On The Tragedy In Boston


In light of the unbelievable tragedy that occurred yesterday in Boston, it feels inappropriate for us to be posting machine tech reviews, or product launch coverage, or competition recaps. We’ll return to our regularly scheduled coverage soon, but not today.

Today we want to share the words of our colleague and friend Ric Rhinehart, Executive Director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. It’s a testament to specialty coffee – the industry we report on, the community we love – that we can look to our leadership to take on these bigger moments with words of eloquence and compassion.

Here’s Ric Rhinehart:

“I am still a bit dazed by it all as I sit here in Logan Airport waiting for my flight. After a week of hyper-activity, intense sharing, and re-energizing connectivity with the coffee family, the tragic culmination to the week we all experienced yesterday was especially heart breaking. For most of us, extreme emotional volatility is as unwelcome as extreme market volatility, and we got it in spades yesterday. Still, on reflection, I must be grateful that many of my prayers were answered, and it looks as though all in our coffee family survived without any physical wounds. The staff and Board of the SCAA all reported in, and all indications are that all of our members, exhibitors and guests are also unmarked by the explosions.

“For me personally, prayer remains a powerful solace, and I encourage all of you to connect with your universal truth in whatever manner you find most successful. We have much to appreciate, much to celebrate and much to overcome. In spite of it all, I remain convinced that reason can overcome fanaticism, that dialog trumps violence, and that most enduring of all, love will always outshine hate. Bless you all wherever you find yourselves today and thank you for all the positive energy you generate.”

We’re going to open the comments to this post so that Sprudge readers can share their Boston experiences with the wider community. We’ll be posting our own experience there; if you have the words, we encourage you to do the same. Our hearts are breaking for the families of the victims in Boston, but thank God that you, the person reading these words right now, are safe and okay and hopefully drinking a nice cup of something. Let’s talk together more in the comments below.

Thanks Ric, from all of us.



  1. Lisa Pelo

    17 April

    Last Thursday, we went site seeing and walked down Boylston Street but didn’t realize we walked right past the site of what was going to be a terrible tragedy at the finish line. We left Monday morning on an early flight and saw the news on Virgin’s satellite TV about a half hour after the explosions.

    I had been sorting through family photos on my laptop and looking forward to getting home to my husband and two boys. It was hard to comprehend what was happening on the ground. We were shocked and very concerned for all the people we met during the weekend and the friends who said they were staying past Monday. We hope everyone who was at the expo is okay and grieve for the victims and their families. Events like this help to put everything in perspective and is a reminder that everyday on earth is a gift. Appreciate your loved ones and give lots of hugs and smiles!

  2. lem butler

    17 April

    Thanks Ric/Sprudge!
    My wife and I chose to sleep in Monday morning instead of watching some of the marathon which was not too far from our hotel. We were on separate flights so I had lunch in my terminal alone as I watched Lelisa Desisa Benti win the the men’s marathon. I was actually a little angry with myself for sleeping in instead of watching Benti win in person. I arrived in DC later that day to my twitter feed continuously updating me about the horrible event. Immediately I thought of my wife who was on a later flight (she got out okay); then I thought of my family in Boston (after many calls, they were all fine); my co-workers (all fine) and then all the visitors in town for the trade show (thanks again Ric, sounds like everyone was fine). Today, I am feeling low for all those killed and injured as well as the family members who did not receive the news they wanted to hear. I hope they all can find peace. It makes my heart heavy thinking of the victims, but to see Bostonians rally to help in anyway possible lifts my soul and proves that Love always conquers Evil.
    Love Boston!

  3. Ben Cram

    16 April

    I was really sad that I couldn’t be in Boston for the event. Then the story of the explosion broke and all thoughts of coffee and the fun of the event I was missing were set aside. The names of all the people I know well and less well that were in Boston started going through my head. Through texting and checking twitter feeds I was relieved to see that everyone was ok. For that, I am really grateful.
    Thanks for printing Ric’s words above.

    My thoughts are with anyone that suffered from this horrible senseless thing.

  4. I was in my office in Portland checking on the #SCAA2013 Twitter feed, not entirely content with having come home a day early. The tweets were disorienting at first. The first one I looked at said, simply, “Nauseated.” Then, from my comfy distance, I watched the reports pouring in from @coffeegeek and @ghowellcoffee, @NickKristof, @BostonGlobe and friends in Boston. Nervous inquiries flew back and forth: “Are u ok?”

    From 2,000 miles away, I was transfixed on the news unfolding in real time—my first virtual American tragedy, the new quintessentially modern experience. The surreal dislocation of being so close and so far away. The reports and the retractions. I replayed the tape of walking down Boylston last Thursday after a long day at #SYMP2013, watching crews setting up the bleachers at the finish line. I thought then: “Could you measure the sum total of the motion and energy a crowd of runners contains?”

    Everywhere I went last week, the city of Boston was full of runners, running. It was almost magical—the constant human machinery of forward motion. Maybe the only thing to do is #keeprunning.

  5. Brett Jameson

    16 April

    Our flight back to Texas wasn’t scheduled to leave Logan until around 7p yesterday so we saw the day as an opportunity to explore some parts of Boston that we hadn’t seen the previous days.

    One of the things that we, as I’m sure that most of you do, enjoy experiencing in cities are the local coffee shops, and we hit a couple of them yesterday and were just leaving Render headed towards Boston Common when the bombs went off. We were somewhere between .5-1mi away from the explosions and did hear them, but at this distance they weren’t very loud and didn’t really sound any different than hundreds of other noises you hear in a city on a normal day.

    As w e continued our walk on Columbus towards Boston Common we heard the first police siren and the car came racing past us, which we also didn’t really take too much notice of, as this happened multiple times over the weekend. However, shortly after this first car came another, along with a fire truck. I’d say this was when we first began to wonder what was going on, and then almost immediately after these two crossed our path, sirens erupted everywhere.

    As we continued our walk a lot of the people from the marathon started coming onto Columbus and what I will always remember was a woman wearing a marathon windbreaker, with a far away look, on the verge of tears just saying “they blew up the marathon.” This was the first that we had any idea as to what really happened.

    At this point people were flooding onto the sidewalks of Columbus, police were directing traffic and emergency response vehicles were everywhere heading towards the scene of the explosions. We had gotten text messages out to tell everyone we were okay and to keep up updated as to what was going on. A text came back saying that it was being reported that the bombs were in trash cans (which we now know wasn’t the case), so a little thought went through our heads every time we passed by a trash can the rest of the walk.

    We made it off of Columbus onto Arlington, and into the park where people were everywhere standing, sitting, walking, almost everyone in a daze as we all tried to get a grip on what had happened. We just walked on through the park and headed back to our hotel to grab our bags and did our best to just get to the airport early.

    The police presence at the airport was impressive and definitely helped to put our nerves at ease. Our flight didn’t end up leaving until about 9pm and the first time that we actually were able to see the news coverage was on the in flight television. It was a really strange feeling to have been so close to where everything happened and to then watch it all on television as you are flying away from Boston.

    Today, we’re all wearing Red Sox hats at work, as our show of support for everyone affected.

  6. Joyce Klassen

    16 April

    Thank you for sharing Ric Rhinehart’s heartfelt comments. Late last night I realized that Kyra Kennedy and I walked down Boylston Street, from Boston Common, last Wednesday night. We did a quick few stops on the “Freedom Trail” and took Boylston to the restaurant where we were having dinner with other Symposium attendees. Along the way, we saw the UCC church “Old South” and went to see it. It is a member of the same denomination that I attend and is a stunningly beautiful old, old church. It is exactly opposite the Finish Line at Boston Public Library. It sends shivers up my spine to think that just five days ago, we dashed along the street, full of excitement and thinking of all the opportunities ahead for us that week at the coffee convention. Now that street holds very different memories for so many people today. Thoughts and prayers are with all those who are grieving and in pain, and who feel trapped in their fear and worries. May they find freedom and peace again soon.

  7. Nich Hulsebus

    16 April

    My heart breaks for the victims and their families, at the same time is filled with grattitude that everyone in the coffee community made it home safe.

  8. jordan michelman

    16 April

    the first we heard about it was immediately after going through security at Logan Airport. Zachary and I noticed a huge cluster of folks watching TV in the main concourse, and at first I figured it was like…another play-off for The Masters or something. And then our phones started ringing from family, friends, and we started trying to inventory who could possibly be down there that day, who we should try and get in touch with.

    The night before, I remember having a conversation with our photographer Charlie Burt and friend Jay Presto, about how they were going to try and get down to the finish line and take pictures. Turns out they stayed out really late the night before – I think we kind of all did – and so they slept in on Monday instead, and didn’t make it to the race at all. Staying out late and partying at coffee events can be a very good thing.

    Some other friends were right there earlier in the day, or just blocks away when it happened. We were probably the last flight out before they grounded all flights at around 5pm, although I guess that didn’t last long. When we landed in Portland, gobs of local news media were there to film us getting off the plane, especially marathon runners in logo’d track jackets making their way home.

    Thank God everyone I know is safe, and like so many people around the world, my prayers today are with the victims. What a surreal, bizarre end to an otherwise wonderful week in Boston with some of my favorite people in the world. Ugh.

    Hug everyone you know and pet your cats.

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