Two controversial announcements have taken the coffee social media world by storm this season.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) announced it would suspend the regional competitions leading up to the US Barista Competitions. Tracy Allen, president of the SCAA board of directors, issued an apology for how the news was announced on June 29. In his note, he hinted that alternatives for qualifying events will be explored.
“We heard you, and the Barista Guild of America Executive Council (BGAEC) will be following up about next steps,” he said.
The Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) released a statement that it would suspend, in theory temporarily, some of its Cup of Excellence (COE) competitions. The ACE announcement, while having drawn public criticism on social media platforms, has not yet resulted in an apology. Some critics of the move to scale back while re-inventing the auction platform think it unfair that competitions will be held in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras in 2016.
Both stories make for interesting case studies in managing communications in a digital world. In addition, two such announcements so close together raise many questions about the financial sustainability of competitions in the coffee sector.