The Specialty Coffee Expo is an annual trade show hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association in North America, with a focus on the global specialty coffee industry.
Every year, thousands of people from around the world attend, including coffee roasters, green coffee suppliers, equipment companies, and other players in the coffee industry. Alongside the event’s well-known Roaster Village, it is also the home of the Coffee Design Awards, and this year hosted the US Coffee Championships. Held in Portland, Oregon from April 21st to 23rd, the Expo welcomed some 11,000 attendees.
For two days before the Expo, coffee insiders participated in Re:co, the specialty coffee symposium. Reflecting on where the industry is today and where it may be heading, speakers, workshops and sensory sessions prompted conversations on the emerging future of coffee, its diverse communities and changing expectations around fairness, value and quality.
Read on to learn more about JNP Coffee’s involvement with both the Expo and Re:co, and the presentations from our founder Jeanine.
Our presence at the Specialty Coffee Expo
This year, JNP Coffee’s founder Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian participated in two lectures and led a public coffee cupping session at the company's Roaster Village booth.
As well as being the founder of JNP Coffee, Jeanine is also the founder of Burundi Friends International and a strong advocate for Burundi coffee and women coffee farmers globally. She is also an elected SCA board member.
At Re:co on April 20th, she joined cultural anthropologist Ted Fischer in a “fishbowl” conversation on expanded definitions of “value” in the global coffee industry.
As part of the symposium’s New Solutions seminars, the lecture explored the SCA’s new method for assessing the value of specialty coffee. Alongside this, Jeanine and Ted also discussed how a sustainable coffee sector could also be equitable and profitable for all.
Jeanine says: “We had producers, roasters, and cafe owners from around the world in a ‘fishbowl’ style discussion. We also spoke about what ‘value’ means for different people.”
She adds that as part of the discussion, producers defined value first and foremost as sustainability and fair pay, while café owners saw it as quality and effort.
Jeanine adds: “Value is in what else you are able to provide farmers, like a second payment or premium, education in financial literacy to women farmers, education in coffee for younger people, creating jobs locally, and sharing success stories about social impact.
“For us, the focus is then on translating this value to retailers, and ultimately consumers.”
On April 22nd, Jeanine led the second lecture: How working with farmers at origin can improve quality and differentiate your coffee.
As part of this, she shared the insights she’s gained from working with East African coffee farmers and co-operatives. She explained that when it comes to working with farmers at origin, the best strategy starts with a holistic approach and considering social support. This then allows you to expand the opportunities for success in the wider community, rather than taking a transactional view.
The lecture also welcomed plenty of questions both before and after the session. Jeanine spoke at length about the practical blueprint of what JNP Coffee has done, and what can be done elsewhere to improve quality across the sector.
Burundi coffee on show at the Expo
Before and after Jeanine’s lectures, we also welcomed plenty of coffee roasters to the JNP Coffee booth to sample some of the Burundi coffees we had on offer. We took 10 of our best coffees to the show and were delighted to share them with our visitors.
Many of the coffees we shared were fully washed, including our Burundi Turihamwe – a high-quality coffee produced by women coffee farmers and processed in Burundi's first washing station built and owned by women farmers.
We also hosted a public cupping at the Roaster Village with fresh Burundi coffee from the 2022/23 harvest. Jeanine led the cupping, as well as sharing stories of her mother growing up in Ngozi and picking coffee.
At this cupping, we showcased some of JNP Coffee’s newest offerings, including a range of fully washed and natural coffees – all heirloom Bourbon varieties.
These included two naturals from Hafi and Akeza – both with jammy, fruity tasting notes – and two fully washed coffees from Bavyeyi and Akeza – which had flavors of jasmine and clean, mandarin acidity.
“Plenty of people were surprised by how the coffee tasted, especially the Hafi Natural!” Jeanine adds.
The future after the Specialty Coffee Expo
We were delighted to attend the Specialty Coffee Expo, where we welcomed plenty of roaster visitors from around the world to sample our Burundi coffee.
As well as the public cupping and the samples we had on offer, we also had plenty of clients serving their coffee at our booth – which was a fantastic partnership.
We look forward to connecting with the contacts we made at the event in the weeks and months ahead.
“Many of the people who visited our booth expressed an interest in working together,” Jeanine says. “They wanted to get involved with women-produced coffee and our other social justice initiatives that extend value beyond quality. JNP Coffee is recognized as a reliable source for consistently high quality Burundi coffee.
“We’re very grateful for every person we met, and look forward to exploring more possibilities together with them.”
We’re also delighted to announce that our coffees are now available in Europe, following the shipment of a full container from JNP Coffee to Hamburg.
However, we also want to warn anybody interested in sourcing JNP Coffee that given the cyclicality of coffee, we expect a shorter and thus smaller harvest for the 2023/24 crop year, with a potential reduction of as much as 30% compared with previous years.
As such, stocks may not last for much longer as demand increases for Burundi coffee, both those floral and citric profiles of fully washed and the sweet and fruity profiles of naturals. If you are interested in sourcing exceptional Burundi coffees, make sure you don’t miss out – contact us now to secure your order!