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What's happening in the SCAA?

As the specialty coffee segment grows each year, so does the Specialty Coffee Association of America. New members are coming in at the rate of up to 75 per month. New entrepreneurs look for information about the business they plan to open, and established businesses find the association provides the network of knowledgeable sources they need.

This period is the run-up to the annual Trade Show and Conference, which this year will be held in Boston, May 8-11. The conference and training committee has expanded the programming this year to include a training course in the art of cupping coffee. Through the generosity of Coffee Connection in Boston, participants will be able to cup at a first rate facility. Additionally, three full days of presentations, panel discussions, and seminars are planned for conference participants to learn about marketing, green coffee issues, roasting, and more. Grady Saunders, program chairman, and the committee are encouraging everyone who plans to attend to make reservations as early as possible, as this is a popular time in Boston and hotels fill up fast.

A resent indication of the tremendous interest in coffee training is the Specialty Coffee Association's Retailer Training Seminar held in San Francisco the day before the West Coast Fancy Food Show. More than 250 people attended the day-long seminar on a wide array of topics necessary to successful retailing of specialty coffee. This is the third time this seminar has been offered and participation grows each time. The seminar will be held again in June in conjunction with the East Coast Fancy Food Show in New York.

The membership services committee, chaired by Linda Smithers, has been pursuing other activities for association members. A freight program to obtain discounts to members for green coffee shipments is being negotiated with a nationwide carrier. A booth will be staffed by committee members at the show in Boston to answer question members may have about this and other benefits. An current and future members will be receiving wood and brass plaques to demonstrate their membership in the association. The plaques will have space for annual updates showing current membership status.

The membership committee is also preparing a survey to determine from the members what kind of services they would like pursued. This will focus the committee in the coming year on those areas of greatest benefit.

Jeff Babcock heads the educational materials committee. This committee has been hard at work preparing a series of educational and promotional brochures. These will be ready in time for the meeting in Boston for members to purchase for distribution to customers.

The series will be graphically coordinated and written to educate the consumer to help them make informed choices about purchasing coffee. Also being developed are promotional pins and a world map detailing coffee growing area with crop information. The committee will be working on future projects to fill the need for educational and promotional materials.

The technical standards committee, headed by Jerry Baldwin, has been working with the staff at Agtron Labs to develop a system of color tiles that can be used to describe roast color. With a system of carefully graduated, numbered color tiles, roasters would be able to match a particular roast color to their roasts and have a much needed vocabulary with which to discuss the roasting process. This gets around more vague roast names which change from region to region.

The color tile system has been developed to the point where a prototype can be produced and calibrated in the field. The tiles, when completed, will be available for purchase by all segments of the industry.

The international relations committee has been preparing a survey of members to determine their attitudes toward the International Coffee Agreement. Phil Jones, head of the committee, expects the results will be available at the annual meeting in Boston. The committee has also been working on site visits for members. Visits are being planned for Puerto Rico in the fall of 1993 and Colombia for 1994.

The nominating committee, also headed by Phil Jones, has completed its work for the year, having proposed a slate of candidates for officers and board members. Ballots are being mailed and election results will be announced at the annual meeting in Boston.

This has been a very active period for the SCAA board and committees. With such an extensive and active committee system, many more members can participate in helping the association address the needs and interests of its members. All the committees have been tremendously productive toward that goal this year.

Phyllis Jordan is president and founder of PJ's Coffee, & Tea, roasters and retail shops in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Title Annotation:Specialty Coffee Association of America
Author:Jordan, Phyllis
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Previous Article:Shhhhh - be very, very quiet: a report on private label coffee in the specialty market.
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