Notes from SCAA 2012 (plus a few more pics)

A few more thoughts about the SCAA Event:

First observation: the SCAA is a really big deal for the specialty coffee industry. I get that now.

Congratulations to Katie Carguilo, who works for Counterculture Coffee in New York, for taking home the championship trophy.

Devin Chapman, representing Coava, was the highest finisher from Portland. He finished fourth overall.

The biggest surprise for me was that the President of Honduras (yes, the head of state), Porfirio Lobo Sosa, showed up to give a speech during the opening ceremonies.  I had no idea he was even around until they introduced him.  He spoke for about 20 minutes, emphasizing several times that “behind each cup of Honduran coffee is a family that grows the coffee.”

The most “Portlandian” thing I saw during the week happened at Coffelandia, the big street party hosted by Portland Roasting (a great event, by the way). We were walking up to the front gate when a group of naked bicyclists rode up and rode a few circles in the street. At least I think they were naked. To be honest, I didn’t notice if they had shoes on.

In addition to the USBC, I also spent some time at the Exposition, checking out the latest and greatest things coming to specialty coffee. I tried to get a photo of as many Portland faces and displays as I could (check out the higher-resolution versions here). You might see a few people you recognize. 

Public Domain was pulling shots outside the entrance to the USBC

Publisher Ken Olson and Editor Sarah Allen greeted people at the Barista Magazine booth

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Photos from the 2012 USBC

Here are a few pictures from the 2012 United States Barista Championship (higher-resolution versions of most of them can be found here): 

The USBC competition area early Thursday morning

Everyone was competing for this

The TV crew was ready to stream the USBC live online
Tyler Stevens from Barista opened up the competition

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Welcome to Portland!

If you are out and about in Portland’s coffee shops the next few days, you might overhear more in-depth coffee conversations than normal. In case you haven’t heard, Portland is hosting the Specialty Coffee Association 2012 Event. The Event, the largest gathering of the year for the specialty coffee industry, consists of a trade show/exposition, a symposium for coffee professionals and the US Barista Championships. It might be the largest collection of coffee nerds ever convened in one place.

Here are a few things you might want to check out during the week.

SCAA Exposition

The Exposition is a huge trade show where you can walk around and be wowed by all things coffee. You’re sure to find lots of interesting demonstrations and all the coffee you can possibly taste in one day.


  • When: Friday and Saturday 11am-5:30pm, Sunday 11am-4:30pm

  • Where: Convention Center (map)

  • Cost: Three-day pass (includes the trade show, USBC and Expo Lectures) costs $295 for non-SCAA members. One and two-day passes (no lectures) are available for $115 and $185, respectively. You can get more details on tickets here:

  • Find out about lectures and other events here.

United States Barista Championship (USBC)

The USBC runs concurrently with the SCAA Event. Fifty-six top baristas from around the United States will be competing over four days for the title of US Barista Champion.


  • Where: Convention Center (map)

  • When:

    • Round 1 – Thursday and Friday 9am-5pm

    • Semi-finals – Saturday 10am-4:30pm

    • Finals – Sunday 12-3pm

    • Cost: $10 for a 3-day pass

    • For more information visit the USBC website, where you can the competition’s rules and regulations, see a full competition schedule and watch a live stream of all competitors.

Portland has seven baristas competing in the USBC. Here is their schedule:

  • Tyler Stevens, Barista – Thursday 9:15am

  • Ann Schneider, Sterling – Thursday 9:34am

  • Brett Felchner, Barista – Thursday 12:44pm

  • Thomas Pikaart, Water Avenue – Thursday 2:19pm

  • Collin Schneider, Sterling – Thursday 2:38pm

  • Laila Ghambari, Stumptown – Friday 10:31am

  • Devin Chapman, Coava – Saturday 11:33am (automatically qualified for semi-finals as regional champ)

Good luck to all 56 competitors!


Another event to put on your calendar is Coffeelandia, a street party hosted by Portland Roasting Coffee, CBI, Boyd’s, World Cup Coffee and others. It should be a rousing event. Coffee people know how to party. Really, they do.


  • When: Friday, April 20 7pm-11pm

  • Where: Outside Portland Roasting, Southeast 7th and Oak (map)

  • Cost: Your $10 donation supports Portland Global Initiatives and Global Brigades and their water projects in Honduras.

  • Other: Entry comes with three alcoholic drinks, plus live music, dance and karaoke. Coffee drinks will be free.

  • This is a 21 and over event, so you'll have to leave the kids at home.

  • More details at the Coffeelandia website.

Discover: Lever

Learn about the Astoria Gloria lever espresso machine at Clive Coffee. The event description promises a “hands-on educational experience,” so if you go, you’ll probably get your chance to try your had a pulling a shot or two.

  • When: Thursday, April 19 6pm-9pm

  • Where: Clive Coffee, 79 Southeast Taylor (map)

  • More details at the event’s facebook page.

Coffee Tours

Between the show and the other happenings, you might not have much time to visit PDX cafés, but if you can sneak out for a quick coffee tour, here are a couple itineraries to help streamline your explorations:

  • Downtown Power Tour (map): Coffeehouse Northwest -> Barista (Pearl) -> Caffè Umbria -> Courier -> Public Domain -> Spella -> Stumptown (Downtown)

  • Eastside Quickie (map): Water Avenue -> Coava -> Heart

  • Northern Sips (map): Ristretto (Williams) -> Albina Press -> Barista (Alberta) -> Caffé Vita

  • Killingsworth Crawl (map): Red E -> Coffeehouse Five -> Extracto

It should be a great week for coffee lovers. Prepare yourself to hear about more coffee origins, roasting profiles, espresso machines, extraction percentage, barista competitions, grinder technology, etc. than you ever have before. Hopefully, you’ll get a little sun to go with your coffee. Enjoy!