News Article

SCAA Coffee Expo in Anaheim

Words by Ice Cream Man

Photos by Ice Cream Man

I’ve always been a fan of coffee but I think it took a turn for the worse (or better?) when, a few years ago, my mom got me a Roaster’s Choice gift subscription from Intelligentsia Coffee for Christmas. I think she also got me a burr grinder which made my french press setup complete. Over the next four months I became hooked on the good stuff. Like many high-quality things in life, once you’ve had the best, it’s hard to go back to generic.

One of the fun parts about traveling the country is that I get to stop at coffee shops in the towns I pass through and try locally roasted coffees. Over the years I’ve been putting more of a focus on trying to find my favorite coffee in the country (see below for a short list of some favorites). Along the way I stumbled upon the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the organization that has been bringing together the best shops, roasters and baristas for over 25 years. They also throw the main coffee expo each year and I’ve been keeping an eye on hitting that for a while. Luck have it that the SCAA is based in Long Beach and my buddy Rob got a job there so we were able to get our foot in the door. A month or two ago Gooch took Bessie up to Culver City for the Western Conference Barista Championships to sling cream and we’ve been trying to find other ways to do fun stuff together. Ice cream and coffee go great together.

I made the trip down to the Anaheim Convention Center on Sunday and gave myself a few hours to get through everything. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was a little surprised to see a couple guys dressing up as a stormtrooper and Ghostbuster in the parking lot. I soon found out that the Wizard Comic Convention was going on in a adjacent hall. Damn, I wish I would have had time to run by there and get a bunch of pics of costumed avengers. With a press pass in hand i hit the convention floor. It was a large setup but not overwhelming. I’ve been to quite a few conventions and knew I needed a strategy to get through it effeciently. The main part of this was to not get caught up in too many long conversations.

My first stop happened to be one of my favorite products, Coffee Catcher. After you push down a pot of French pressed coffee you have a bunch of grounds left at the bottom which you usually have to scoop out with a spoon. The Coffee Catcher drops into the bottom of the pot and after pressing you can lift it out with a hook so there’s no scooping needed.

I didn’t want to go overboard on coffee so I was being selective. There were a lot of Hawaiian and Kona coffee people there so I had a little bit of that. Santa Cruz Coffee Company, who brews their coffee in a pour-over Brew Bar, had some tasty Amaro Gayo and I also hit up Intellegentsia and Alterra from Milwaukee. Coffee Bean also had some samples from their new venture called Public Domain which is opening in Portland soon. While on tour this summer I want to organize coffee tastings with ice cream pairings similar to what we did locally here at Kafe Neo last month. It was helpful to meet a handful of folks at the Expo to pitch them on the idea. I think the smartest people exhibiting at the expo are the ones that have cookies, baked treats and other goodies. Gloria’s Cookies has some great Almond Divine cookies and Umpqua Oats from near Bessie’s birth place in Oregon, has some just-add-hot-water cups of oatmeal that helped to level out the acidicness. Ooooh, and there was a bunch of chocolate there too, like Guittard and Ghirardelli, yum. There was also a large scale whipped cream system and, of course, I had to check that out. I love that they got the domain too. What a mix of traffic they must get

Some other cool stuff I stumbled upon while there
XPress. A disposable french press cup. Yes, that’s a lot of extra waste but I still like the idea and am looking forward to trying out the samples i have.
– Coffee Mugs and Bottles. There were tons. The one I ended up with from Berney-Karp was a double walled ceramic mug that will fit perfect in Beau’s cup holder this summer. I also got a tiny travel french press from Bodum. They had a large booth with all kinds of colorful stuff
– Home Roasters. I’d love to start roasting my own beans and I saw a couple small roasters that seemed reasonably priced that I’ll look into for X-mas presents this year… wink wink. and
– Pour over coffee systems were quite popular. Melitta gave out some single cup ones with filters. Intellegentsia had a nice setup and I really liked their funky teapot they used because it’s easy to over-pour hot water and not get the right coffee to water mix. There was also a lot of glass brewing options which looked like cool setups from chemistry class.
– the Willy Wonka like packaging and roasting machines. There were large machines that did all kinds of fancy stuff and it was hypnotic to watch them at work.
– the SCAA store had all kinds of resources for the coffee professional…. and fan. They had books, posters, pamphlets, videos and some shirts and mugs commemorating the expo.
– Chatting with Russ at about his coffee ordering system he setup for small roasters. He was from Burlington where I had been just a few days earlier and we chatted about a bunch of stuff, including him possibly helping me out in a future biz idea i’ve been brainstorming. No, it has nothing to do with coffee.
– All the trade magazines I got to snag for free. Roast, Fresh Cup, Barista and Coffee Talk.
– Decaf/no caf options. Most are barley and/or carob based and I was impressed with what I had from Teeccino and Cafe Orzo

I stopped by to check out the announcement of the winner of the US Barista Championship but I didn’t get to see any of the competition. I wish I would have been able to check out some of the Coffee of the Year Competition. I think it was the first year they had someone roast all the beans and have them available to the public. Imagine, the best beans in the WORLD and you can taste them all, yum. I would have liked to check out the Roaster’s Choice coffees too. I need to find that list so I can find more places to stop this summer. Here’s a small number of roasters I like.

If you have any favorites I should check out while traveling the country, please drop them in the comments.

Thanks to Rob, Tara and Aaron for making it possible for me to attend. I look forward to working more with the SCAA and it’s member roasters and coffee shops.


Ice Cream Man April 22, 2010 at 11:01 am

Just got link to coffee winners
The Roaster’s Choice Winner, Caffé Pronto – Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Koke District is only $12 for a 12oz bag. That’s mighty cheap for the best coffee there is

JENNY BEAN September 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm

FOR THE BEST BISCOTTI TO COMPLIMENT YOUR COFFEE YOU MUST CHECK OUT & TRY LA BISCOTTERIA IN REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA. They are the most perfectly crunchy & flavorful gourmet biscotti in town. Got to try them or you’re missing out on simply the best dessert with your morning brew!

JENNY BEAN September 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm

(650) 366-2747

Ice Cream Man September 8, 2010 at 6:48 am

Thanks Jenny. I’ll be in that hood in a week or so and will try to stop by

Leeanna Applin January 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm

That’s good idea…

coffeecatcher August 7, 2013 at 7:14 am

really enjoy in coffee

jospenpenn December 13, 2013 at 8:49 am

Ah, gotta have my coffee, where will the 2014 event be?

jospenpenn December 13, 2013 at 8:54 am

Ah, gotta have my coffee, where will the 2014 event be?

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