The Specialty Coffee Association’s Coffee Retail Summit is dedicated to the specialty coffee retail marketplace

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Coffee Retail Summit going virtual

Do you remember the initiatives offered by SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) we were talking about in Make Coffee Better, December 27, 2020? The association keeps launching new activities, considering its calibre and its market penetration, and despite the cancellation of several events due to Covid-19, as we wrote in The coffee sector and the Covid-19 challenges, March 21, 2021, it just won’t let the pandemic stop it. There are many events being launched in the immediate future mainly addressed to businesspeople who are dealing with the challenges of the ongoing emergency.

Now more than ever, businesspeople need support, in terms of information and guidance, as they are confronted with key questions such as the following (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021f):

  • How do I transform my business to cope with current realities?
  • How is consumer coffee behaviour changing in the wake of COVID-19?
  • How do businesses operate safely in the context of an ongoing pandemic, and in a world with increased awareness of disease risk?

In order to provide businesspeople with all the information needed, SCA has announced a virtual event that will take place on April 13-14. It will be a great opportunity to collect information and to receive all the answers you need (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021b). Over two days, SCA will host a series of debates, discussions and lectures focused on cutting-edge research concerning the retail market, tools to help make difficult business decisions, and more. These elements will support coffee business and businesspeople and help them adapt and react to the challenges of the moment and to those that will appear in the future (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021f).

Héctor Saul Reyna using the Compass in concert with a calendar. Photo courtesy of Caravela Coffee

Specialty Coffee Association Awards

SCA Awards is the Specialty Coffee Association’s annual awards program aiming at recognizing excellence in the coffee industry, notably in product innovation, design, and sustainability (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021g). The event, which this year takes place online for the first time, is open to companies and individuals worldwide, with the purpose of valorising quality and innovation.

Take a look at the SCA’s platforms called New in Coffee and Design in Coffee, where the results are showcased.

Source (edited): SCA

Best new products awards

The Best New Product competition recognizes the positive effects and the added value of cutting-edge products on the entire specialty coffee industry. Best New Product awards always have been and always will be a vital integration to SCA trade shows. This year the event is taking place online, and this fact will make it even more accessible and open to companies and businesspeople working in the coffee sector (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021c).

Avensi Coffee Enhancing Glassware, Icosa Brewhouse, one of the Best New Products Awards winners.

Coffee design awards

In today’s world, coffee quality needs to be matched to quality coffee design, and is becoming more and more important in distinguishing coffee design (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021e). Brand, architecture, packaging, signage, decorations, are examples of elements playing a crucial role in the promotion of coffee quality, in particular as far as specialty coffees are concerned. The Coffee Design Awards are divided into 4 categories (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021e):

  • Branding (logos, style guides, stationery, posters, flyers, digital comms – anything and everything that’s not the product itself or the space)
  • Spaces (retail, education, and production environments and spaces designed specifically for coffee)
  • Packaging (the most compelling coffee packaging designs from the previous year)
  • Vessels (the most charming and original designs for anything you drink coffee from – paper cups, travel mugs, ceramics, glassware, etc.)

1895 Coffee Designers by Lavazza, one of the Coffee Design Awards winners

Sustainability awards

Since 2004, the Sustainability Awards of the Specialty Coffee Association recognize individuals, businesses, companies and organizations creating innovative projects, programs or business models promoting sustainability in the coffee sector worldwide. The purpose of these annual Sustainability Awards is to recognize outstanding ideas connected with the huge challenges confronting humankind, such as climate change, in a perspective of collaboration across geographies and cultures (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021h), going beyond borders in the name of specialty coffee and environment protection.

2019 Re:co Symposium about local action and sustainability 

A special focus on one of the finalists: Caravela Coffee Compass

We are pleased to introduce you to one of the finalists of the contest, the Coffee Compass for Farm Operations launched by Caravela Coffee.

For your pleasure, we quote here a short excerpt of the winners’ description (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021d):

“Every year, throughout the year, our PECA team visits coffee farms around Latin America, providing technical assistance and education to thousands of producing families. The objective is to teach them best practices for managing pests and disease, increasing productivity, and improving the quality of their coffee so it can be more profitable. During these visits, we often encounter one big challenge: most small-holder farmers don’t keep track of the activities carried out on their farms and have no tools to manage their farms in an efficient way.

To address this critical issue, our PECA team designed and developed the Coffee Compass. This innovative tool allows coffee growers to organize, plan, register, and follow up their farm activities independently of where they produce coffee. A key focus during the creation of this tool, which is based on rigorous scientific research as well as our team’s know-how, was to consider first and foremost the coffee growers’ reality. As such, the Coffee Compass does not require growers to know about agronomy, much less batteries, electricity, or Wi-Fi. It is a timeless tool that can be used by coffee growers harvest after harvest.

The Coffee Compass is centred around the flowering dates on a farm, which dictate when producers must carry out critical processes and activities over the course of the year, up until harvest. With just that basic information, coffee growers can identify the dates when they need to undertake the most critical tasks on their farms, such as controlling pests and diseases, creating fertilization plans, performing weed controls, as well as planning for harvest and post-harvest phases. The tool also includes a calendar with a planner for coffee growers to register and keep track of what and when to carry out all their activities. We believe the Coffee Compass will be a game-changer for farmers, guiding them to keep a more organized, productive, and profitable farm. Because in the end, it isn’t coffee that’s special; it’s the millions of growers whose hard work and passion yield a product that uplifts millions of people around the world.”

Coffee Compass by Caravela Coffee

Make sure you take a look at the other Best New Product finalists (Specialty Coffee Association, 2021a)!


Specialty Coffee Association. (2021a). 2021 Best New Product Finalists. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from New In Coffee website:

Specialty Coffee Association. (2021b). Announcing Coffee Retail Summit, a new free virtual event and resource library for coffee retail businesses. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

Specialty Coffee Association. (2021c). Best New Product Awards. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from Best new product website:

Specialty Coffee Association. (2021d). Caravela Coffee | El Compás del Café. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from New In Coffee. website:

Specialty Coffee Association. (2021e). Coffee Design Awards. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from Coffee design awards 2021 website:

Specialty Coffee Association. (2021f). Coffee retail is at a turning point. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from Coffee retail summit website:

Specialty Coffee Association. (2021g). Specialty Coffee Association Awards. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from Awards website:

Specialty Coffee Association. (2021h). Sustainability Awards 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2021, from Sustainability Awards website:

Picture credits a: Autore: John Coletti | Ringraziamenti: Getty Images/AWL Images RM Copyright: (c) John Coletti

Picture credits b: Retrieved April 1, 2021, from: