Remaining Neutral

I’m writing this column upon my recent return from the SCAA Symposium and Expo, and as I’m preparing to leave for our annual trade show, Tea & Coffee World Cup, which takes place in Kraków, Poland, May 10-12th. I’m eager to experience the coffee and tea scene in Kraków and see how it compares to Warsaw, which I observed in 2014. Is it more dynamic? As consumers evolve from a tea-dominant nation to a growing coffee-consuming one, how far past soluble have they come? Are consumers requesting specialty coffee or is it more cappuccinos, lattes and blended coffee beverages? Is black tea still the popular choice or are herbal teas gaining a following? I’m looking forward to seeing the developments first hand and sampling!

Returning to the SCAA, at its annual Symposium and Expo, which took place in Atlanta this year (April 13-17th), there were ample conversations surrounding the proposed union of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE)—both for and against. I have received many requests to voice my opinion on the potential merger. Those of you who know me, know that I am not shy to share my views. However, despite my personal thoughts and love of a hearty debate, it is not T&CTJ’s place to take stance, rather to report on the situation (see story, page 12 ). That being said, for those who would like to share their opinions, please feel free to email them to me–attributed or anonymous–and I will publish them in the magazine. Whether the union is approved or rejected, it will be interesting to watch what transpires.

In terms of the actual issue, we have quite a variety of stories this month. Japan has always been known for its technical prowess on the agricultural side, but this month’s cover story explores chagusaba, a traditional, sensory-focused, labor-intensive tea grass-integrated process. Cold brew has many fans, and although it’s been booming in coffee, many teahouses are seeing the advantages of cold brew iced tea, as our tea story finds. While we do not typically cover retail, we have two different stories discussing foodservice and coffee’s place in it. (Coffeehouses happen to be the fastest-growing restaurant category.) This issue also features our fourth, and final, story in our Indonesia series.

I must run as there’s much to do before leaving for Poland (I seem to be obsessed with checking the weather there every hour to make sure the forecast hasn’t changed…). Do not hesitate to contact me if you’d like to share your thoughts on the SCAA/SCAE merger—who wouldn’t want to read some opposing views on the subject!

Vanessa L. Facenda, editor-in-chief

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