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SCA Launching World of Coffee Dubai in 2020 While Relocating 2018 World Championships

A photo from the convention hall at the recent SCA Expo in Seattle. The SCA currently operates the SCA Expo and World of Coffee (Europe) trade show events. Daily Coffee News photo.

The Specialty Coffee Association has just announced plans for a major new annual global coffee event, World of Coffee Dubai, to take place for the first time in conjunction with the GulfHost Show in March of 2020.

The group is also relocating world coffee championship events that were previously scheduled to take place in Dubai this September.

In partnership with the Dubai World Trade Centre, World of Coffee Dubai will be the first major annual SCA trade show outside the organization’s two primary membership regions, the United States and Europe. The coffee industry in the Middle East has been growing exponentially in recent years, and SCA Director of Communications Vicente Partida told Daily Coffee News by phone that negotiations for the show have been months in the works prior to today’s announcement.

“We’re trying our best to serve our members and the entire coffee community,” Partida said. “This allows the SCA to continue to work in a place that has an emerging specialty coffee scene.”

The announcement comes six months after the SCA announced a “deferred candidacy policy” for World Coffee Events competitors not wishing to participate in a given location based on “nationality, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual identity/orientation, health, bereavement, or force majeure.” The policy followed backlash from some prominent voices in the SCA membership citing troubling human rights issues in the United Arab Emirates, particularly regarding actions toward the LGBTQ+ community.

“We do expect the community to have questions about this,” Partida said of the new trade show at large, “and we’re for certain going to be available to handle them.”

The SCA has also announced that world coffee championships previously scheduled to take place at the GulfHost event this September in Dubai — namely the World Brewers Cup, the World Cup Tasters Championship and World Coffee Roasting Championship — will be moved to different locations.

“At the start of these conversations many months ago there were parts of our community who were concerned about their safety in the communities in which these events are being held,” Partida said. Asked whether future competition events will be held in Dubai, Partida said, “That’s yet to be seen. We don’t really know.”

The SCA plans to announce the new locations for the 2018 world championships this Friday, May 25.

We’ll have more as this story develops. In the meantime, here is today’s SCA announcement in full:

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has partnered with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to launch an annual World of Coffee Dubai trade show within the GulfHost Show beginning March 2020. This event will run in addition to the SCA’s annual World of Coffee show in Europe.

This will be the premium coffee show in the region, attracting coffee producers, manufacturers, retailers, traders, baristas, roasters and the broader industry. Designed to meet the specific needs and interests of the region’s coffee communities, the show will include the addition of SCA trade show features such as education from their Coffee Skills Program, Best New Product Awards, Design Lab Exhibits, lectures and workshops.

Coffee originated in Africa and spread to the rest of the world through the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Hosting a World of Coffee show in Dubai, a common gateway to the Middle East and Africa, represents an exciting opportunity to engage a market that ranges from coffee producing countries like Kenya and Yemen, to the many Arab cities where coffee serves as a key social drink, evident in the presence of a dallah coffee brewer on the dirham coin in UAE.

In recent years, the MENA region has seen strong growth in specialty coffee, driven by a historic coffee culture that’s woven into everyday life, as well as a diverse and international community of consumers.

GulfHost has partnered with SCA on three occasions to host the Cezve/Ibrik Championships, and as part of SCA’s purpose to foster local coffee communities, launching World of Coffee Dubai represents a significant step towards increasing engagement in the region.

As a result of these new directions in partnership, the SCA, World Coffee Events, and DWTC have mutually agreed not to host any World Coffee Championships at GulfHost in September 2018. World Coffee Events will share more details about the location of these competitions this Friday, May 25th.

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