Here’s what’s happening at the 2023 Specialty Coffee Expo
On Friday 21st April, this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo will take place in Portland, Oregon. The annual expo is one of the biggest – and most important – events in the global coffee industry.
Thousands of people attend the expo every year, including roasters, producers, coffee equipment manufacturers, baristas, and coffee business owners. The event serves as a platform to bring coffee professionals together to forge new connections and partnerships – helping to drive the specialty coffee sector forward.
Read on to learn more about this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo, as well as key events and activities taking place at the three-day trade show.
Check out the PDG Events Calendar here.
Competitions and awards programmes at Specialty Coffee Expo
Organised by the Specialty Coffee Association, the Specialty Coffee Expo is held in a different US city every year.
The 2023 expo will take place in Portland, Oregon – a city with a thriving specialty coffee culture. This dates back to the late 1990s when Stumptown Coffee Roasters first opened its roastery there.
The SCA describes the event as “the coffee professional’s one stop shop for everything they need to succeed in the coffee industry”. The expo allows a wide range of international coffee professionals and enthusiasts alike to network, build relationships, learn, and experience the latest innovations in the coffee sector.
Alongside an extensive trade show and exhibition, the 2023 Specialty Coffee Expo will also host several competitions and awards schemes.
The 2023 US Coffee Championships will take place at the event. These include the US Barista, Latte Art, Brewers Cup, Roaster, Coffee in Good Spirits, and Cup Tasters Championships. The six winners will go on to represent the US in their respective competitions, with the 2023 World Barista, Brewers Cup, and Cup Tasters Championships set to take place at World of Coffee Athens in June.
Every year, the Specialty Coffee Expo hosts the Best New Product and Coffee Design Awards. These two initiatives celebrate excellence and innovation in the global coffee industry.
The Best New Product award honours new products which add value to the specialty coffee sector. The categories include:
- Coffee accessories
- Commercial coffee preparation and serving equipment
- Consumer coffee preparation and serving equipment
- Specialty coffee beverage additive
- Specialty non-coffee beverage standalone
- Open class (for products which don’t fit in any other category)
The Coffee Design Awards, meanwhile, celebrate some of the most innovative product and packaging designs. The three categories are branding, packaging, and spaces.
The winners of both awards will be announced and celebrated at the event.
Lectures, workshops & educational resources
Another key part of the Specialty Coffee Expo is disseminating and sharing the most recent findings in coffee research.
In partnership with the Coffee Knowledge Hub and Simonelli Group, this year’s event will feature more than 60 lectures which cover a diverse range of topics.
There will also be a series of workshops which explore a variety of subject areas. Each hands-on workshop lasts between three and four hours, and includes a number of activities and discussion sessions.
The Coffee Science Foundation will display the latest coffee research at this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo. Featured topics will include sensory science, coffee genetics & breeding, market research, coffee quality & evaluations, and more.
Posters will be displayed across all days of the event, and there will be an official Coffee Science Foundation Poster Session on Friday 21 April from 1pm to 3pm.
Who is attending this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo?
Specialty Coffee Expo is perhaps best known for its extensive trade show. This features a broad range of producers and co-operatives, roasters, importers and exporters, coffee shops, coffee equipment manufacturers, and more.
Some of the most prominent companies and brands in the global coffee sector will be in attendance, with many of them hosting their own booths.
Coffee equipment manufacturers
Many of the leading coffee equipment manufacturers and distributors will be at the 2023 Specialty Coffee Expo. This includes TORR Industries – a major supplier of bag, box, and pouch filling solutions for liquid products, including cold brew.
Tim Orr is the President of TORR Industries Inc.
“In line with the products we sell, we realised the need for a simple, fast, high-yield commercial cold brewing system,” he says. “This led us to develop the patented TORR HIVE BREW Cold Brew Coffee System.
“The HIVEBREW can prepare cold brew in less than 40 minutes, and results in extraction yields of over 20%,” he adds. “This helps to retain coffee quality and flavour profile.”
The HIVEBREW is designed for coffee shops selling high volumes of cold brew products, and is available in 700, 2,000, and 5,000 gallon-capacity models. Water is dispensed from a reservoir through a dispersion plate into a hexagonal-shaped “cell”, with each model using either seven, 14, or 28 cells to extract cold brew.
Each hexagonal-shaped cell also contains a reusable, stainless steel filter, which can be removed for cleaning. Moreover, TORR’s cold brew system also allows the user to control water flow rate, and minimises agitation during extraction.
Alongside the HIVEBREW, TORR will also be showcasing its automated pre-infuser and cell loader FUSION system at this year’s expo.
To learn more about TORR Industries’ HIVEBREW system, visit the website and stop by Booth 1800 at the Specialty Coffee Expo.
Producers and co-operatives
Some of the world’s most forward-thinking coffee producers and co-operatives will be in attendance at this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo.
This includes Sancoffee – a specialty coffee co-operative from Brazil, with a strong focus on direct trade relationships and environmental, social, and governance initiatives.
Fabricio Andrade is the CEO of Sancoffee.
“Coffee businesses have the opportunity to generate more value with their impact,” he says. “We always ask ourselves what our outcomes are, and we have the responsibility to actively share our impact value with our stakeholders and the wider community.
“Sancoffee releases a report every year to foster our impact-driven mindset,” he adds. “We want to encourage more people to work together to achieve sustainable results for the coffee industry.”
Sancoffee’s values stem from some of the challenges which coffee producers face today. The co-operative’s business model aims to consider the needs of all relevant stakeholders to support a more sustainable future for coffee production. This includes finding new ways to reduce environmental impact and to better support local coffee-producing communities.
Since 2019, Sancoffee has set social and environmental impact goals, and has also published an annual impact report which outlines some of its key achievements. The B Corp-certified company also runs a number of sustainable agricultural initiatives, such as the Bio Recovery Programme and a carbon neutral coffee scheme – and is one of the first carbon-neutral co-ops in Brazil.
To learn more about Sancoffee’s activities at Specialty Coffee Expo, as well as to arrange a meeting with the Sancoffee team, visit the website here.
Green coffee packaging solutions
Several prominent green and roasted coffee packaging companies will exhibit at the 2023 Specialty Coffee Expo, including Ecotact – a green coffee packaging supplier in the industry.
Hanuman Jain is the CEO and founder of Ecotact.
“We strive to create a better and more sustainable future for the coffee industry and beyond,” he says. “We are committed to revolutionising the coffee industry by providing hermetic packaging solutions that protect green coffee and ensure that farmers receive fair prices for their hard work.
“Ecotact promises to keep innovating in terms of providing sustainable packaging solutions which minimise our carbon footprint,” he adds. “We believe that sustainability and profitability can go hand-in-hand, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this movement.”
The company’s nine-layer hermetic packaging technology ensures that green coffee stays fresh during transit and storage. Ecotact’s product range is also largely both recyclable and reusable, helping to reduce its environmental impact.
At this year’s expo, Ecotact will be launching three new products. The Ecotact Biome Tray is designed to be used during cuppings and tastings, as well as displaying roasted coffee beans. The five-panelled Ecotact Penta Pak hermetic packaging is 100% recyclable and is designed to preserve coffee freshness and quality. Finally, the reusable Ecotact Farmer D’lite storage solution is designed specifically for producers to store parchment and green coffee.
To learn more about Ecotact’s green coffee packaging solutions, visit the website and stop by Booths 1401 & 1501 at the Specialty Coffee Expo.
Other companies at Specialty Coffee Expo
Alongside these brands, a number of other specialty coffee companies will exhibit at the event. These include:
- MTPak Coffee
- Ally Coffee
- Marco Beverage Systems
- Cimbali USA
- Covoya Coffee
- Dalla Corte
- Guatemalan Coffees
- Mercon Specialty Coffee
- Rancilio Group North America
- Royal Coffee and The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room
- Frank Buna
Another major feature of Specialty Coffee Expo is the Roaster Village – a meeting hub for the thousands of producers, roasters, baristas, and green coffee traders in attendance.
This year, the Roaster Village will be located on the main show floor and will include exhibitors such as JNP Coffee, Café Granja La Esperanza, Cup of Excellence, Forest Coffee, Onyx Coffee Lab, and La Cabra.
Furthermore, the Roaster Village Hub will also feature live demonstrations and workshop sessions hosted by Sanremo Coffee Machines and Fiorenzato.
Green Coffee Buyers and Sellers Programme
For the second consecutive year, the Green Coffee Buyers and Sellers Programme will be held at the Specialty Coffee Expo. The overarching aim of the programme is to facilitate the sale of green coffee.
Registrants can use the Specialty Coffee Expo mobile app to connect with buyers and traders, with 20-minute meeting room slots available. Green coffee buyers and sellers of any size are welcome to register to the event.
This year’s Cupping Exchange schedule includes some of the most well known green coffee traders in the industry, such as JNP Coffee, Guatemalan Coffees, Mercon Specialty, Café Imports, Algrano, Fairtrade International, and Trabocca.
The SCA will also launch the beta version of the Coffee Value Assessment at this year’s event. As a result of a project first launched in 2020, the organisation’s revised cupping protocol and form will allow industry professionals to record a wider range of information, as well as more relevant data, while cupping coffees.
Other activities & events
Across all three days of the expo, many companies and organisations will be hosting their own activities and events, with some of them taking place in the evenings. Some of these include:
- The Barista League Brewlywed Show on 22 April at 6pm local time
- The 2023 US Comandante Championship hosted at Proud Mary Coffee Roasters on 20 April at 5pm local time (one day prior to the expo)
- Proud Mary Coffee Roasters’ Deluxe Coffee Getdown event also on 20 April, which will feature a live DJ set
- Cup of Excellence Reunion on 21 April at 9:30am local time, as well as the Comandante x CoE x ACE Brewbar across all three days
- International Women’s Coffee Alliance Breakfast on 22 April – which will feature Elizabeth Nyamayaro, UN Special Advisor to the World Food Programme, as the keynote speaker
Please note that some events are invite-only and attendees may need to register beforehand, with some events possibly sold out.
For those attending this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo, there are plenty of events and activities to engage with – as well as opportunities to connect with other coffee professionals.
If you are taking part in the expo in any capacity, make sure to register and book for any events and activities prior to attending.
To learn more about the Specialty Coffee Expo, visit the official website here.
Photo credits: Specialty Coffee Association, Skandia Shafer
Perfect Daily Grind
Please note: TORR Industries, Sancoffee, and Ecotact are sponsors of Perfect Daily Grind.
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