The annual trade show of the Specialty Coffee Association of America can cause even the more seasoned coffee professional to have an existential crisis. Do I watch the Barista Competition or Brewers Cup? Do I check out the single group Slayer or the nine group Synesso? Do I try to get my photo taken with James Hoffmann or Tim Wendelboe? Can I get my photo taken with James Hoffmann and Tim Wendelboe? The questions go on, and they’re overwhelming.
Lucky for you, our friends and partners at Prima Coffee shot plenty of video footage and captured some of the best new coffee products you might have missed at SCAA 2014.
Acaia Coffee Scale
We’ve written about the Acaia Coffee Scale before, but at SCAA Acaia founder and inventor Aaron Takao Fujiki was on hand to demonstrate the capabilities of the scale and its accompanying app. App users can control the scale remotely, record brew data, and save and share recipes. It’s one of the most useful coffee apps we’ve used and the first serious attempt to incorporate mobile technology with coffee brewing. The Acaia Coffee Scale was also awarded with the prize for “Best New Coffee Accessory”.
The pour-over versus autodrip debate rages on, but autodrip seems to have the upper hand. The trade show floor at SCAA featured a proliferation of new automated single cup brewers, and one that created quite a stir was the Blossom Brewer. In their own words, the Blossom is “like a sous vide for coffee”, and who doesn’t love a delicious, runny sous vide poached egg? The Blossom offers temperature stability, precise control over brew times, and the ability to save and share brewing parameters. The barista, however, remains involved in the process – making the Blossom something of a via media between manual and automated brew methods.
Alpha Dominche Steampunk Mod
The Alpha Dominche Steampunk made waves by narrowly defeating coffee expert Nick Cho in a coffee brew off which will likely go down in barista lore for the ages. At SCAA Alpha Dominche had their new modular version of the Steampunk on display. The below counter boiler allows the customer to view the entire brewing process, which shows that pour overs are not the only brew method with theatrical value. Baristas will be sure to appreciate the autoclean function as well!
Curtis Seraphim Batch Brewer
The Seraphim is “a batch brewer re-imagined.” Curtis has been setting industry standards for consistency and temperature stability for years, and the Seraphim applies Curtis’s “gold cup” technology to the brew bar. We love how the Seraphim can be integrated with a variety of brewing devices, like the Chemex shown above. Curtis was on hand to brew coffee for spectators at the U.S. Coffee Championships Arena, which meant we drank more than a few coffees brewed with the Seraphim. As firm believers in manually brewed coffee we hate to admit it, but the Seraphim outshone many of the pour overs we had in Seattle. Evidently, we were not the only ones who shared the sentiment, as the Seraphim won a people’s choice award for best commercial coffee or tea preparation & serving equipment.
notNuetral Gino Dripper
Although SCAA 2014 could have very well been titled Rise of the Machines, a new manual brewing device was quietly making waves on the convention floor. NotNuetral’s Gino Glass Dripper garnered awards for “Best New Product”, “People’s Choice”, and -perhaps most significantly – helped Todd Goldsworthy of Klatch Coffee win the US Brewers Cup. This beautiful device was designed to complement their Lino Coffee Mug– the very cup you’ll find us sipping from most mornings.
Victor Ardiuno Black Eagle
T3 has been the official espresso machine of the World Barista Championship for a few years now, and for good reason. The T3 ranks among the most dependable and consistent products on the market. It’s never been especially sexy though, but that’s all changing with the T3’s cousin, The Black Eagle, which is being launched under NS’s Victor Arduino line. Consultants on the project included James Hoffman, which whom we unfortunately never got our photo taken.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.