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Reports From the Road
Day 1: SCAA Atlanta 2004
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: April 23, 2004
Article rating: 8.4
feedback: (6) comments | read | write
Posted by Mark Prince, 5:30am Permalink to this blog entry

K Folks. I'm officially extremely hung over. Woke up late, missed my committee meeting, having a quick breakie, then off to do my panel.

Word of warning: if you're over 30, do not party with the Baristi. It's dangerous.

There could very well be pictures of last night, but I'm not posting them. :)

More from my panel. I'll probably update as the discussion goes on.

Sitting on the Panel
Posted by Mark Prince, 6:30am Permalink to this blog entry

We're in the midst of the reverse panel right now, and you'll be getting my notes as it goes on.

We have Jim Schulman, Bob Yellin, Richard Freileich, and Marshall Fuss up on the panel, and we've just finished the introductions.

Jim handled the first question, which was about what consumers would expect about medium sized roasters who have a website. Jim pointed out that he would like to find out more detailed descriptions and possibly some rudimentary cupping notes, roast levels, etc.

Jim answers another question about how to define roast levels on a website. Some may call a coffee a "full city" roast, but to others, it's a vienna roast.

Todd Saltzman from Whole Latte Love asked about ways that a company could improve a company's commerce website. Richard talked about making the site as sincere as possible, and even allow the negative reviews if there are any. He also mentioned the importance of establishing a physical address, phone number, etc.

There are folks in the audience who are from KitchenAid and Mr. Coffee who asked really good questions about how to improve their lines.  The Mr. Coffee guy was very gracious and even talked about the fact that they recognize they have a way to go on the quality level for some of their line (the quality of the brewed coffee). I think they got something out of the panel - proper temperatures are key.

A Green Mountain rep asked what does the panel think about supermarket coffee, and if we'd buy it.

Jim had a really good answer. You don't see the super premium cheese next to cheeze whiz in the supermarket. You don't see the quality, custom sliced cold cuts next to the prepackaged stuff. But you do see specialty coffee next to mass market coffee.

Of course, Marshall disagreed. :)

More later! I'm heading back to my hotel room after this to do a quick refresh before I head back to the floor and the competition (once again, thanks to 1st Line for the amazing hotel room this year - even though I drank too much last night, lemme tell ya, livin' la vida luxury is niiiiiiice!)

Tough Crowd!
Posted by Mark Prince, 9:35am Permalink to this blog entry

Dudes! Rating this a 7???!!!! Come on, give us a chance to post the rest of the day's highlights!

Okay so, the ribbon cutting for the convention floor just happened. The crowd is huge. The Barista competition is going full bore. I'm finding it entirely way too hot in HOTlanta.

Had a long, fruitful talk with Tone, one of the senior folks with the Word Barista Championships. Basically comparing Norway to Canada, and while in Norway, espresso excellence in the cafe is the norm, and expected, in Canada, it's very much the exception, and a rare exception at that. Tone said it was a variety of factors that lead to it, including much higher consumer awareness of what a quality coffee is supposed to be, and a general lack of "marketing" by beeeeg companies (like Sara Lee, etc) that does go on in Canada and the US (for instance, the Big Four like to call their sugar powder coffees "speciality" or "gourmet" coffees, which does much to confuse the consumer over what true specialty coffee is all about).

Well, the ribbon was just cut... David Griswold and other senior SCAA people are speaking. I'm not in a great place to hear it though. But here's a crowd foto!

Opening Ceremonies

Intermediate Espresso Training Lab
Posted by Mark Prince, 11:50am Permalink to this blog entry

Here's a few photos from the jam packed intermediate espresso lab I'm sitting in right now. I'm extremely jazzed to see so many coffee shop owners taking this class. Note, these are just resized "raw" photos - no editing, so apologies if the colour is off.

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Silent Auction
Posted by , 1:45pm Permalink to this blog entry
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Silent Auctions are great. Take a look at this. A one-group Linea machine and a Mazzer mini timer grinder is for silent auction. The last time I checked the bids, it was going for $4500. So, what would you do if you managed to win the auction for this sweet machine? Would you be rennovating your kitchen to fit the sweet combination in?

Some machine news
Posted by Mark Prince, 2:25pm Permalink to this blog entry

I gotta run over to the CoffeeKids reception, but I have some brief machine news.

The Reneka Techno is now available again... but it's not the old techno you knew...

  • UL Approved
  • Dual Boilers
  • 110V model!!!!
  • PID control on the brew boiler!
  • Immediate access to the pressurestat for the steam boiler!
  • USER CONTROLLABLE brew boiler temps in 1C increments!!!

Very sweet. We should be getting a machine by the early fall for a full detailed review.

I also saw (finally) the Quick Mill espresso grinder - the one with the glass hopper. Price is a bit stiff (They said 300 Euros wholesale), I don't know how well it would compare to the Mazzer Mini in grind quality, the Mini's got it beat in price, looks, size, adjustability and flexibility of the grinder's use. I'll post more later, with photos for everything.

Welcome Reception
Posted by , 4:45pm Permalink to this blog entry
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The Welcome Reception for the SCAA show is fun. Food, tons of people, familar and new faces, friends you see once a year, and all with the same passion - coffee. So, there was some really good food, and dessert, and drinks of course. Again, did I mention that it was all fun? The evening began with the volunteers directing us to the wonderful party sponsored by the Columbian Federation of Coffee, to be found happening under the yellow sun.

Interesting Product
Posted by , 5:05pm Permalink to this blog entry
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Well, Hearthware has an interesting product. i-Roast seems to show some promise, with temperature control, and it swirls the beans inside that ou can see. The main plus of this machine is the final roasting stage has control so that it can be fine-tuned. And of course, it sounds like it will be fast.

Article rating: 8.4
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: April 23, 2004
feedback: (6) comments | read | write
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