SCAA Atlanta 2016 - RECAP
This year’s SCAA event in Atlanta, GA, was one for the books. The richness in comradery and the spirit of innovation are what draws the coffee community out year after year. We were all eager to catch a glimpse of the Baratza Sette 270 and 270W ourselves. We could not contain our excitement at the renaissance that is happening with batch brewing. We were also allured by what Uppers and Downers had up their sleeve, serving coffee-infused craft beer. And finally, we were all in joyful tears as Lem Butler of Counter Culture Coffee was declared this year’s US Barista Champion.
As we reconnected with many friends in the coffee community, we also made new ones. Here are some highlights of our favorite exhibitors and products from this year's SCAA.
Since its release, the Peak grinder has become a new standard for espresso grinders in cafes. We were pleased to see so many of our fellow exhibitors using this amazing grinder. In addition, Mahlkonig also debuted the K30 Twin 2.0 Hybrid grinder. This new advent for Mahlkonig has one side designated for espresso and the other for filter coffee. It also features wifi connectivity and a brand new digital touch-screen control panel, and it is no slouch in the style department.
Clearly, there was much excitement for the unveiling of the new Sette grinder, which is Italian for “Seven,” pronounced like “Set-ay,” named for its design shape and for being the seventh coffee grinder design by Baratza. We got to examine the “Best New Product of the Year” ourselves.
Both the 270 Sette, which doses by time, and the 270W Sette, which features Acaia Scale technology, house a 40mm conical burr, able to grind at 3.5g to 5.5 g/sec, depending on the grind setting. What’s most exciting is the bluetooth capabilities of the 270W which allow you to observe and record grind sessions, weights, and settings. We also witnessed the convertible holder that allows brewers and baristas to grind directly into the portafilter or a brewing device.
We spoke with Sanremo, and this year they are showcasing the new Cafe Racer and the Opera, which comes in a three group and a two group model.
These gorgeous machines are a new era for Sanremo, who developed both in cooperation with a team of skilled baristas - including national and world champions. The Opera is a testament to barista-centric design- with three programmable profiles per group, integration with Acaia Lunar scales, and a smart and snappy tablet app to take full control over the shot profiles when dialing in. That means no more befuddling menus and secret button codes for reprogramming!. Sanremo has already made quite an impression in the UK, so be sure to watch out for them as they sweep the US off its feet!
After the rapid success of the Lido 3 Hand Grinder, Orphan Espresso released the full metal Lido E, which was designed specifically for espresso, and the Lido E-T, the travel-friendly counterpart to the Lido E. Both feature a unique bearing system and fine thread adjustment stack that is crucial to producing consistent grind particles for espresso and Turkish coffee.
Some of the best coffee we experienced at SCAA was at the Slayer booth with a few of the friendliest faces around. Their booth layout and design was not only inviting, it paid tribute to their humble beginnings which started in Atlanta. The use of the crates as a backdrop delightfully showcased their beautiful machines. Visitors could stop by and ogle at the custom machines, or learn from one of their highly experience technicians about the unique needle valve technology that makes a Slayer machine.
For all the KeepCup fans, like us, who have been patiently waiting, this year, KeepCup released their 16oz brew cups. In addition, they’ve released a series in a myriad of all new colors. We’ll keep you all posted when these will be available.
The King of Glass was back with some very exciting new products that build off their renowned brewers. For lovers of the V60 drip brewer, Hario has introduced the V60 Auto Pour Smart7 - a new kind of coffee maker that merges with the classic manual control of the V60. This auto coffee maker allows you to choose the temperature and speed of your water, which drips through a 9 point shower head to mimic pourover brewing. Within the advanced recipe menus you can have even more precise control over brewing time, settings for preinfusion, and have the option to save your recipes.
A key theme in Hario’s innovations is “control.” Another new product, the Smart Beam Heater, allows for that control that siphon coffee brewers love, with a new and intuitive design. With the touch of a finger, you can control all the variables of your halogen heater and customize your brewing in three different modes- basic, memory, and professional. Its bright red glow is also very alluring to look at.
Specialty Turkish Coffee
If you’re not a believer in Turkish coffee, Turgay from Specialty Turkish Coffee will change that. After multiple championships in Turkish Coffee competitions, he has come out with his own brand and a design aesthetic that appeals to Turkish coffee enthusiasts and newbies alike.
Automatic batch brewers are coming back in a big way this year thanks to some innovative new products. The first we saw was the Ground Control brewer, a truly revolutionary brewing device that is actually more space-age than it looks. Ground Control takes an entirely new approach to coffee extraction, utilizing percolation-style brewing as well as a vacuum system to extract a bed of coffee in 3-6 distinct phases. Water and coffee are combined as usual, but between each phase, the coffee bed is dried entirely using a vacuum system, which according to the creators “resets” the coffee bed’s chemistry for further extractions.
Each extraction is “complete” in certain ways, as each tastes fairly well-balanced on its own. But as further extractions are completed and mixed together, the result is a complex, sweet and rounded coffee, not like any drip you’ve ever had before. Ground Control is still somewhat in its infancy, but it’s rolling out to some cafes across the US for trials before the heavy production really begins.
As the coffee industry grows, there’s no question that batch brewing is being reimagined to seamless work into the bar experience. Curtis allowed us to experience the Seraphim- a front bar brewer that is minimally designed, but intentional and high functioning. Below the counter is a solidly built system weaved into the aesthetic design of the bar. Curtis is still developing the Seraphim, but they hope to make it available late fall/early winter in both white and black.
It seemed all week long the crowds around Alpha Dominche would never subside as spectators and enthusiasts gathered to inquire and taste the Steampunk and the new Sight Brewer- and what a sight it was. This visually captivating brewer can produce up to a gallon of coffee using the same process as the Steampunk. A full-immersion process, the Sight Brewer uses a paper filter, creating a very clear taste. Fully automated, it pre-infuses for 30 secs before water is dispensed from above, and after a few minutes of brewing, the vacuum pump is engaged. When a certain low pressure is reached, the valve in between the chambers is automatically opened, pulling the coffee through the filter into the bottom chamber. We were very impressed by the overall exquisite design, efficient brew process, and quality coffee this new device is bringing to the coffee industry.
The tech did not stop with brewers. Our friends from Acaia released their new Atlas Stand, which supports the Lunar and Pearl, allowing for an efficient and seamless brew station. Coupled with their new station manager app, called Brew Bar, cafes and shops can sync up to four scales and save recipes to create custom brewing profiles via the app. This means that, in the morning, after you dial in, you can record up to five different brews, record your tasting notes, and save your favorite recipe for the day. It subsequently records all the brews of that day so that managers, baristas, and staff can review the consistency of brews for that day. We predict that the brew bar app will quickly be incorporated into the training lab, and that it will be a great preparation tool. In addition, the Brew Bar software connects with the Baratza 270W Sette grinder, and it is able to record all the coffee that is being used throughout the day. The Brew Bar app and the Atlas Stand are set to be released this summer.
For the past few months, no kettle has generated as much chatter, or gotten as much press, as the Fellow Stagg Pour Kettle. We spoke with Fellow and got word about some new designs and modifications that should come by the end of the year - such as a redesign of the tapered spout, and even a copper edition. Early feedback has highlighted some design issues with the lid of the Stagg - while there are no promises and certainty about a lid redesign, there are discussions about how they might modify it while maintaining it's affordability and stunning aesthetic. Also, if you were a fan of the Joey Mug, keep an eye out for an espresso-sized Joey cup coming soon this year.
Uppers and Downers
By and large, the newest and our most favorite addition to SCAA was Uppers and Downers. In collaboration with Good Beer Hunting, they featured a magnificent collection of coffee that was incorporated into a selection of craft beer. With so much experimentation in both industries, it was only a matter of time until coffee and beer would elope to make a splendid new style of beverages. Every drink was unique and favorably complex - one of our favorites was a saison mixed with a Phil & Sebastian coffee brewed on Kalita Waves. Some of the featured collaborations included: Angry Orchard + MadCap Coffee, Wild Haven + Intelligentsia, Creature Comforts + Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, Three Taverns + Octane. With the growing interest in nitro cold coffee and craft beer in cafes, we foresee this collaboration developing and expanding in popularity.
SCAA is very much a family reunion and we want to thank all of our coffee sponsors for their generosity - Tim Wendelboe, Koppi Coffee Roasters, Steadfast Coffee, Camber Coffee, Post Coffee Company, Quills Coffee, Sunergos Coffee, Heine Brother’s Coffee, Coava Coffee, Greenway Coffee, Crema. We also want to thank La Marzocco, Slayer, Turbo air, and Acaia for their partnership and support with their products at our booth. And finally, thank you SCAA for another great event.
Check Out our Video Coverage
We kept busy running around getting videos of the hottest new products and have compiled the best of SCAA 2016 into a youtube playlist.Check it out here!