Breaking via SCA this morning, the international organization has reached an agreement with Dubai World Trade Center to move the 2018 World Brewers Cup, World Cup Tasters Championship and World Coffee Roasting Championship events from Dubai in September 2018. This comes as part of a new agreement with DWTC and GulfHost, Dubai’s annual food and beverage trade show, to bring SCA educational and awards programming to the region as part of an annual partnership with GulfHost beginning in 2020.

A new site for the 2018 events is forthcoming from the SCA. Here’s the exact language on 2018 events changes from today’s SCA press release:

As a result of these new directions in partnership, the SCA, World Coffee Events, and DWTC have mutually agreed not to host any World Coffee Championships at GulfHost in September 2018. World Coffee Events will share more details about the location of these competitions this Friday, May 25th.

Here’s the complete text from today’s press release:

World Of Coffee Dubai Taking Place at GulfHost Show March 2020 

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has partnered with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to launch an annual World of Coffee Dubai trade show within the GulfHost Show beginning March 2020. This event will run in addition to the SCA’s annual World of Coffee show in Europe.

This will be the premium coffee show in the region, attracting coffee producers, manufacturers, retailers, traders, baristas, roasters and the broader industry. Designed to meet the specific needs and interests of the region’s coffee communities, the show will include the addition of SCA trade show features such as education from their Coffee Skills Program, Best New Product Awards, Design Lab Exhibits, lectures and workshops.

Coffee originated in Africa and spread to the rest of the world through the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Hosting a World of Coffee show in Dubai, a common gateway to the Middle East and Africa, represents an exciting opportunity to engage a market that ranges from coffee producing countries like Kenya and Yemen, to the many Arab cities where coffee serves as a key social drink, evident in the presence of a dallah coffee brewer on the dirham coin in UAE.

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In recent years, the MENA region has seen strong growth in specialty coffee, driven by a historic coffee culture that’s woven into everyday life, as well as a diverse and international community of consumers.

GulfHost has partnered with SCA on three occasions to host the Cezve/Ibrik Championships, and as part of SCA’s purpose to foster local coffee communities, launching World of Coffee Dubai represents a significant step towards increasing engagement in the region.

As a result of these new directions in partnership, the SCA, World Coffee Events, and DWTC have mutually agreed not to host any World Coffee Championships at GulfHost in September 2018. World Coffee Events will share more details about the location of these competitions this Friday, May 25th.

Sprudge Media Network has reached out to representatives of the Speciality Coffee Association for comment and will update this story as quotes come in.

This story is developing…

Update #1 12:05 PM PST

To learn more about today’s decision, Sprudge co-founder Zachary Carlsen spoke by phone from London with SCA Director of Communications Vicente Partida.  “We’ve been talking to our partners for some time and we’ve wanted to come to an agreement that was mutually beneficial and good for the community,” explains Partida. On the call with Partida, we learned that the grassroots community reaction to the Dubai decision and initial deferred candidacy announcement played a significant role in today’s decision to move the competitions out of Dubai. “Quite a lot I would say, because from the very beginning we were hearing from members and people in our community—not just the United States and Europe, but the Middle East and North Africa as well,” Partida told Sprudge.

Partida credits the months of work that the volunteers of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) Task Force and Deferred Candidacy Policy (DCP) Ad Hoc Committee put in to address the decision to host world competitions in Dubai. Partida tells Sprudge they listened to “LGBTQ members about where we were holding events, compulsory events, like the coffee championships—quite a lot of input from our community has gone into this.”

“I would of course also credit the hard work of the Events Site Criteria ad hoc committee and our partners at the Dubai World Trade Center who have been incredibly gracious throughout this whole process,” says Partida. “They, just like everyone on staff and in our volunteer leadership groups, wanted to make sure that the SCA could continue supporting the local coffee community in the MENA region at GulfHost. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with them.”

Update #2 2:45 PM PST

For additional comment, Sprudge Media Network with Liz S. Dean, an active coffee professional whose work includes roles at the The Wing, the Barista Guild of America, and on multiple committees at the Speciality Coffee Association. (Dean is also a Sprudge Media Network editorial advisory board member.) “Last week I was in Raeliehg to part of a meeting of advisory councils for the SCA, including the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force,” Dean tells Sprudge. “It was really interesting to see how this work happened, and how these conversations have become so necessary. Talking to the folks on the SCA event council, it was clear that what had transpired from the initial decision to host these events in Dubai was not okay. People get that this is not okay, and that people can’t just make these decisions without thought about the impact. I find this really, really encouraging.”

“Everyone I’ve talked to and interacted with have understood the gravity of this,” Dean continues. “That’s what’s been great about this work. The announcement today has shown that a there are a lot of people who get that this needs to change, and we need to make up for missteps.

From my perspective I thought the Dubai decision was set and done, so I’m excited to see that today’s message isn’t just, “we’ll do better in the future”—it acknowledges that these are things we need to talk about here and now, but also that there are actions we can take as well to change things. It’s proof that there are no excuses for inaction.”

We’ll continue to update this post as more information becomes available. 

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