Host Milano offers a glimpse of the world situation every two years. It is an internationally oriented event, with four firms out of every ten coming from abroad, and 1,500 international buyers. It also attracts some quite prestigious sector organisations. One of these is SCAE, the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, which will once again be attending Host in 2017 with a calendar of professional development events involving leading international experts and offering in-depth insights into coffee culture.
Deputy executive director Yannis Apostolopoulos gave us his view of the world. “The coffee market just keeps on growing and every day offers us a mind-boggling array of choices. The specialty coffee business is also growing, driven by the ever more discerning approach consumers are taking to choosing their coffee, preferring quality to quantity.
They are increasingly aware of what a good cup of coffee is and the values it brings with it. And because coffee is turning more and more into a journey of exploration, I see the world of espresso and that of alternative brewing methods as complementary. The main thing is that whatever method is used to extract the coffee, the qualities of the bean are brought out to the full. There are various roasting methods, variously suited to the different extraction processes, and coffee’s holistic nature is one of the best things about the beverage.”
Holistic, and wholly international: coffee consumption is growing also in producer countries, especially in Asia, with China one of the main emerging countries with the strongest growth.
And there could be something else new about SCAE at the 2017 edition of Host: its unifcation with SCAA, Specialty Coffee Association of America.SCAE members have already voted overwhelmingly in favour of unification, while SCAA members still have to vote. We asked Apostolopoulos himself to talk about the motivations behind the proposed move. “By joining forces in this way, we can combine our financial and intellectual resources to invest more intensively in research, professional development and sustainability, which will in turn translate into more programmes, events and services for our members.
We’re talking here about such aspects as using shared resources to build a whole community around speciality coffee, and improving access to training, to education and to competitions that give members recognisability and competitive edge, to a platform of services that assure our members value at local level, but in a global context, along with a range of events at both local and international level, and to a greater development of the network of associates who will find both real and virtual places in which to meet, to interact and to share their knowledge beyond the confines of their local communities. We will focus more on research, in such a way that every member can improve and innovate, we will codify global standards and certification to guarantee an experience that goes beyond expectation, and we will do much more besides.”