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March | April 2019
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Now in its third year, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) continues to evolve, attempting to maintain a balance between a more influential global organization and a locally accessible and relevant one.
As I participated in recent SCA committee meetings in Madrid, it was clear that the global mission is being realized. The number of languages spoken was in the dozens, and viewpoints were certainly as varied. As effective as the global outreach has been, there are questions, especially in the United States, as to whether the global focus has come at the expense of local participation and effectiveness.
The latest stage of this evolution in the United States is the organization of a U.S. SCA chapter. Although country chapters have been a European model since the early days of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, the concept is new to the U.S. According to the SCA website, “A National Chapter is an entity that represents the SCA activities in a specific country or regional territory, represented by a group of elected enthusiasts from the SCA community. Volunteer-led in delivering education, events, and research with the responsibility to make engagement opportunities available to the regional community. The Chapter embodies the vision and mission of the SCA in all activities.”
This definition leaves a lot to the imagination when it comes to the practical application of a chapter and its national and regional representation. One can imagine a clear dissemination of philosophy, materials and influence from the global SCA organization, but it is less clear how a U.S. chapter can influence that global organization. The question moving forward is, how do local and regional roasters and retailers in the U.S. chapter become empowered to have a meaningful voice in the larger association?
The Specialty Coffee Association of America was founded by motivated people who needed a greater unified voice in order to establish a new vision of specialty coffee for the benefit of all its members. There is hope that a U.S. SCA chapter will recapture some of that local, regional and national energy, which has existed for more than 20 years. I encourage all Roast readers to pay attention to how this new entity is being established, question its purpose and reach, and work to make sure it serves the needs of the U.S. specialty coffee community.
As the specialty coffee community continues to evolve, Roast does so as well as we bid a sad goodbye to our amazing and hardworking editor for the past four years, Emily Puro, along with a happy hello to Lily Kubota as managing editor, and an equally happy welcome back to Kelly Stewart as technical editor. We are excited about our future and look forward to continuing to provide our readers with the highest quality content.