Hundreds of stands. Thousands and thousands of attendees. Amazing coffee on every corner. Passionate coffee lovers, from producers to enthusiasts. A new US Barista Champion, Brewers Cup Champion, Roasting Champion, Cup Tasters Champion, and Latte Art Champion.
And lots of incredible new products.
SCA Global Coffee Expo 2017 was the place to be for all coffee lovers. But if you couldn’t make it, don’t worry – I’m here to tell you my personal favorite products from the show.
Spanish Version: 6 Productos Que no te Puedes Perder de SCA Global Coffee Expo 2017
Coffee everywhere! Credit: Ana Valencia
1. Steampunk & Sight – Alpha Dominche
Okay, okay, I’m cheating here: these are two products, not one. But these chemistry lab style brewers are simply beautiful. I’d heard about them, I’d watched videos of them – but seeing the real thing was something else!
Designed by Alpha Dominche, these are full immersion vacuum brewers. The Steampunk has been in the market for a while now, and is in around 500 shops in 35 countries. As for the Sight, a beta version was displayed at last year’s Expo, with pre-orders being taken late last year.
The creators took inspiration from multiple brewing methods, from the syphon to the French press and the pour over, and set out to combine the best aspects of them all. Different filters allow users to select their preferred level of body and clarity. And what’s more, the devices are controlled by an app that allows users to set the temperature, steep time, brewing time, agitation, and more.
I tried a 93-point Panama Geisha from Ninety Plus Coffee, brewed by Yoshikazu Iwase, on the Steampunk – a complex yet balanced cup full of flavor. It was simply amazing.
Originally these devices were intended just for coffee, but after some experimentation, they’re also being used to serve up tea – in fact, the company tells me that half their machines go to tea shops.
So what’s different about the Sight? Well, it’s a batch brewer: you can brew around 4 liters of coffee or tea with it. You choose whether you want full immersion or drip coffee; there’s a valve in the center that you can open or close during the brew. And once the coffee is brewed, a light will let you know when the coffee is no longer fresh.
And what’s more, it’s just as beautiful as the Steampunk. Since most people hide their batch brewers, the idea was to make a product people would be happy to leave in sight – hence the name. Their aim was to push technology, perimeter control, and presentation, and I think they nailed it.
The Sight, a batch brewer combining excellent technology with beautiful aesthetics. Credit: Ana Valencia
2. VERO Cortado Glasses – notNeutral
notNeutral introduced their new VERO collection at SCA: cortado glasses created for specialty coffee. They come in transparent or smoky grey versions and draw inspiration from whiskey glasses. And, most excitingly, the curved interior is designed to make cortado pours easier for baristas.
Talk about a smoking hot product.
The company also announced their new TINA collection, which – as the name suggests – is teaware. These products are all sharp lines and angled planes, with the occasional gentle curve. The result was a modern and even slightly cubist look. The range includes a porcelain teapot, handleless tasting cups, and teacup and saucer, all of which combined striking visuals with excellent functionality.
Additionally, they displayed some new colours for their LINO collection of coffee cups and mugs.
Barista-friendly VERO cortado glasses make a stunning impression. Credit: notNeutral
3. Behmor Connected Brewer + Amazon’s Alexa
Behmor’s always been an early adopter of smart technology – it’s the producer, after all, the world’s first SCA-certified smart brewer. And now the company have updated the software so you can simply ask your brewer to make you a coffee.
That’s right: there’s no need to press buttons, adjust settings, or do anything manually. All you have to do is talk to your coffee machine.
The brewer has an Amazon Alexa skill that means it’ll recognize phrases like “Alexa, start brewing my coffee” or “Alexa, make my favorite recipe.” (Those who don’t want to use Alexa can also just download an app on their smartphone.)
The Connected is more than a gimmick, however. It allows you to control brew temperature and pre-infusions, adjusts for altitude, and even offers pulse pours – meaning it mimics a barista’s pour. It’s specialty coffee made easy.
A batch brewer that listens to you. Credit: Behmor
4. 3-19 Coffee
It goes without saying that you could find good coffee on every corner of the expo. But 3–19 Coffee deserves a mention for their particular blend of coffee, community, and artwork.
When you buy 3–19 Coffee, it comes in a recyclable tin with a bamboo lid. And the label will have been designed by a local artist in San Francisco.
What’s more, they’ve paired up with Mayra Orellana-Powell of Royal Coffee to put a portion of the profits towards social projects in the communities they work with – from the US to the coffee origin. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, they launched an art program in Santa Elena, Honduras. They also hold art workshops at a Youth Conference. In the past, this led to a community-designed mural painted by the town’s younger generation.
Because after all, coffee isn’t just coffee. It’s something that ties together a community.
Local San Franciscan artist Deb designed the tin on the left; the tin on the right depicts the community-created mural in Santa Elena, Honduras. Credit: Michael Vehar
5. Ground Control II Batch Brewer
We’ve covered the Ground Control II batch brewer before, so I was excited to see it for real at the Expo. And it lived up to all my expectations.
An immersion brewing device that, after a short infusion, removes the water from the grounds and re-infuses them with fresh water – it’s certainly not your everyday batch brewer. The number of infusion cycles can be set by the barista, and adjusted to different coffees.
CEO Eli Salomon offered me an Ethiopian coffee that had been “brewed” four times. Yes, four times! And it tasted great. It was a sweet, smooth, and consistent cup of coffee with no bitterness – something that Salomon assures me is characteristic of this brewer.
Ground Control II looks truly out of this world. Credit: Voga Coffee
6. Orion Bean Counter – Acaia
Acaia’s barista-proof scales have already made a splash (partly for their ability to take a splash without breaking) – and now they’re launching a dosing system designed for roasters and cafes.
It’s not just me who was impressed by this product: the Orion Bean Counter also won Best New Product in the Coffee Accessories category. It’s a dosing system designed to weigh out beans for retail bags and brews.
Designed in partnership with Khristian Bombeck from Saint Anthony Industries, this sleek aluminum dosing device has an interchangeable hopper with a 400g or 2kg capacity, high-speed dispensing (up to 15g per second), an industrial-grade dose-by-weight system, and easy-to-use controls. To top it off, it also has Bluetooth connectivity and comes with a dark grey anodized finish – meaning it’ll make your cafe look even more stylish.
Beautiful design, practical value: the Orion Bean Counter. Credit: Acaia.
The specialty coffee industry is an exciting one, full of constant innovations. Narrowing down my top six products wasn’t easy, and there were many more great products out there. It was encouraging to see the focus on scientific brewing and precision, as well as the growing movement towards user-friendly experiences. And style wasn’t far behind for any of these choices.
What do you think? Is there anything I left off my list?
Please note: Some of the above items may be produced or sold by sponsors of Perfect Daily Grind. This list was created by a Perfect Daily Grind staff member based on their personal preferences, and without any influence from sponsors.
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