Imagine an event that brings the entire coffee industry together, creating a space to share innovative ideas, catch the latest products, and watch coffee competitions under one roof. It happens every year through the Specialty Coffee Association's Expo. It's a great opportunity to meet coffee pros throughout the supply chain and beyond, while immersing yourself in all things coffee. We sent our Regional Sales Manager, Michelle Waller, to this year's event in Seattle so read on to learn of her first experience with Expo!


I love the specialty coffee industry because it is a beautiful blend of art and science, legend and logistics, trade and imagination. Walking through the aisles of the Specialty Coffee Association’s annual Expo (SCA 2018) in Seattle, I was delighted to see so many familiar faces. Familiar both from working relationships and tall tales of coffee lore. Representing Joe Van Gogh, I spent time working at three different expo booths, and each was a unique experience.

I jumped in feet-first brewing Ethiopia YirgZ at the Loring Smart Roast exhibit. A giant 70-kilo roaster setup in the middle of the show floor turned every head walking by. I had the opportunity to brew and sample our coffee to industry professionals, telling them how Loring Roasters are energy-efficient, hand built in the US, and the many reasons why we roast on them at JVG. This is a slice of society where knowing our master-roaster Robbie Roberts earned many raised eyebrows of respect.


Next, I was serving our Colombia El Obraje Caturra at the Ally exhibit. Ally is a coffee importer we work with to bring in several of our delicious coffees. They are a shining example of how an importer can create bridges, enhancing the relationship and value between coffee farmer and roaster. As you might expect, there were some very serious coffee tasters in this corner of the expo. Hmm… are those flavor notes of tangelo and honeysuckle I taste in that coffee? Why, yes of course.
Finally, I served lemonade and smoothies with our partner Beyond the Bean. They make Sweetbird syrups and Zuma chocolate, which we distribute in the US. At this point in the weekend, a real fruit smoothie was like the outstretched hand of a friend pulling me out of a caffeine induced delirium.
All in all, SCA 2018 can only be described as a roller-coaster that is both exhilarating and disorienting. Maybe this is just the caffeine talking, but I would absolutely jump back in line to ride all over again.