Well, the guilds exist because the main body of the SCAA was doing
such a poor job serving the technical needs of the members. I
personally don't do roasters guild either; i am sure i could learn
some things but basically I live in the middle of a 24-7 roasters
guild in the bay area. With all the roasters and brokers and baristas
here, you can basically talk coffee all the time ... and there are
few areas in these parts where I can't smell at least traces of
roasting smoke at some point in the day. I think it is of huge
benefit to more isolated roasters who need contact with other
roasters, a place to bounce ideas around and improve the craft.
Anyway, my core activity is roasting samples, with only about 8-10
probat 12k batches per week - not much by roaster standards. I had
mixed reviews of the retreat this year: one person I trust most says
it was fine but they didn't learn anything. Another person said "its
what scaa always should have been" but he always says that. I think
he was happy because his team did well in the roasting competition.
the retreat is now a VERY expensive outing. not sure what people
spend but someone told me all told it cost $3500 with airfares etc.
that is a big chunk of change. Anyway, my .02 . The main issue here
is that SCAA serves a large, diverse group of "coffee-related"
enterprises, and green coffee quality paired with roasting technique
is not the main dish for many of those people. So the guilds are a
good idea, but I wish there was a completely separate org for
roasting/cupping/green coffee. In addition, it would need to separate
the quality-oriented roasters from the quantity oriented (oh, and the
later always claims to be the former, so how do you accomplish that?)
In any case, for home roasters etc, I would definitely say this: you
are NOT missing out on as much as you think. With forums like this
list and such, we talk more meaningfully about coffee than many "in
the trade" and we do it all the time , not just here and there. (ok,
we have our faults too, ie our OT deadspells on the list!) But hey,
even taking in all the chatter, there is still more substance here
than not. of course, i am biased, but i do have the view of both the
home and "pro" roasting communities.
PS: the "master roaster" requirement (last time i read it) had to do
with running a big warehouse, not a roaster. the roasters in charge
of the guild were like dunkins donuts people and such... good people,
but not small roasters.
Just to be fair, SCAA seems to be legitimately interested in
separating itself from the Folgers' of the world. Their issue is not
homeroasting, rather huge commercial coffee manufacturing. I should
give them some credit for this, we've all felt it too...
The Roasters Guild is a trade guild of the Specialty Coffee
Association of America consisting of specialty roasters dedicated to
the craft of roasting quality coffee.
Objects & Purposes
* Promote QUALITY as the principle standard for success.
* Further roasters' knowledge of and skills in the history,
fundamentals, art & science of coffee roasting.
* Encourage interaction and communication between specialty roasters.
* Foster understanding and cooperation among specialty roasters.
* Focus the voice of roasters in representing the specialty coffee industry.
* Recognize roasters that have achieved a high degree of skill and
excellence in roasting.
* Advocate linking quality product to quality ethical conduct.
* Utilize the Roasters Guild Web Site, Bulletin Board, Quarterly
Newsletter, Annual Retreat and SCAA's Annual Conference to further
achieve our objects and purposes.
* Maintain a Roasters Guild Executive Council in the form of a Board
of Directors, that will oversee and guide the guild, as well as
develop new ways to achieve quality.
* Roasting MUST be an integral part of your profession.
* Submit yearly Membership Application and Dues.
* Roasters Guild Members Company must be a good standing member of the SCAA.
* Possess a passion for coffee.
* Wish to excel at the craft of roasting.
"Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting - Tom & Maria
http://www.sweetmarias.com Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com