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SCA Discusses Fate of World of Coffee 2021 as Pandemic Lingers

2018 event

The entrance to a Specialty Coffee Association event in 2018. Daily Coffee News file photo.

The Specialty Coffee Association has signaled that the future of Europe’s largest annual coffee trade show, World of Coffee, may be in doubt in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic carries on.

It’s a macabre reminder of the painful duration of the pandemic, which eliminated most in-person coffee events in 2020, including the World of Coffee 2020 (Warsaw), and its United States-based counterpart, the Specialty Coffee Expo.

World of Coffee is currently slated to take place this June in Athens, Greece, along with corresponding World Coffee Championship events. In the pre-pandemic era, the World of Coffee show had reached more than 11,000 visitors, with more than 240 exhibitors in Berlin, Germany, in 2019.

A letter signed by SCA CEO Yannis Apostolopoulos and sent to SCA members today stated that the group is currently engaged in conversations with event partners regarding the upcoming World of Coffee and World Coffee Championships. The letter promises a “firm decision” regarding the events by Friday, Feb. 26.

“The past year has been challenging for coffee and allied businesses. The SCA remains committed to enabling connections between buyers and suppliers through events like World of Coffee,” Apostolopoulos wrote. “Thank you for sticking with us through this tough time and for your patience as we sort out the next steps. We will be back in touch again before the end of the month.”

Here is the letter in full:

Dear members and friends of the Specialty Coffee Association,

I hope this email finds you well. This message is an update on the status of the 2021 World of Coffee (WOC) trade show and the World Coffee Championships (WCC), currently scheduled to take place in Athens this June.

With the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations in many countries worldwide, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, coronavirus cases continue to rise, and much uncertainty remains about the prospects of in-person events like WOC and the WCC in the next two quarters of the year.

We are in conversations with our partners, assessing the viability of moving forward with hosting the 2021 WOC and WCC events in Athens this June. Our community and staff’s health and safety remain our top priority. We are committed to communicating a firm decision to you regarding these important events by Friday, February 26.

The past year has been challenging for coffee and allied businesses. The SCA remains committed to enabling connections between buyers and suppliers through events like World of Coffee and the World Coffee Championships. Thank you for sticking with us through this tough time and for your patience as we sort out the next steps. We will be back in touch again before the end of the month.

Thank you,

Yannis Apostolopoulos
Chief Executive Officer
Specialty Coffee Association

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