World Coffee Events—the Speciality Coffee Association entity that administers the association's international coffee championships—has announced a new slate of host cities for events in 2019. They include Boston, Massachusetts, which will host the 2019 World Barista Championship and World Brewers Cup tournaments April 11th-14th; and Berlin, Germany, which will host the 2019 World Latte Art Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, World Coffee In Good Spirits Championship, and the Cezve / Ibrik Championship tournaments June 8th-10th.
This news was announced in advance of the 2018 World Barista Championship in Amsterdam, taking place June 20-23 at RAI Centre. World of Coffee Berlin 2019 was announced all the way back in 2015; it is the last World Of Coffee host city to have been determined under the old SCAE / SCAA split. Meanwhile, the US Coffee Champs have also announced their full slate of 2019 preliminary events for US Barista Championship and Brewers Cup qualifying.
These announcements comes hot on the heels of an SCA announcement regarding several remaining events in the 2018 season, initially and controversially awarded to Dubai, which will now take place in Brazil on November 7th-9th. This news is the result of a thorough review process designed to bring much-needed oversight to World Coffee Events, including the creation of a new event site selection criteria, a non-discriminatory Deferred Candidacy policy, and an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
The decision to move events from Dubai in 2018 also includes an announcement to bring SCA educational programming and additional opportunities to the MENA region on an annual basis beginning in 2020, in the form of a newly created World of Coffee Dubai event in association with GulfHost. SCA's announcement of this move called it “a significant step towards increasing engagement in the region,” and if you'll permit a bit of editorializing from us, it seems like an elegant solution to the issues, addressing the issues while keeping engagement and advancement on the table for Dubai's growing coffee scene.
Following this latest Dubai announcement, our inbox has been flooded with readers and competition fans wanting to know if Sprudge will be back to cover the SCA slate of competitions for the 2019 season. We are currently in consultation on the matter with our Editorial Advisory Board, some of whom have also served on SCA's ad-hoc committees over the last few months. Right now we're reviewing the site selection criteria and Deferred Candidacy policy drafts with our board, and listening to your feedback as readers. These new policies from SCA are currently under peer review but also live and in place—the 2019 Boston and Berlin site selections were the first to made following the new site selection criteria, according to SCA Executive Director Ric Rhinehart.
“There's an enormous amount of complexity there,” Rhinehart said of the new criteria, “not only in what factors you want to consider, but also the nature of the events, [and] if the event is compulsory, partially compulsory, or completely open. The documentation itself is complicated but clear—applying the process is more challenging.”
We are especially heartened by the work being done by the individual members of the ad-hoc committees, the full membership of which you can view here. Respect where it's due: a massive amount of soul-searching and much-needed oversight has been accomplished over the last 9 months by the individual members of these committees, and that work now appears to have been promptly implemented by the Association. “I have to say that the group did a fantastic job of distilling the complexities down and devising an approach to them,” Ric Rhinehart tells Sprudge, and we echo that sentiment.
These changes and new developments are exciting and, frankly, inspiring—because of this work, we are hopeful about our independent media company's return to involvement at future SCA events, and are in discussions with the Association now to find a path forward to make this possible.
We love these competitions—that's why we cover them with unrivaled depth and dedication, and have since 2010—and we know that many of our readers miss our approach to live coverage. Your outreach to us on this issue has been very meaningful for our entire team. Following these changes, we're optimistic about a Sprudge Media Network return to SCA Media Partner status in 2019. In the meantime, expect informal coverage from our network of staff writers and freelancers at the upcoming World Barista Championship in Amsterdam later this month.
This story is developing. Check back for updates and thank you for reading Sprudge.