ut 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."?
I didn't say a the commercial roaster should feel that way, I said the SCAA
should feel that way. They set out to define quality and specialty coffee.
Therefore why would any
organization that sets out to do this paradoxically deny a passionate
inquisitor, especially one who is perpetuating quality coffee by roasting at
home? What is the harm in educating people about quality coffee who are
interested in knowing?
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.
Or it is the "Gold" they obtained at years and years of SCAA conferences. We
are entering into a new era of all professional "pass-me-down". For good or
bad the apprentice system is falling apart in the food industry with the
rising of commercialized education. The SCAA, it seems to me, is filling the
role of education in the coffee industry. I don't beleive that opening its
doors to the ambitious home roaster will cause a bunch of coffee businesses
to go out of business. Its doors are already open to ALL who are
professionals. Starbucks could attend if it wanted to, as could Dunkin
Donuts, as can Intelligensia, as can "grandmas" coffeehouse. The playing
field is "equal". Why not include the person with the least amount of
resources, the ambitious homeroaster. Besides, how many homeroasters have
the money to open up a gourmet roasterie? And if they did, what would be so
wrong with that. I'm all for the spread of great coffee! And so I think is
the SCAA. I see nothing wrong with mediocre coffee places losing out to
coffee roasters run by true craftsmen. Also, It takes more than knowledge to
be a great craftsman. You could teach me everything you know about politics
for example, and it doesn't make me a great polititician.
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 don't see it that way. I see it as a win-win situation. The SCAA gets
money. The homeroaster gets the knowledge. Great coffeedom gets perpetuated
into the future...
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.
From what you are saying it sounds to me like you think the SCAA should
ensure the coffee industry is not oversaturated Personally I think the
coffee industry is currently flooded with mediocrity. Hence the need for the
SCAA in the first place. I think we are very far from the time when we have
to be concerned about having too many great coffee places.