Review: CoffeeTec Goes To SCA Expo 2022 In Boston
CoffeeTec CEO Scott Plail attended the SCA Expo in Boston April 8-10, 2022. This annual event is considered North America’s largest specialty coffee trade show— but it draws a massively large global crowd. If you didn’t get a chance to attend and are experiencing major FOMO (fear of missing out), we spoke with CoffeeTec to bring you the highlights of this much anticipated three-day event. Read on for our conversation.
Why Did CoffeeTec Attend SCA Expo This Year?
We made the decision to attend SCA this year because it’s a fantastic opportunity to build new relationships and expand our customer base. And, it helps us nurture existing connections with our vendors. The event is also great for tracking new developments with roasting equipment and the coffee industry in general. Overall, it’s just a helpful event to attend to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the coffee industry.
Plus, we know a lot of our customers may not have a chance to attend, so an added bonus is that we can come back and report about all we saw — and what we think our customers will want to know about.
We were also curious about how coffee companies exhibiting at the event (there were about 400), across all the little niches represented, would approach this expo after the pandemic. Would their new products or services reflect the new realities in our industry during the pandemic? So, I kept my eye out for that too.
It’s interesting that the SCA Expo was held in Boston, the last site of the event before the “Before Days” (pre-COVID). What was the energy like there?
Well, as you can imagine, the buzz at this show — the first since COVID — was incredible. I can see how staging it at the same location where SCA 2019 was held would bring a sense of nostalgia to the event. SCA reported that more than 10,000 people from around 40 countries attended SCA this year over the three-day span. That’s a lot of people, and we feel like we saw most of them on the trade show floor! This is definitely an industry event where lots of deals happen, but there was this added sense of joy around people gathering in person again. Coffee brings people together as little else can, and it was exciting to see in person. We really are part of a very special industry.
That sounds amazing! So, let’s get to the good part. What are some of the highlights of this year’s expo? What stood out to you, specifically with roasting equipment?
(CoffeeTec) We weren’t surprised to see all the usual players there: Diedrich, Giesen, Joper, Loring, Probat, Burns, Sivetz, and more. Many vendors we work with were also there: AAE/Coffee Loaders, iFill, Javalytics, and VortX KleanAir Systems. There was so much to take in at the show, but I think I can boil down my experience into five memorable moments:
1. Jabez Burns
We were happy to see Burns is still alive and well. I had a great conversation with their team as they made their presence known on the trade show floor with their impressive B270R 120-kilo roaster, the newest addition to their industrial coffee roaster line. The B270R offers the same features and benefits as their classic 23R (240-kilo) roaster. Even at half the size, it was an absolute hulk of a machine!
We list these monsters on our site pretty often. If you’re looking for large industrial machines, take a peek at our current Petroncini, Topers, and Probats - including a Probat 660 lb. p/batch R1500R! Check ‘em out!
2. VortX KleanAir Systems
We spent some time at VortX KleanAir System’s booth getting into the details with my buddy Ron Kleist, President of VortX. In case you’re not familiar, VortX is an eco-friendly hydro-powered afterburner alternative that safely filters smoke, odors, chaff, dust, and CO2. It's the brainchild of coffee industry veteran Ron Kleist and respected coffee consultant/SCA-certified trainer Willem Boot. Scott (CoffeeTec CEO) got to have dinner with Willem to catch up on new happenings and old times - one of the best being when we trekked up 5900 feet to Willem's Geisha farm "La Mula" in Panama a few years ago. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, high-efficiency afterburner alternative using water technology, you’ve got to check out our VortX inventory. I've sold a few of these units and our customers can't say enough about them!
We were happy to see Diedrich make a strong showing at this year's SCA Expo. We sell a ton of these used roasters and they're in our inventory most all the time. Scott Plail (our CEO) and Karl Schmidt (Diedrich CEO) were able to have dinner in Idaho before heading out to Boston for the event. And, I was even happier to see Diedrich serve as one of four manufacturers (alongside Stronghold, San Franciscan, and Probat) participating in the roasting tent. Diedrich also sponsored the IWCA (International Women's Coffee Alliance) cupping session.
4. Sivetz Unveils New SRM15
We’d have to say one of the biggest surprises was seeing Sivetz unveil its new SRM15 at the show. The overall aesthetic is so modern, but new Sivetz owner Michael Barthmus added functionality like variable controls for the fan speed and gas, plus internal PID controls. It was explained at the booth that the goal of this new design was to maintain the simplicity in roasting and maintenance that Sivetz fluid-bed devotees crave, while also increasing functionality.
It’ll be interesting to see feedback as roasters start using the machine. I heard this one on the trade show floor is going to Zeke’s Coffee in Baltimore, MD. Might be fun to follow up with Thomas Rhodes over there this time next year and see how things are going.
We sell used Sivetz all the time - 1/4, 1/2, and full baggers. We've got a 15-kilo Sivetz in our inventory right now — These machines move pretty quickly whenever we get one in . So, if you're looking for a production animal like this, take a look.
5. Roastery Equipment
Along with visiting our roaster manufacturers’ booths, I also got to touch base with vendor reps for some of the roastery equipment we represent on CoffeeTec.com.
- Zing-Pac is a great bagging system that allow users to economically create packaging that provides a vapor or moisture barrier, keeping the product inside fresh and protected.
- Javalytics’ and Agtron’s roast analyzer allows you to better track and understand your roasts, leading to a more consistent product.
Honorable Mention: Roasting Beasts + Beauties
To us, roasters are great things of beauty, but they’re also roasting beasts. Can a roaster be both beauty and beast? We certainly think so! Here are a few images of what caught our eye on the trade show floor:
And, because we can’t help ourselves, how cute is this little guy? It’s the Allio Bullet electric coffee roaster, and it looks like he means business!
Did you get a chance to attend any of the events or workshops?
We were so busy connecting with our vendors and checking out the new roasters and roasting equipment that we unfortunately didn’t get to see any of the events. It would have been great to catch the announcements of the 2022 US Coffee Championships, especially the roaster category. But, we did give them a shout-out on our social media!
Anything else worth noting?
SCA Expo 2022 was an incredible experience. If you can find a way to attend, you should definitely try to do it. We just heard that SCA Expo 2023 will be in Portland, Oregon in late April — and then in Chicago in April 2024.
I’ll also say that the exhibitors this year outdid themselves. With more than 400 booths on the trade show floor, it can be hard to stand out. And, many of the exhibitors seemed to make use of lost time over these past two years to dream up some really fun ways to engage attendees. Again, Scott and I were focused on the roasters and roastery equipment, but we did pass by some booths featuring AR and gameplay. I think Savor Brands (brand packaging) and Minor Figures (specialty brews, vegan cafe products) stood out. List + Beisler (green coffee supplier) had a mini putt-putt golf course, a perfect fit since it was also The Masters Tournament the same weekend.
All good stuff! So, what as your biggest takeaway from the show? How do you think CoffeeTec’s customers will benefit from your attendance at this Expo?
Great questions! And, we think they both have the same answer. We think my biggest takeaway is that we ultimately attend this show, or any other trade show like it, on behalf of our customers. Even if we sell used roasters by top name brands, we establish relationships with those manufacturers. This means that we’ve got resources to help us address customer questions.
The coffee roasting community is relatively small and tight-knit. We’re all here to help each other. So, whether I’m selling a new Toper or AAE/Coffee Loaders equipment, or a used Diedrich or Sivetz, and my customer has questions that the seller can’t answer, I know I can pick up the phone and call someone at those companies who does have the answer. When we say that we at CoffeeTec offer full-service coffee roasting solutions, we truly mean it.
While Scott was focusing on the coffee roasters and roastery equipment, our team back home followed Expo coverage — and so we offer this quick roundup of other newsworthy expo happenings.
New Product Releases
- We enjoyed Sprudge’s coverage of some of the hottest new coffee gear.
- Daily Coffee News (the news arm of Roast Magazine) also featured a really well-done two-part series spotlighting highly-anticipated releases. Part 1 | Part 2
- Barista Magazine and Perfect Daily Grind also included nice recaps.
The Envelope Please…
Finally, a huge shout-out to all the various award winners recognized and announced at the Expo:
We also congratulate the winners of the 2022 US Coffee Championship. We particularly want to call out the six US Roaster champions. The West Coast dominated the category, with Pennsylvania representing the East Coast.
Perhaps the highest-profile winner was 23-year-old Morgan Eckroth (left) from Portland, OR. She picked up the US Barista Champion title in what even seasoned viewers deemed as a great show.
In fact, we’re impressed with the female presence across all six categories of the championships, representing about one-third of the finalists.
That’s A Wrap! Now, How Can We Help You?
With the SCA Expo in the bag, we’re back to working hard for you — sourcing and vetting great used roasters and equipment to add to our inventory, and adding new roasting equipment we think our customers want.
Do you know that we literally have a “Help Us Help You” quick-fill form on our website? Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we can help. Or, if you’re looking to sell your coffee roasting equipment, we’ve got a quick and simple form for that too. Once you fill those out, we’ll get back to you to see how we can find you the perfect machine or get you top dollar for the one you’re trying to sell.
And, if you need financing support, check out our Roaster’s Choice Lending Program, where our private network of the nation’s top lenders with your own designated point of contact will help you find the best financing deals available. To get a sense of monthly payment amount and start the financing application process, just find a roaster you’re interested in (with a value of $2,000 or more) and click the green “Finance It” box for details.
Let’s help you build the coffee roastery of your dreams — and with a roaster that’s right for you.