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Column: On Boston and SCAA 2013’s Cruel Punctuation

Text me so I can know if you’re safe? Are you still in Boston? Please tell me you’re home and not still in Boston? Are u ok?

I had already flown home and I was OK. But these are just of the few of the many text messages I received yesterday after news broke of the horrific explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring at least 176.

Boston and explosions affect coffee communityLike many people in the specialty coffee business, I was in Boston for the 2013 SCAA Event, which was a success on all fronts: The trade show floor was a hive of innovative products and creative people; the community spirit in the activities center was palpable and inspiring among roasters and barista competitors alike; and speakers throughout the event routinely referred to the concept of community through all links in the coffee supply chain, from seed to cup. In so many ways, the gathering in Boston was a perfect reflection of an industry that relies on community building and stewardship for its very survival.

The positivity in the coffee community I witnessed at SCAA was in stark contrast to the destructive force that jarred Boston on Monday. And unfortunately for many coffee professionals, this year’s event is likely to be remembered as much for its cruel punctuation as for its many successes. As the heartbreaking stories continue to surface, the cloud that formed on April 15, 2013, has in some ways cast a permanent shadow over the city and our time there.

Of course, Boston will endure, and the coffee industry will move forward. But for now, let the positive sense of community we felt in Boston prevail over the randomness and wanton destruction of the weekend’s final act.


1 Comment

Ric Rhinehart

Thank you for accentuating the positive in spite of the heartbreaking events of Monday afternoon. I share your sense that the extraordinary people who make up our little coffee community will react with grace and a renewed commitment to making a difference to all they encounter. I for one am particularly proud to work with and for so many kind and generous spirits.

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