I agree. You need not be person or business specializing in "coffee perfection" to be a member of the SCAA. All you need is to pay membership dues. A scary thing is that Folger's CAN become a member of the SCAA simply by paying dues each year. Sure, many businesses that flaunt the SCAA sticker are "on the level", including our wonderful host, but unfortunately you can't take a deep breath, and be assured of a quality cup of coffee wherever you see the SCAA logo. The SCAA has no quality requirments for membership, although I will say it DOES set a flimsy "bar", in that usually the person who applies for membership atleast WANTS to learn what good coffee is. But certainly that desire is not enough. People are limited by what they know and what they are used to. If they know how to do business with a subpar exporter for 10 years, and all the sudden decide to join the SCAA, they more than likely won't change exporters. Likewise if they think dark roasting IS coffee, joining the SCAA will likely not change their opinion. So many other factors eat away at the guarantee of the SCAA logo as well- personal beliefs regarding quality, work ethic, smarts, care, creativity, etc. I think you can separate businesses that shine the SCAA logo into two categories- those that want to invest in the future of great coffee, and those that think it might be good for the business end. I can easily assume for which reason all the great coffee businesses apply for membership (investment in the future of coffee). I think it's more like great coffee businesses are doing the SCAA a favor by paying dues... By contrast, I think that the ONLY logo that ensures a quality cup of coffee nowadays is the CoE (assuming the cup you are buying is a CoE coffee). However there are numerous coffees that are outstanding without the CoE mark, and so unfortunately this is not an exaustive label. -Has anyone experienced better coffee from an SCAA member store or shop than we already get daily? I have yet to be wowed, except at Hines Public Market, and that because of an incredible Barista, not because of an SCAA membership. Hope they sell lots of memberships and post their decals where everone can see them. Oh, is Folger's a member?
As far as the Roasters' Guild goes, here are my thoughts... I am angry and frustrated that membership is offered to professionals only, as there is a limited amount of information for the avid homeroaster to find in bookstores or on the web. What I am most attracted to about the Roasters' Guild are the lectures they offer. Unfortunately, without a doubt that information is gold as far as I'm concerned- It is a rare commodity. Unless you are an apprentice for a roaster with years of experience or have roasted with many experts throughout your life you have no other way of accessing the art and science of roasting. I think it is a shame that after a certain point, information on coffee-roasting becomes a rare commodity. No one with a passion for knowlege of the art and science of roasting coffee should be denied access to that information. I can understand that maybe right now resources and organization may be thin, and so it might not be possible, but I hope in the future the SCAA goes out of its way to provide access to all who are interested. I think that would only be fitting of an organization that sets out to set the bar of specialty or quality coffee. One can argue that homeroasters are not involved in busineess, but that argument is flawed. The times are a changing. Homeroasting IS a business. It's the newest growing sector of the coffee industry. More and more people are homeroasting each year. And more and more homeroasters want to produce quality coffee. In fact, most people turn to homeroasting in order to get quality coffee! Therefore you can't set out to raise the bar or set the standard of quality coffee while excluding homeroasters!
Jeremy DeFranco wrote: <Snip> Jeremy: Allow me to play the unenviable role of newbie devil's advocate here for a moment. I've just started roasting this year, have almost no time or tenure on this list, and have ruined more beans than successfully roasted. But having worked in and for various trade organizations (in a variety of industries - financial services, construction reprographics, professional musicians), might I ask WHY the commercial roaster should feel that "No one with a passion for knowledge of the art and science of roasting coffee should be denied access to that information."? The information they have gleaned over the years, as you accurately describe, is the "gold" - that which separates them from the popular "specialty" mass marketing firms (colloquial rep for boutique coffee, but in reality just average joe, heavily sold). This is both their competitive advantage and competitive barrier to entry, which they understandably want to protect. It seems to me the offer to invite a small number of homeroasters to a predominantly commercial event is INCREDIBLY magnanimous and generous...not many professional organizations I've been a part of have made similar inclusionary gestures that I remember. I might argue the commercial artistan roaster has a vested interest in NOT allowing "anyone with a passion for knowledge of the art and science of roasting...." to access the knowledge without constraint. Just my 0.02, and I stand to be corrected. Regards, Tim
As the first one to whine in the thread (geez, I didn't mean to incite a mob to march on the tower with scythes, pitchforks and presspots in hand), I agree that this kind of offer is wonderful -- though as I hinted, willingness to share the results proves goodwill. My gripe literally reduces to having to price certifying my palate. It's insane. First, I have to be a member of the SCAA. Then I get to join the roaster's guild. I don't have to be a professional, all I have to do is have the money. This reduces to the "if it's worth it to you, you'll make a way." Not all bad -- but not fun when I'm perrennially behing on basic life infrastructure finances. Having said all that, I've mentioned before, I think, that I don't mind the Big Boys all that much. Good grief, go look up the Proctor and Gamble patents from the 70s, and read 'em. You will learn things. I mean, LEARN things. Amazing, amazing coffee engineering. And it's free for the pickin' for home roasters, who aren't likely to be guilty of patent infringement with their tinkering! - Scott On 9/25/06, Tim Wat wrote: <Snip>
Scott, You have me curious. What did Proctor and Gamble do in the 70s with regards to coffee engineering? Steve On 9/25/06, Scott Marquardt wrote: <Snip>
Quick search rendered: Folgers Krups Mr. Coffee Black & Decker Millstone If that isn't coffee, then what was? (Is reserved for fresh coffee, sorry) Brett On 9/25/06, Steven Sobel wrote: <Snip> -- Cheers, Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com