In light of this year’s canceled Specialty Coffee Expo, the SCA and Barista Guild join forces for a month of virtual activities, starting with #ExpoWeekend kicking off Thursday.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos used with permission from the Specialty Coffee Association Instagram
Although this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo and Re:co Symposium were both forced into cancelation by COVID-19 restrictions, the teams behind these highlight events have been working toward hosting a virtual version of the event that could bring just as many coffee folks together online. Kicking off this weekend (April 30-May 2), #ExpoSeason will be a monthlong round of lectures, learning sessions, and programming by many speakers from the original Portland lineup, hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association, with support from Pacific Barista Series. The Barista Guild is also lending a hand by finishing off #ExpoWeekend with an enthusiastic “after-party,” complete with yoga sessions and dance parties by international coffee DJs.
“Thousands of professionals from across the specialty-coffee community were looking forward to being in Portland for the annual Specialty Coffee Expo,” says SCA Chief Executive Officer Yannis Apostolopoulos. “Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel the event and has greatly impacted so many coffee professionals and businesses. With the launch of the virtual #ExpoWeekend, we hope to bring a slice of the Expo experience to our community with 15 lectures and a dance party, all made possible by a few of the professionals who volunteer their time to make Expo education and fun every year.”
From Thursday through Saturday, expect a round of 15 lectures total—five hourlong lectures per day, with topics including subjects like “A Sustainable Coffee Buyer’s Guide” and “Investigating Consumer Preferences for Black Coffee.” The lectures take place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. The full schedule is published, and although these are free to watch, you must register for each lecture you wish to attend. The links can be found when you click on that lecture’s full description, which also details the speakers presenting and what language it will be available in.
As the weekend unfolds, the SCA will also be unveiling the SCA workshops happening throughout the season, with the first round of classes beginning next week, on Monday, May 4—more info on registration and payment to come via SCA’s Instagram.
There won’t be five after-parties per night (which may come as a relief to some), but there will be one mega party with plenty of rooms to hang in—just like a house party! The Barista Guild has put together a colorful gathering of yoga sessions, karaoke, networking, and a socially distant latte art throwdown. The party is taking place on a range of platforms so that people can be a part of several things at once; it might be best to have Zoom, Skype, and YouTube ready to go for the festivities.