Specialty Coffee Expo proceeds as planned, USCC postponed

Covid may have derailed the 2020 Specialty Coffee Expo, but Hurricane Ida is not stopping the 2021 show. On 10 September, Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) CEO Yannis Apostolopoulos issued a message to Specialty Coffee Expo exhibitors, sponsors, visitors, etc, announcing that the 2021 Expo, which is scheduled to start on 30 September in New Orleans, Louisiana, will go ahead as planned but the coffee championships will not.

“The SCA has decided to move forward with the Specialty Coffee Expo in New Orleans this month and will be regretfully postponing the United States Coffee Championships (USCC) to 2022. As part of this decision, we will also be donating 50% of all attendee revenue to New Orleans coffee businesses as they rebuild after Hurricane Ida,” said Apostolopoulos. “We at the SCA are committed to putting on the best event we possibly can so our industry can restart, so we can reconnect, and rebuild. Many coffee companies rely on Expo for their businesses. This is especially true for producers, importers, exporters, manufacturers, and allied businesses around the world. This is the main reason we do a trade show — we’re using our convening power to bring buyers and sellers together, business to business, person to person. This has enormous value, and these companies need this.”

He noted that New Orleans “wants us there and has assured us it’s safe. We are talking to the city of New Orleans every day, as well as the convention center and have been assured it’s safe and will be ready. The building sustained light damage which has been repaired.”

Updates on the city and convention center are available at: www.neworleans.com/updates. The SCA will have updated information regarding Covid Safety, hotels, FAQs, and other show information shortly.

Apostolopoulos said the SCA carefully assessed the financial risk involved with the decision to proceed with the event. “Expo is the largest specialty coffee event in North America, and we have been in contracts since 2016. While that took time to assess, we also took a long look at the risk to our fundamental values and mission in making this decision.”

Upon the request of the US Chapter and the USCC Committee, the SCA is postponing the 2021 US Coffee in Good Spirits, US Cup Tasters, and US Roaster Championships and the US Latte Art Competition until 2022.

Apostolopoulos added that Expo provides huge value to the specialty coffee industry, but the SCA is also “determined to make sure it brings value to the city of New Orleans, and to its wonderful coffee community. Our plan to contribute 50% of attendee revenue will require help from local and national partners to help us identify the best way to administer this support. If you’re interested in helping or know of someone who can help — please get in touch.”

Apostolopoulos thanked the industry for “its patience,” noting that these have not been easy decisions to make. “We trust everyone will make the best judgement for themselves. We are committed to putting on the best event we possibly can so our industry can reconnect, rebuild and restart.”

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