The Specialty Coffee Expo is the biggest thing around for a lot of coffee professionals. That’s certainly true for us in Hawaii, as we don’t get to see our mainland industry friends too often. It’s a great chance to catch up and to see what everyone else has been working on over the last year.
This year, the Specialty Coffee Expo was an even bigger deal for us because we were teaching classes. Brit and Brian both taught courses with about 40 students in each section. That’s a big jump from our usual 6-person classes at the lab. It was challenging, and involved some late nights of prep. Ultimately, though, we had a great time and really enjoyed working with so many wonderful students.
Our friends over at the Hawaii Coffee Association were at Expo as well (and in style). The HCA hosted a large booth for the second year in a row showcasing the variety, tradition, and innovation of the Hawaii coffee industry. It is always inspiring to see so many Hawaii coffee people in one place working together. Sadly, we were too busy talking story to remember to take any pictures!
After our responsibilities at Expo wound down, we had a chance to get out and about in Seattle. One of the best parts of the week was the Monday after Expo, when we wandered into Ghost Note Coffee for a quick spro and found the owner Christos hosting a giant cupping of all the leftover coffees people had accumulated from the show. What a great random find.
Since the 30 or so cups at Ghost Note didn’t seem like quite enough, we then headed over to our old friends at Broadcast Coffee. And, lo and behold, stumbled into another cupping in progress! This one was much smaller (only five coffees), but no less delicious. It was a great way to close out the week before heading back to the Big Island.
On Friday, PCR attended the 2018 Kona Coffee Expo at the Old Airport Pavilion! This regional expo is a great way for Kona coffee producers to meet and talk story. It’s also a great way to learn about new products, get updates on research projects conducted by CTAHR and the University of Hawaii.
PCR hosted a table at the expo with educational information on physical defect identification in coffee. In addition we provided lots of great info on cupping, quality analysis, and how to get SCA certifications. It was also great to see all of our farmer friends and hear some of the great talks delivered by Hawaii coffee experts.
We ran a contest throughout the day, asking participants to test their coffee tasting abilities. Entrants were asked to taste three samples of the same coffee, one of which was a different size grade. The three people who identified the odd cup out quickest won awesome prizes including a Baratza grinder and home-brewing kit, and free admission to an SCA Coffee Skills Program Course from PCR.
Cupping Protocol Lecture for Coffee Producers
Brit also led a well-attended lecture on cupping procedure and protocol for local producers. This workshop was an excellent opportunity to get to know the needs of the local coffee producer community better, and to see where we stand as a producing region in terms of objective quality control measures. The talk covered the essentials of conducting objective quality analysis and control in specialty coffee. The producers who attended came away with a better understanding of how to implement quality control programs on their own farms.
All around, the Kona Coffee Expo was a great example of the benefits of living and working at origin as a specialty coffee professional. We hope to see you there next year!