June 9, 2012

The SCAA Annual Expo

Portland, Oregon was this year’s host of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual exposition and the USA Barista Championship. The Scale of the expo is huge; 10,000 people visited the convention centre. That week from all over the world, including dozens from the Australian Coffee industry. It seemed that you couldn’t go anywhere in Portland or Seattle without bumping into an aussie.

The trade floor is always full of interesting products – many with a bias towards brewed coffee, as that’s typically still the bulk of the US market. But, this is also the regional home of espresso in the USA, and good coffee was easy to find. Below are the winners of Best New Product (judged by SCAA) and the People’s Choice awards (judged by the show attendees). Expect to see these on Australian shores at a café near you soon.


BEST NEW PRODUCT – People’s Choice Award
CATEGORY: Coffee or Tea Preparation & Serving Equipment (Commercial)
COMPANY: Wilbur Curtis Co.
PRODUCT: Curtis Gold Cup Brewer

Wilbur Curtis is best known for their high volume commercial brewers. This new product is a single cup brewer that meets the Specialty Coffee Association America (SCAA) and Specialty Coffee Association Europe (SCAE) standard for Gold Cup brewing. Consistent water temperature in the boiler is complemented with a touch screen interface, to recall set brewing parameters like time, pulse, infusion and volume. The unit also boasts a USB interface, so getting the same settings to a range of sites across town or around the world is as easy as sending an email. As long as you are accurate in the ground coffee dosage, you will get a repeatable, consistent American style brew from the Curtis Gold Cup Brewer.


CATEGORY: Coffee or Tea Preparation & Serving Equipment (Commercial)
COMPANY: Alpha Dominche Limited

Alpha Dominche was founded in 2011 by Khristian Bombeck (10 year café/roastery owner) and Tymer Tilton (an industrial designer, architect and former barista), and together they have built the STEAMPUNK.

Released at SCAA 2012 as a full working prototype, it will go into production towards the end of this year. First impression is that the Steampunk is an industrial 4 group coffee plunger, but it actually works more like a semi automated syphon brewer. Water from the 20 litre boiler is mixed with steam and air and introduced to the borax glass crucibles to mix with the coffee. When ready, the barista introduces a small amount of cold water into the bottom, and the coffee is syphoned out. The plunger is then removed with the spent grounds, and it’s ready for the next brew. Confi guration of each parameter for each of the four brewers is managed on an integrated touch screen. Very well made and with a huge visual impact, this brewer should be a hit.


CATEGORY: Coffee or Tea Preparation & Serving Equipment (Consumer)
PRODUCT: Coffee & Tea Cups

During a coffee tasting session, Mitch Bangert was told to cup his hand around the back of the paper cup to get the full effect of the rising aroma. This was the trigger for his “light bulb moment”, and soon after the Offero was born.
Starting out with a single prototype, the range has quickly grown to include coffee cups, cupping bowls, wine glasses and beer glasses that not only look great, but they have the distinct raised back that directs the aroma all around your nose while you drink from it.

This is already a great product and thanks to the willingness of the company owner to listen to new ideas, it’s under constant feedback based development. The range of styles, colours and sizes will grow over time, and all the products can be branded to suit the customer. It won’t be long before we see this great product in Australia being used for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, wine, beer, whisky and any drink where you want to savour the aroma and taste.


BEST NEW PRODUCT – People’s Choice Award
CATEGORY: Coffee or Tea Preparation & Serving Equipment (Consumer)
COMPANY: Behmor Inc.
PRODUCT: Brazen Coffee Brewer

Designed to meet or exceed the official Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Brew Standards, the Behmor Brazen should revolutionise the domestic coffee market in bench top brew machines. What looks like a modern variant of a drip machine, the Brazen is actually closer to an automated and repeatable electronic pour over and can produce a stunning coffee. The brew water is heated in the upper chamber and the temperature is confi gurable between 90°C – 98°C in fractions of a degree.

When the water is at the set point, then the adjustable pre-soak/infusion can take place before the shower dispersion screen adds the remaining water, allowing the coffee to bloom in much the same way as a pour over technique. The coffee then runs through the mesh filter and into a dual wall insulated stainless steel carafe, allowing the coffee to remain at a good drinking temperature without the need for a reheating element. Easy to use, easy to adjust, funky alien appearance and great results in the cup make it obvious why this product won the SCAA 2012 People’s Choice award.

 About the Author
Andy Freeman owns and runs Fresh roasted coffee, green beans and Australia’s biggest coffee forum.

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