Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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F O A M : N E W S + T R E N D S TOWN HALL MEETINGS BRING TOGETHER COFFEE PROFESSIONALS DISSATISFIED WITH THE SCA'S DUBAI DECISION, DEFERRED CANDIDACY POLICY ON NOVEMBER 9, World Coffee Events (WCE) and the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) announced a series of resolutions related to the controversy surrounding the decision made to host the World Brewers Cup Championship (WBrC), World Cup Tasters Champion- ship (WCTC), and World Coffee Roasting Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2018. The WCE announced the decision on November 10 during the fi rst round of the World Barista Champi- onship (WBC) in Seoul, South Korea, and included a commitment to keep the proposed competitions in Dubai as well as outlining a policy in which baristas who object to the competition site or cannot attend can pass their spot on to the next year, called the Deferred Candi- dacy Policy (DCP). Quickly after the announcement, baristas and coffee professionals from all over the world came together to discuss what the decision meant, and shared their reactions to how the SCA handled the entire dispute. Many baristas expressed confusion and frustration with the SCA because there were no clear guidelines for how the decision to host a competition in Dubai was made. United Arab Emirates has been con- demned for its laws and treatment of queer and trans folks, along with documented human rights violations, which left many baristas asking how the decision to host an event in Dubai even came up. There was much discussion about the decision at the WBC event in Seoul, but many not in attendance sought the opportunity to gather with their coffee community to discuss the ramifi cations of the pro- nouncement. Laila Ghambari, past president of the Barista Guild of America (BGA), organized what she called a town-hall meeting in Se- attle, which inspired other communities in the United States and one in the U.K. to follow suit with their own town halls, where community members could share their feelings and express grievances with the SCA and the DCP. "I'm still trying to reconcile and fully understand the SCA Dubai and DCP decisions," says Dawn Shanks, head of quality control for Peregrine Espresso in Washington, D.C. Dawn attended one of the 16 town-hall meetings to share their feelings and try to fi nd answers from the SCA representatives who attended the gatherings and fi elded questions. The SCA also hosted two online town halls for those who could not attend in person. (Editor's note: Barista Mag- azine Online reporters across the United States fi led articles about almost every town hall that took place. You can read them at Barista Magazine Online now.) Communication and transparency—or the lack thereof—seemed to be the primary focus of most town halls. Like Dawn, many baristas didn't know how the decision to host an event in Dubai was made, and questioned the vetting process of potential host cities and the structure of WCE and the SCA in general. "To begin, [the SCA] did a bad job communicating with what the structure of WCE is, and how it works," noted Adam JacksonBey, a member of DMV Coffee in Washington, D.C., a collective of baristas who host events throughout the area. "Until the virtual town hall, I had no idea who owned WCE, what WCE technically was, or how it actually worked from a structur- al standpoint." For many, the town hall meetings were the fi rst opportunity coffee community members had to learn about how the hosting application process works. Attendees found out that only two cities—Dubai, U.A.E., and Belo Horizonte, Brazil—had applied to host the 2018 World Coffee Championships. Belo Horizonte was granted hosting privileges for the 2018 World Latte Art Championship and World Coffee In Good Spirits Championships, inciting a whole other set of criticisms due to the fact that Brazil has a documented history of human rights violations and slavery. Town hall meeting attendees called on the SCA to do better. "They did a bad job communicating how the cities for WCE events were selected," says Adam. "The RFP [Request for Proposal] and the like seems pretty standard as to how such events are done, but I don't know if potential host cities technically understand that, or how they are even made aware of the process, so we don't know how big the potential pool of SCA cities are … We don't know how far that net was cast, or what efforts the SCA took to publicize it really, beyond putting it on their website." Noting his own experiences opening a café and working with con- tracts, Adam pointed out that while many SCA and WCE volunteers Top photo: A endees raise their hands to show they took issue with the language used in the Specialty Coff ee Association's (SCA) Deferred Candidacy Policy at the New York town-hall meeting hosted at Joe Coff ee on November 15. More than 30 coff ee professionals a ended to ask questions about the SCA's leadership and lack of transparency. Below: Approximately 35 coff ee professionals a ended a town-hall meeting in Portland, Ore. on November 16 at the Buckman Coff ee Factory. A endees were given a chance to express their concerns and ask questions. In a endance were members of many SCA working groups as well as Ric Rhinehart, executive director of the SCA. PHOTOS BY MONICA REIDA PHOTOS BY LAUREN LATHROP 27 www.baristamagazine.com

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