SIC continues to evolve and expand

I attended Brazil International Coffee Week or Semana Internacional do Café (SIC) last month (16-18 November, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais) for the first time in four or five years, and what a difference a few years make! I was happy to see that even with the disruption of Covid, SIC, now in its 10th year, continues to transform.

Despite its name, the last SIC I attended was not very international — everything was in Portuguese and there were no translations, which made it difficult to attend any sessions or events (the last group with whom I attended SIC was also diverse, with people coming from North America, Europe, Asia, etc.). Flash forward to 2022 and SIC is now embodying the ‘international’ aspect of its name (the overwhelming majority of attendees are still from Brazil). This year, signage around the event and the show guide were in English and Portuguese, and translation was available for the multitude of sessions (in the main conference room as well as the smaller ones).

The show, which takes place in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s largest coffee-producing state, covers the coffee supply chain, from producers to roasters as well as ‘coffee lovers and enthusiasts’. Exhibitors ranged from producers (Café Fazenda Venturim, Café Filomena Estefânia, Fazenda Recanto) to cooperatives (CAPECA, COOPERVASS) to companies offering farm/agricultural equipment such as Pinhalense, TDI Máquinas and Vin Máquinas to processing companies like Bühler Sanmak (optical sorting machines) to roasters (including producers/roasters) such as Café Raiz, Café Santa Monica, Nespresso, Nescafé, to roasting machine manufacturers and packaging companies — among the numerous other exhibitor categories.

As the show focuses on both specialty Arabica and Robusta coffee, some of the producers exhibiting were even from Rondônia, in the Amazon, who were presenting wonderful specialty Robusta coffees.

SIC holds of variety of events and educational such as coffee cuppings (both Arabica and Robusta); the Sustainable Coffee Forum; Café Modelo, a practical workshop space; Torra Experience, which involves five courses over the three-day event; Barista Jam; the Cup Tasters Championship and Brewers Cup (held by the Brazilian Association of Specialty Coffees – BSCA – in partnership with the Brazilian Agency for The Promotion of Exports and Investments – ApexBrasil –); and of course, the Coffee of the Year. For this year’s Coffee of the Year, 505 coffee samples from 415 properties in nine states competed in two categories, Arabica and Robusta/Canephora (both focused exclusively on specialty coffees).
The winners were:

Arabica category:
1st — Larissa Sodré de Paula from Caparaó region in Minas Gerais

2nd — João Vithor Medeiros Lacerda from Caparaó region in Minas Gerais

3rd — Vagner Uliana from Montanhas Capixabas region in Espírito Santo

Robusta/Canephora category:

1st — Licleison Sebastião da Silva, from Matas de Rondônia region in Rondônia

2nd –João Alves da Luz, from Matas de Rondônia region in Rondônia

3rd – Edvaldo Sigoli, from Matas de Rondônia region in Rondônia.

During SIC, the Brazil Soluble Coffee Association (ABICS), which had a large booth at the show and offered a variety of instant-coffee based drinks, announced its new methodology for instant quality assessment that proposes a sensory lexicon and quality grades for instant coffees (see A new methodology aims to change the game in instant coffee).

It is a welcome change to attend a show that focuses on both producers and buyers/roasters – I do not have the opportunity to attend many like this — as it offers a fresh and valuable perspective. I look forward to watching SIC continue to evolve and expand (as an attendee, of course), as I am sure it will continue to do so. Next year’s show takes place 8-10 November in Belo Horizonte.

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