The last weekend in April should have been SCA Expo weekend. This is one of the major coffee industry highlights each year, where national champions are crowned, knowledge is exchanged, and new tech is revealed. Then came COVID-19, and well, here we are.

Without an in-person audience at America’s biggest coffee conference, many coffee brands have had to pivot their big roll-outs and announcements into a digital sphere. (Indeed, so has the conference, shifting a series of educational opportunities and parties online) Some stuff has been shelved, but others have pressed on unfazed, rolling out exciting new products (and podcasts!) for an extremely online audience.

A new release is still a new release in our book, and so to capture some of that excitement we’ve rounded up a few of the new releases and updates hitting the digital airwaves. Just because you can’t go to Expo doesn’t mean you can’t go gaga for the next generation of coffee stuffs.

Do you have a new product or update that was scheduled to debut at SCA Expo? Let us know!

Short Films by Pacific Barista Series

It would not be Expo without a new roster of videos to be broadcast on the big screen. Back in the old days (a couple of months ago), I would sit next to the USBC stage live tweeting and watch these shorts on a loop between competitors, to the point where I could repeat them all word for word. But now cooped up with no comps in sight, I miss those videos dearly.

Luckily, Pacific Barista Series is bringing two new films to #ExpoWeekend for you to binge (on a loop, if that's your bag). The films, which will air before the online lectures and panels, follow two pairs of “specialty coffee pros who have distinguished themselves in competitions and in their communities,” who just so happen to represent US Barista Champions from three of the last four years: Andrea and Jon Allen of Onyx Coffee Lab and Lem Butler and Kyle Ramage of Black & White Coffee Roasters. Created by The Pour, these videos are “intimate, behind-the-scenes looks at these people's journeys to success in competition and beyond.” A one-minute preview of the videos was just released today, April 29th, and can be watched above.

La Marzocco Home Connected Espresso Machines

Announced last month, La Marzocco is making some serious improvements to the connectivity of its home espresso machines. Both the Linea Mini and GS/3 have been updated to be controlled via the new La Marzocco Home app. Remote on/off and scheduling, boiler temperature status and control, machine stats, total shot control, and auto-volumetric settings for the GS/3, the new app allows users to keep all the convenience of leaving the espresso machine on at all time while pairing it with the energy savings of turning the machine off when not in use.

This tech was teased at the 2019 edition of Host, and was set to make its North American debut at Expo. App compatibility will come standard with all new Linea Minis and GS/3s purchased, with some older versions also having compatibility. To see if your machine is app-enabled, visit La Marzocco Home's official website.

Ikawa Pro App 3.0

The Ikawa sample roaster is enough of a showstopper on its own. Sleek and streamlined, the Ikawa sample roaster is as much at home as the centerpiece of a kitchen in a modern home as it is as the consistent workhorse of a profile roaster in a warehouse roasting space. At Expo 2020 the company was set to launch a major app redesign, built around storing and sharing roast data. Building on the Cropster integration, users now have automatic backup and syncing of roast logs. The new app also allows for these logs to be organized by favorites, archived, searched, and even shared with other users, allowing for more advanced collaboration.

The Ikawa Pro App update is available to all Pro users and can be automatically downloaded/updated via the iTunes or Google Play stores.

Kickapoo Coffee Name Change

It was exactly a year ago that southwest Wisconsin's Kickapoo Coffee announced they would be completely rebranding and no longer using the Kickapoo moniker under which they had operated for well over a decade. Their use of the name, “originally intended to honor the Kickapoo River Valley [they] call home,” per their website, was one of appropriation of the Kickapoo nation, an indigenous people from the central parts of America and Mexico. That announcement came before any decisions about the rebrand had been made, and after a year in the works, the coffee company was ready to announce their restart.

Then COVID-19 happened. The new branding—name, bags, signage, merch, the whole shebang—was going to debut at Expo, but with that now cancelled the roll-out had to be postponed. The new announcement date, per the website, is “by August 3rd.” For more information about the name change or the steps Kickapoo has taken since the original announcement, visit their official website.

This feature is updating. Do you have a new product or update that was scheduled to debut at SCA Expo? Let us know!

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.