The United States Coffee Championships have been postponed to 2022, though the Specialty Coffee Expo will carry on beginning later this month in New Orleans, according to organizers of both major coffee events.
Originally scheduled to take place alongside the 2021 Specialty Coffee Expo, which is planned to run from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3, the U.S. Coffee In Good Spirits, Cup Tasters, Roaster and Latte Art Championships have all been pushed back to next year.
The United States chapter of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), which runs both the Expo and oversees the championships, called for the postponement of the competition events in a public letter one week ago, citing public health concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, plus the recent destruction to the city of New Orleans caused by Hurricane Ida.
“We have listened to your feedback and this announcement is not an easy one to make,” SCA U.S. Competitions Coordinator Nathanael May wrote in an announcement today.
At the same time as that announcement, the SCA issued a separate announcement signed by CEO Yannis Apostolopoulos stating that the 2021 Expo will continue, despite the pandemic and hurricane-related challenges.
“We at the SCA are committed to putting on the best event we possibly can so our industry can restart, so we can reconnect, and rebuild,” Apostolopoulos wrote. “Many coffee companies rely on Expo for their businesses. This is especially true for producers, importers, exporters, manufacturers and allied businesses around the world. This is the main reason we do a trade show — we’re using our convening power to bring buyers and sellers together, business to business, person to person. This has enormous value and these companies need this.”
Should it take place, the 2021 Specialty Coffee Expo will be the first major event to be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center since Hurricane Ida reached New Orleans on Aug. 29. The Louisiana National Guard has been set up inside the convention center, which has served as an emergency shelter.
The facility also sustained water intrusion and some light roof damage, according to both press and internal reports. On an emergency update page, the convention center management states, “An international event of several thousand attendees will begin moving in on September 27.”