- Open Conversation
This year in Budapest many people could not only taste great coffee, but also meet the people from those origin countries and farmers. This is important because without those producers and farmers coffee industry cannot have an open conversation on sustainability and transparency, everyone should be involved. People from all over the world could ask about coffee and farms, taste the coffee itself and meet people who grow it. And, of course, the producers themselves could see how people cherish coffee and their hard work. A lot of people talked about production methods and producer-consumer relationships, which are getting closer with the help of technologies and digital era.
Giving more information can also make the conversation clear for everyone in the coffee industry. For this purpose, WOC in collaboration with SCA held The Sustainability Forum and WOC Lecture Series, that tried to give a clear and common understanding of what coffee industry needs and what sustainability means. Lectures were telling personal stories as well as rising topics on importance of understanding scientific, economical and ethical aspects of coffee production. Moreover, everyone had an opportunity to cup and see for themselves the difference in big variety of coffee and, what is more, guests could participate in sensory games held by CoffeeMind to check themselves and their senses.
This year Re:co Symposium was held in Budapest along with WOC, it was divided into two schedules: Talk Schedule and Interactive Schedule. As you can guess, Talk Schedule consisted of public talks from the coffee industry leaders on various topics such as “Risks and New Solutions”, “Flavor and Microbiology”, “Generations and Innovations”,’ Sensory Science and Sensory Design”. Each of the topics has smaller subtopics which were covered by several speakers. Last two days of Re:co Symposium were dedicated to Interactive Schedule that consisted of Salon Talks-smaller group discussion of topics from the first day- and Workshops. These interactive sessions allowed people practice knowledge and experience, providing tangible outcome.
- Cup it
During the World of Coffee 2017 you could cup every coffee that was on a display, companies’ representatives wanted to make experience at the expo more inclusive and interactive by adding cupping tables almost to every booth, that of course was fruitful as cupping and tasting always speaks better for the coffee than anything else. What is more, you could cup not only coffee from the exhibitors, but also from the sponsors in the official cupping rooms.
Roasting has always been important for coffee industry, and no wonder that World of Coffee had roasters gathered at one place, Roasters’ Village. There you could meet roasters and coffee shops with their beans, try new coffees and juts hang out with baristas. Of course, there were a lot of roasting machines competing for customers’ hearts and beans. In short, you cannot escape roasting if you are in coffee business and as the trend shows specialty coffee roasting level is getting lighter and lighter to show true flavor of coffee. What is more, people in Europe pay close attention to the quality of the beans and little by little change their preferences from traditional espresso to fresh and juicy filter coffee and manual brewing.
- Central American Coffee
We all know that coffees from Brazil, Colombia and Panama are great, but what about the rest of America, especially Central America? This year at WOC in Budapest you could not only try these coffees for yourself, but also see how Central American producers are getting more and more popular among coffee lovers. During the expo visitors could see coffee from Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Moreover, this year Mexico was presented by SCA as the official Portrait County for World of Coffee 2017, promoting wonderful coffee from this great country as Mexico is one of the top 10 coffee-producing countries and over half a million small farmers and their families rely on the crop for their economic survival-and if we take it in a scale of Central American countries, it will be much bigger number. Moreover, this year Café de Mexico was one of the sponsors of World of coffee in Budapest, where you could also cup amazing coffees from Mexico.
One of the main trends this year was the importance of high quality water. Companies like BWT water+more and Brita GmbH focused on providing the best quality water as it has a direct impact on the development of the coffee flavors during the extraction process and as a result on a final taste. And of course each geographical area has its own unique water, that is why we need to know it and manage it. Water chemical components are highly important for brewing a great cup, that is why all the coffee shops are very serious about their water and TDS.
Talking about machines, it does not matter if it is roasting machine, espresso machine or a drip coffee maker: all the technologies going more and more user friendly. Simple example: RØST sample roaster is an innovative 100-gram roaster that blends fluid bed and drum technology for the greatest consistency in roasting also comes with an app, allowing users to record, monitor, and control the roaster via Wi-Fi. 3TEMP also presented a new brewing machine fully controlled by a tablet, that goes with the machine.Nowadays phone is a man’s best friend, all the innovations related to controlling machines via your personal gadget, which makes it easier to brew, roast and even control the whole chain from bean to cup with the help of your best friend especially when it comes to the whole process quality: Cropster came up with an idea to track and write down everything about the coffee you work with, literally from bean to cup-in this case to roaster- to make roasters and potential byres in the end understand what exactly influenced beans and how roasting affected coffee after; this information is easily accessible on the website from any gadget. Seems like technology can finally bring transparency to the whole coffee production chain, greater automation and greater precision.
We are visual creatures that is why design is always important for us. We need to see and touch and like color and picture and only then maybe we will consider to buy something. Of course, beans’ package is no exception here, but as coffee industry grows and attracts more and more people, it is not enough anymore to have just a nice package, now you also need to attract with an interesting name or a concept-marketing as it is. Also, coffee is a lifestyle that is why now coffee is not only a package thing, it is also a clothing item: WOC 2017 was buzzing about those new barista socks-socks are not a new thing, but the concept is interesting. Creators of the project not just trying to sell out some socks, they created coffee sock for baristas and coffee lovers-also can be customized- to help to revive production in Poland, which seems as a great purpose.
- Rise of the dragons
Last but not lest, this year competitions brought a big surprise: 3 out of 4 champions are from Asia: World Brewers Cup Champion Chad Wang (Jascaffe China, Taiwan), World Cup Tasters Champion Lok Chan (Craft Coffee Roasters, Hong Kong) and World Latte Art Champion Arnon Thitiprasert (Rist8o, Thailand). Of course, we were there for every competitor, watching performances and cheering up, but also we are happy to know that coffee culture in Asia grows and develops so fast. One would expect that the third wave coffee boom would slow down and growth would flatten, yet it never happens. More and more people are getting into specialty coffee, learning about it and investing their own energy and ideas and we are happy that Asia is also a big part of this process.