The 2022 SCA Expo in Boston in is the books, and it was quite an event indeed. As part of Sprudge’s weekend-long coverage, two-time Sprudgie Award honoree Gio Fillari hosted a lively Instagram takeover. Now let’s take a closer look at some of Gio Fillari’s favorite moments from the 2022 SCA Expo. 

As someone who’s been to their fair share of coffee expos, this was one of the most anticipated coffee events in recent memory. It’s only fitting that the 2022 Specialty Coffee Association Expo was held at the same location the last one was prior to the pandemic in 2019. From washing down hot butter lobster rolls with shots of espresso, to fitting sample bags of coffee into my carry-on luggage, being at this event gave me a nostalgic feeling that I’ve missed. Here are a few of my favorite things from the showroom floor at the Expo.

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Expo Is Back!

Reported by the SCA, over 10,000 attendees came through the doors of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center representing 40 different countries. Obviously, networking and business deals are done during these events, but the collective joy of everyone commencing over coffee was truly felt. There was a sense of fellowship among the crowd that has been brewing for a few years. The hugs and handshakes were a little bit longer this past weekend as I ran into people I haven’t seen in real life for quite some time. Latte art throwdowns hosted by Pacific Barista Series and cuppings with Café de Colombia were among some “events” within the event that garnered large crowds and evoked those old feelings we haven’t collectively felt in a while.

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Jimmy Butler Pulled up

Fresh off the Miami Open activation, BIGFACE Brand brought the energy up I-95 to Boston, along with their star player, Jimmy Butler. After hanging 20 points on the Hawks Friday night in Miami, Butler took a flight and surprised thousands in attendance at Expo, providing one of the best moments of the weekend. Starting at the Barista Magazine booth, the Miami Heat superstar signed the magazine he’s currently on the cover of. Butler would eventually make his way to visit Created Co., the brand that makes BIGFACE’s drinkware, where BIGFACE was the featured roaster for that hour. The highlight of his appearance was the time spent at the epic La Marzocco booth, a unique original buildout that I’ll talk about more a bit later int he article. A large crowd huddled around the area as Butler was serving BIGFACE. He’d round out his visit to Expo with a trip to see the crew from Deadstock Coffee at Mahlkönig’s section of the floor.

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Booth Buildouts

It seems many companies have spent the last few years ideating around creating innovative booth experiences. With over 400 exhibiting companies, it’s imperative to stand out among the rows of brands within the convention space. One of my favorites from the weekend came from Savor Brands, the premium package and design company. With two stunning buildouts, their booths caused for pause and exploration. Their primary buildout on the showroom floor was straight out of a music video. The second one was located in the Activites Hall, which was dedicated to the Pono Collective, Savor Brands demonstrated how augmented reality (AR) can be utilized at retail. Using an app, you can learn more about the curated collection of coffee roasters, farmers, and educational content by pointing the camera at the coffee bags on display. The future is here.

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Game Play

While on the theme of cool buildouts, there were a few companies that integrated gameplay into their experiences. Minor Figures brought in the video game setup, which generated a line of people attempting to beat the game’s high score. “Lenny”, a game created by Minor Figures, allows you to joyride on a skateboard while ollieing over French presses and grinding on espresso machines, which deviates from the typical grinds espresso machines are used to seeing. I was massively unsuccessful at the game, so I walked over to visit Fellow Products. They provided the carnival atmosphere with an old-fashioned ring toss-style game. A successful toss would grant the winner a brand-new Carter Everywhere Mug in their choice of color. To remain consistent with the biggest golf event during the same weekend, List + Beisler had a mini putt-putt golf course that gave people the opportunity to putt from seed to cup.

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As a key item on the list of objectives for many companies, there were several exhibitors that demonstrated sustainability during the show. A couple of them told the story through the construction of their booth, which I found fascinating. With a focus on carbon negative coffee, Daterra utilized their space to show how they’ve reimagined coffee farming with new processes of sustainable agriculture. The aesthetically pleasing buildout provided the space for those to try coffee and learn how they’re borrowing something from the Earth and giving it back. Another major highlight was the almost entirely degradable La Marzocco booth, primarily constructed of wood and cotton as they continue their push to reducing their carbon footprint. This is impressive because of the high volume of gear and attendees that were present at their buildout; it sustained. This aligns with their current practice as a company, as their factory in Florence is solar-powered.

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Beanz At Your Door

It was interesting to see companies adjust their approach as a brand based on opportunities they’ve encountered during the pandemic. As a marketing professional, I’m always curious to see who takes consumer insights to create something special. Breville learned they had an opportunity to close the loop on the coffee journey with their consumers by introducing their coffee subscription program, partners with 50 of the best coffee roasters around the US and matches flavor profiles based on your preference. This subscription pairs well with their home espresso machines, which is all bundled in their “Complete Essentials Kit.” Their vibrant buildout had multiple sides to replicate the types of coffee atmospheres and to showcase their gear. It was also host of the best events during Expo. Their “King Of The Hill”-style latte art throwdown had people lining up to claim victory.

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Coffee in 20 seconds or less!

As I was walking the floor, an individual asked if I wanted to see the world’s fastest coffee brewing method from start to finish. Although I was six or seven cups of coffee in at that point, I obliged. In the form of a sachet, Key Coffee’s Jet Brew blend is ready to drink after steeping and moving for 20 seconds. The Japanese-based company provides three easy steps for the consumer to follow if they’re desiring a quality cup of coffee in seconds. After taking a sip, I was pleasantly surprised of the quality after such a short period of time brewing. I’m interested to see which company will look to beat to dethrone Key Coffee and take the number one spot of fastest brewing method in the world.

Giovanni Fillari is Brand Marketing Specialist at Nike and the publisher of @coffeefeedpdx. He is the honorable mention Sprudgie Award recipient for Social Media in 2018 and 2021. Read more Giovanni Fillari for Sprudge.

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