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SCA’s Canadian Chapter Pulling Out of Numerous World Coffee Competitions

The Canadian chapter of the Specialty Coffee Association has announced that it will not be sending Canadian national champions of various SCA-sanctioned world coffee championship events in Dubai (UAE) and Brazil next year.

The announcement, made Thursday, Nov. 10, came a day after the SCA Board of Directors announced a new “deferment policy” for world coffee competitions that allows competitors to defer their participation in any world championship to the next competition year, should they be “prevented from participating in a world championship event due to nationality, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual identity/orientation, health, bereavement, or force majeure.”

That announcement followed backlash from within the specialty coffee community after the SCA announced in September that Dubai, where LGBTQ rights are not recognized, would be a 2018 host city. The group — which represents a merger of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe that took place last year — then announced it was revisiting the selection of Dubai as a host city.

In last week’s “deferment policy” announcement, the SCA said concerns regarding the LGBTQ community also “surfaced broader questions around a full spectrum of barriers that exist for international competitors to participate in many of the regions that host our events.” In addition to allowing deferments, the SCA said it is assembling an ad hoc committee to establish vetting processes for future World Coffee Events sites and partners, while pledging to report on that committee’s work by the end of this year.

The deferment policy announcement was met by immediate backlash by a number of prominent organizations within the specialty coffee community, including the news site Sprudge, which said it was withdrawing as an SCA “media partner,” effective immediately. The details of the partnership deal were not made public.

For its part, SCA Canada said the chapter could not support the deferment policy “in good conscience,” and that Canadian competitors will not be attending the World Cup Tasters Championship and World Brewers Cup in Dubai (Sept. 2018), or the World Latte Art Championship and the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championships in Brazil (Nov. 2018).

“We cannot, in good conscience, ask our members to choose between compromising their safety, disclosing unnecessarily, not competing in the first place, or any of the other options this policy might require,” SCA Canada said in the announcement signed by SCA Canada coordinators Josh Hockin, Sam Le, Vania Ling, Adam Pesce and  Mike Strumpf. “We believe our community is worth more than deferment requests and qualifying circumstances. As a Chapter, we must stand for human rights for all.”



Paul Katzeff

I applaud the Canadian SCA for its principled stand against the multi national hoax that was created in ignorance by the SCAA staff and Board over the past 2 years. The Policy that was created does not reflect the vast majority of the united States members of the original SCAA founded in 1983 and corrupted and disbanded in 2017.
Twelve past Presidents of the SCAA, many of them Charter members and most of them the original founders and builders of the organization, fought against the merger with the SCAE because , although no one envisioned this particular conflict of interest, we knew that something like this would happen.
The USA and Canada SCA’s are much more diverse and thus , much more progressive then our counterparts in the rest of the world. With the world turning toward the right, with anti gay, anti immigrant, anti semitic, and pro Nartionalism,
it was easy to see in advance that the merger of the continents around coffee was not
going to be easy or able to allow the new organization to remain, personal. And for that reason, the dialog around this issue did not produce Policy that reflects the Progressive nature of the North American membership.
I also commend the leaders at Sprudge for withdrawing their support for the SCA.
Thanksgiving Coffee has been a member since 1983, the first year of the Charter.
This year, 2017, will be the last year that Thanksgiving Coffee will be a member, We will not renew our membership and I urge all members who read this to send a strong message to the SCA Board in a similar fashion.
It pains me to say this. Perhaps it’s time to start over, using what we have learned to create a Trade organization that can take advantage of all that we have learned so far.
Paul Katzeff
Past President ,1885, 2000

Dan Cox

Good for you Paul for making a clear and deliberate stance on the situation at SCA. I agree that it’s a mess and that the paid leadership seems to have gone dark when it comes to responding to its members and other coffee organizations. We need a change of leadership and a full review of the strategy going forward.


I find it interesting, even disturbing, that some of the host venues are in nations that have abysmal human rights records on various bases….. some engage in relentless persecution based purely on one’s religious faith, in addition to the “categories” named by SCA in their list of reasons for the deferral.

This mess is one aspect of the merger I did not forsee, and I trow few others did. WHY are such venues selected in the first place? WHY does the new organisation award nations with such wretched human rights records at all?

There is another mess few saw coming, yet is adversely affecting many of us who have invested long hours, large amounts of money, and our skills (teaching) toward the old but effective system of proficiency certificates in the various categories. Not seeing it coming we are now all forced into completing any active certificate attempts by the end of the year…. when there are few venues providing the needed coursework on an a la carte basis instead offering only complete programmes, which are dwindling as the deadline approaches. I do not recall any requests for effective input as this new programme was being developed, only the shock when it was revealed to us as a done deal.

There are manynthings I do NOT like about the new programme… many of us learn far more effectively and usably when we are exposed to a given range of subjct matter over time, and from many different instructors and resources. Many of us cannot absorb the entire programme’s content in a week…. andmostly from a few instructors that work together regularly. It becomes much like the old days of cramming during the last week of the quarter to “pass th exams” never mind actually LEARNING the material. I value my education far more than this, as I really want to LEARN the material in depth and that takes learning some aspects of it, then putting that to work for a season to “make it mine”, later coming back and adding more onto the basic fundations and again using those things over time. To attempt to absorb everything in a week is folly. I fear we will be seeing a loss in real proficiency and at this point question whether I will even invest the money and time (and travel/accomodations) to persuing the new programme from the beginning as I will lose all the work I’ve done so far, at least as regards the “official” recognition of it all. It is far too polished, one size fits all, package deal take it or leave it.

Had WE actually ahd much effective input as the programmes were being merged, I rather expect things might have gone differently.. at least, continuing the existing programme yet one more year, and assuring the needed classes would be available as they had been in the past. I stongly believe we have settled for far less than we need or deserve. And I say this as a fairly experienced station instructor in several areas of subject matter expertise. The association have settled for far less than should have been acceptible.

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