barista Guild of America Executive Council (BGAEC) had been saying ¦that these events are valuable beyond measure and there may be other solutions for USBC qualifying events. We heard you, and the BGAEC will be following up today about next steps.Beyond the regional competitions, we acknowledge much of your feedback was about how the decision was communicated. No question, we failed by not communicating to our members first and we are committed to remedying that. The board will put together a working group to establish a œmembers first  communication policy and an equitable, transparent approach to media relations.

The SCAA is transitioning. As we grow and serve a broader range of people, as the demographic of our members shift, and as technology accelerates, we have to respond with a new communication approach. This is a challenge many, if not most, organizations face. Fortunately, our specialty coffee community is active, engaged, and helping us become a stronger organization.

Thank you,

Tracy Allen
President, SCAA Board of Directors

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