Innovation. Collaboration. Education. Global crisis. All descriptors of some of the amazing experiences the Deeper Roots crew had at this year’s 25th Annual Event, part of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. This yearly get together of coffee enthusiasts is an exciting conference that brings top professionals in the industry together, giving us all a chance to talk about that little bean we’re all so passionate about. A three-day trade show and educational courses are just the foundation of what makes this event so special. However, it’s the conversations and connections to our fellow coffee geeks that inspire our team to push for excellence within our community.
To share every highlight of our weekend in one blog would be impossible, and honestly probably too long to read, but we are excited to share a few of our favorite highlights and hot issues of the weekend. In the coming weeks more of our experiences will seep their way into our posts, but here are some top highlights from Les, Adam, and Courtney.
Coffee leaf rust: the largest growing threat to the coffee industry in Central America weighed heavily on the minds of SCAA attendees this year. This terror of a fungus has been known in many parts of the coffee growing world for over a century now, once decimating the production of coffee in Asia and East Africa. Currently the fungus has spread in new locations, higher in elevation than ever before due to increased humidity and temperatures. A direct result of global warming, this trend is causing concern for growers and buyers alike. Devastating estimates are already projecting a $500,000,000 annual loss to Central American economies just from this year’s harvest alone.
Listed as one of the top issues for 2013, coffee leaf rust constituted many hours of expert lectures at this year’s Symposium; a gathering of top minds in the industry that precludes The Event. While many causes and long term strategies were hypothesized, there was very little offered in terms of immediate solutions. This crisis will be played out in the coming years. As Tim Schilling, executive director of World Coffee Research, shared, “in many cases this could be the end of their careers in coffee,” referring to the number of small producers that will be effected by this severe problem. Not to be to negative, but this drives us at Deeper Roots to be even more engaged in long term relationships with our growers, supporting them through these rough times.
Strength In Numbers: Since starting Deeper Roots Coffee we’ve spent a lot of energy and time building the business to be sustainable enough to support full time staff in our core competencies. This has allowed each of us to directly focus our attention on what we’re doing to the point where we are now getting regional and national recognition for what we do. It’s great being a part of a team now where we can show our strength in numbers and work alongside some of the people we respect most in the industry and our time at SCAA this year was a perfect example of that opportunity.
Well there’s no way around it, the learning process is a never-ending journey. The world of specialty coffee is an industry that thrives on the motto “my best is never enough!” What I mean is, no matter how many hours you’ve spent behind a machine there are always new practices and ideas to improve on taste and quality. It’s exciting to be immersed in an industry that is constantly growing, giving life and excitement to my daily endeavors. Working alongside some of the top educators in the field has rejuvenated the approach and concepts that Deeper Roots hopes to bring to our communities. My next new concept to tackle: pressure and espresso! Get ready!