In collaboration with the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, World Coffee Events is this year debuting a program called “Re:co — The Specialty Coffee Symposium” that it describes as “a gathering of the greatest minds and most influential thinkers in the coffee industry.”
Leading into World of Coffee 2015 over two days next June in Gothenburg, Sweden, Re:co is conceptually similar to SCAA Symposium, which over the past six years has solidified its place as a kind of high-end learning environment outside the traditional trade event seminar box.
London’s Square Mile Coffee Roasters Co-Founder, author and outspoken specialty coffee ambassador James Hoffmann has been charged with helping lead the Re:co programming. World of Coffee soft-announced the debut event last month, but on his personal blog today, Hoffmann gives some insight into the purpose of the program, all the while paying homage to SCAA Symposium (The full Re:co lineup will be announced in early 2015). Hoffmann writes:
For the last few years I’ve been a loud supporter and proponent of the SCAA’s Symposium, held a couple of days before their main event each year. While I’ve enjoyed, and been grateful for, the opportunity to be on stage there – I get a lot out of participating as an audience member. When you combine stimulating or inspiring talks with a room full of people, who are passionate and active in the industry, then I think you have a great environment for gaining understanding and an overview of the wider industry. You can see opportunities for effective collaboration, for innovation, for exploration. You get a better idea of both where you want to go, as an individual or a business, and how that could be possible. This is invaluable.
I’ve repeatedly described running a business as being quite a lonely, isolating experience. (Even if you have business partners there is still a feeling of isolation). I’ve yet to meet anyone who really disagrees with this. Events like Symposium (or NBC, or even Barista Camp) feel like something of an antidote for that.
For a better understanding of SCAA Symposium and, by extension, an idea of what kind of material might be expected at the inaugural Re:co Symposium, here’s Hoffman on the Symposium stage in Portland in 2012 discussing a collective re-envisioning of the retail experience (video courtesy of SCAA):