Announced via email this morning, members of the Specialty Coffee Association of America trade organization have voted “yes” to unify with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe. More than half of eligible voters turned in ballots in the election, and of those a 62% mandate ratified the “yes” option, as pert the SCAA.


SCAE voters ratified a similar vote back in May, following a worldwide get-out-the-vote effort. North American voting efforts met fierce resistance from a bloc of past SCAA presidents, and we described the scene in our July reporting on the ongoing vote stateside: “Policy papers have been published; Facebook accounts have been ruthlessly trolled.” Now as the dust settles, some ten thousand coffee professionals across the United States and Europe have voted to join forces and form a new, as-yet unnamed international coffee trade organization.

Here’s the full text from today’s SCAA email news release:

As the individuals that you elected to represent you, our charge is and will continue to be to grow value for our members, to find new and better ways to achieve our common goals and be proactive to a changing world that demands new approaches to achieve success. We thank you for that opportunity to serve you and make coffee better for all of us.

Ultimately, it is you, the members, who have ushered in the next phase of specialty coffee advocacy and innovation. Thank you for your passion, your dedication, your questions, and your time. Thank you for taking the time to attend webinars, in-person meetings and participating in all the important conversations that have taken place over the last year. Thank you for making sure your voice was included in the dialogue. And most importantly, thank you for casting your vote.

Now we will get to work on the next steps in this process. Over the remainder of 2016 a great deal of planning and prep work will continue to happen with the Board, other volunteer leadership and staff to drive us forward in the right direction, however for the most part many programs and benefits will not change during this time period. We will continue to be two separate organizations through the remainder of the year as much focus is put on infrastructure and planning for a shared future.

However, we remain fully committed to open lines of communication with our members, and ensuring that members are the first to know as next steps are taken. When something important is about to happen, you will be the first to know. Some of our immediate goals are:

  • Achievements and milestones in combining the education programs into one single, harmonious, global education program, led by volunteer instructors and experts
  • New research to examine and better understand coffee science, consumer preferences, and everything in between
  • Advancements in sustainability efforts
  • New opportunities for member engagement as we operationalize the new bylaws and strategic plan
  • The same suite of SCAA Events you know and love, with continued opportunities for innovation, partnership, and networking across the USA and beyond
  • Multi-cultural leadership and opportunities for development
  • Updates to membership structure to simplify, streamline, and deliver better value to members

We can’t tell you how excited we are to share this moment in our association’s history with each of you. Thank you for supporting this vision of a better future for all people in the specialty coffee industry.

The fate of the second “i” in “Speciality”—the term’s preferred European usage, as opposed to the American “Specialty” with just one “i”—is still not clear as of press time.

This story is developing…