The announcement that this year’s World of Coffee event—held in Gothenburg, Sweden June 16–18—will be held in conjunction with a new coffee symposium is exciting, but not particularly surprising. What’s surprising is that the event hasn’t included one until now. The European counterpart to the Symposium held during the SCAA Event each spring, the Re:co Symposium (regarding: coffee) will focus on the European specialty coffee market, a robust and fast-growing landscape. With speakers from around the world addressing global and regional challenges, sharing new research, and looking to the future of coffee in Europe and beyond, in many ways it mirrors the SCAA’s conference, natural since that association and the SCAE parent the organizer, World Coffee Events.
The full schedule for the inaugural event is yet to be announced, but perhaps because it is the first of its kind in its region, its key sessions will address three basic questions: where are we now; where can we go; and how do we get there? The conversations sparked by such questions promise to be fruitful ones in a part of the world where an evolving coffee culture is regularly refining and redefining its position, with some of the industry’s more influential minds settled there.
Meetings of the minds like SCAA’s Symposium and Re:co are also critical to helping coffee professionals understand how they fit into the larger world of coffee. On his blog jimseven, Square Mile Coffee CEO James Hoffman, who is helping organize Re:co, calls such forums an antidote to some of the loneliness of being an isolated business owner in a large industry. While there is passion running through each individual, collaboration is invaluable to personal growth and purpose, he suggests. The symposiums and events like Roasters Guild retreats and various barista championships provide opportunities not only to understand one’s position but to innovate within the group; in many ways, they’re what pushes the industry forward.
—Regan Crisp is Fresh Cup’s associate editor.