Like why on the SCAA homepage UPCOMING EVENTS section the N. Central RBC 2/18-20 and SE RBC 2/11-13 are up there while NW RBC 1/28-30 happening before them is not? Hmmmmm

 

NW Region being dissed (ignored, forgotten) by the SCAA or what?!

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Man, I hate to get drawn back into this thread, and I sure hate addressing you Jay, but I feel it's needed so we can drive this thread back to beneficial criticism.

"Agreed.  Then why do you go on ad nauseam about the BGA???"

I was responding to the notion that this was a BGA issue.

"Did you speak out against this effective tax on the baristas?  Complacency is complicity.  You are, after all in the "inside" as an elected official and presumably part of the process."

Again, I found out about the fees when you did. I had no knowledge, or input in the changes. I stated that several times.

"Whether we like it or not???  Care to take a more confrontational tone with the people who supported and voted for you?"

I stated a fact. It was not confrontational. It merely made the point, that we're going to keep working on the things we see as the mission of the BGA, and the things our membership is asking of us.

"A refusal to answer questions. A refusal to seek answers to questions. A disavowal of knowledge and a claim of impotency to influence policy."

Again, yet again, I had no knowledge or input in the decisions. That is why I am not commenting any further on it. I am not capable. Please understand this point.

"Perhaps this underscores a separate problem that you should be addressing more carefully.  Are you really investigating why this perception exists and perpetuates?"

Yes. The issue of better communicating our value is something you should know very well. It is a job that many before me have taken on, and many will. It is a great challenge when the conversation is clouded with conversations like this that try and diminish the values stated over and over again.

"Are you speaking for yourself or Batdorf & Bronson when you make the above statement?  Because I didn't realize you have been a three time sponsor of the SERBC."

My company, Batdorf & Bronson has. I thought it was understood in the context.

"Not speaking for Anthony but you've been refusing the real questions in the thread and expect to pose your own???  I think that's crossing into arrogance."

Yet again, I am not answering the questions because I am not capable of. It's not a choice.

"Because you've blinded yourself to the fact that some people have other priorities and needs.  They don't "get it" because whatever you're serving does not address their needs or desires."

I am well aware of this. I have stated to many people, if there's not value in it for you, from what's offered, and what's available, then maybe it's not for you. But for the majority there is value. One value is saving money on competitions, judging, and labs and certification.

"Please do tell us the "value" of paying to judge the competitions - multiple times over???"

I was speaking of the fee of BGA membership. Even if it's just the discount on competing, or judging, it's value. Even if you don't take advantage of all of the other benefits.

 

I won't respond to the last two, because they weren't my thoughts or statements. But let me say this. You know what the BGA stands for, you once championed it yourself. I get it if you don't like the SCAA. I'm just not sure why you want to argue against the merits of the BGA now. I just had a good conversation with a barista from this thread. And I told him, the BGA is the one organization that exists to further the craft of the barista, to inspire, to motivate, and to help build a sense of pride and honor in the craft of being a barista. Can it happen elsewhere, outside of that? Sure it can. Does it? Sure, it does. But the BGA exists for those sole purposes. To support all endeavors that further barista education, and community. That hasn't changed since you were a part, and won't change.

Jay, thanks for your thoughts and input.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Let me see if I can address any of these points.

Jason Dominy and Jay Caragay said:

"Perhaps this underscores a separate problem that you should be addressing more carefully.  Are you really investigating why this perception exists and perpetuates?"

Yes. The issue of better communicating our value is something you should know very well. It is a job that many before me have taken on, and many will. It is a great challenge when the conversation is clouded with conversations like this that try and diminish the values stated over and over again.


I don't know that the issue is communicating the value of the BGA. People seem to have a good awareness of the benefits that are available, but many just don't seem to be in a position to take advantage of them.

Jason Dominy said:

...But for the majority there is value. One value is saving money on competitions, judging, and labs and certification.

...

I was speaking of the fee of BGA membership. Even if it's just the discount on competing, or judging, it's value. Even if you don't take advantage of all of the other benefits.


Here's my take on this, Jason. Discounts on competition registration are claimed as being a benefit of BGA membership. You talk about this benefit quite a bit, and so does the BGA website... rightly so, because it is a huge benefit. It will no doubt drive lots of members to join.

 

The flipside is that, since this is a BGA membership benefit, the BGA leadership will be asked to speak about it.  This seems fair - if you want the pearls, you gotta deal with the oysters.

Perhaps it would be more productive if, instead of arguing about whether we should be discussing the BGA in this thread, we could just acknowledge that the discussion is taking place and roll with it?

 


Jason Dominy and Jay Caragay said:

 

"But I will say this, the BGA is working hard for you as a barista whether you like it or not."

"Whether we like it or not???  Care to take a more confrontational tone with the people who supported and voted for you?"

I stated a fact. It was not confrontational. It merely made the point, that we're going to keep working on the things we see as the mission of the BGA, and the things our membership is asking of us.


You know, I think the root of many discussions like this is that some of the membership doesn't see the leadership's effort as being directed towards things they are actually asking for. It's a common organizational challenge to confuse the things you think your customers want vs what they actually want and need. When this happens, you'll have lots of effort by the organization that goes relatively unappreciated by the customer. The end result is both a dissatisfied customer and a leadership that feels that the membership is ungrateful. Sound familiar?

 

When I was Chapter Rep, the number one question I got was "when is the next certification event in my area?"

 

Is that the direction that the BGA is currently devoting its monetary and non-monetary resources towards?

Anthony, Jason is right.  The BGA has no funds to create events in your area.

 

However, this is irrelevant, because what they do have is a program that you (as a member) can use to help create an event in your area.  This program gives you the support of the SCAA's event coordinator, your local BGA membership, the BGA's training materials, and a status that will help you find monetary support from regional coffee-related businesses.

 

That's the real strength of the BGA - its network, knowledge-base, and access to the resources of the SCAA.

 

This is, I feel, the way that the BGA can most help its membership - by getting the word out that these things are doable, providing support to make them easier and better, and helping plow the road to minimize obstacles and hurdles.  This leverages the BGA's greatest resource - its knowledgable and motivated barista membership, without touching the BGA's most limited resource - its treasury.

 

Jason Dominy said:

...Understand, I get your thoughts. If you read earlier responses, I actually mentioned you as an area we need to improve on. We need more stuff near you. But that costs money. And that money has to come from somewhere. And when we have to beg people to pay a paltry $45 BGA membership, you can see why we don't have tons of money around to be creating events all over. I wish we did. I am sorry there's not been stuff closer to you, I really am. But it's a money issue.

Brady,

Since there's a fair amount of consternation and overdetermination about my post, let me restate the bit that really puzzles me... 

 

--Fees were increased substantially for participation in the  US RBCs, for both competitors and judges. If you already are a BGA or SCAA member, the fee went up by a quarter for competitors; if not, the fee doubled (BGA membership + entry), tripled (no membership association), because the previously-existing sponsorship model was not adequate. News of a potential substantial fee increase had leaked months ago, with the inference that the competition wasn't generating enough money to be viable. 

 

Much has been made of the fact that declining sponsorship last year resulted in the SCAA having to underwrite the cost of each regional competitor in the amount of $450. If I'm remembering correctly, the entry fee was $100. So the real cost of staging the event was $550 per person.

 

If the goal of the current fee structure is to use a sharp stick to force every competitor to join the BGA--and if everyone does join to take advantage of the lower fees-- then the SCAA will still be subsidizing the barista competitions at $400 per person. Given the increased cost of just about everything this year, the SCAA will have, in fact, left itself more exposed. The BGA will have more financial stability, but the competition will be just as unsustainable.

 

If I'm going to have to pay more to compete, I'd rather pay the $150 entry fee plus an additional $45 directly to Marcus so he can have a dedicated reserve for competition operations. That would help to ensure a better competition, which is what I'm interested in. Instead, that $45 will go to the BGA, which has only a fractional, tangential influence on the continued production of the competition-- if any influence at all. That's why it feels like a tax: to participate in the RBC, we have to pay an additional fee that doesn't go to supporting the event but instead is handed over to another organization that doesn't provide any substantial benefit for us. And posting a $300 fee for non-BGA members? That's just petty. It reeks of desperation-- a number so out of line that the current competition fee structure comes off as little more than a ploy to prop up the BGA through coerced membership of every barista competitor.

 

Please keep in mind what I said all along-- I don't have a problem with the BGA per se. It's a lovely organization with good intentions. You just can't shoe-horn everyone into that tent and expect nothing but thank-yous. Yes, we could try to host a BGA event at our shop. Pull out a map, draw a 240 mile circle around Gainesville, and find me 5 BGA members whom might attend. Or even 5 non-BGA members whom might attend. I can completely support the goals of the BGA but not be a member. Even if every barista at Volta were to join, it would be economically irresponsible for the BGA to stage an event here. I can't imagine that BGA members would feel great about limited resources being used to help one shop. The inverse is also true-- given my own shop's limited resources, I wouldn't feel great about paying for staff memberships when I know that the fees will primarily benefit staff and shops 500 miles away. We're not large enough to have a philanthropic slush fund. I'd rather give my money to the staff of the regional barista competitions directly, as they are putting on an event that we feel has a very strong value. Until the BGA takes over control of the competitions, I don't see why coerced membership should be a requirement.


Brady said:

Anthony, Jason is right.  The BGA has no funds to create events in your area.

 

However, this is irrelevant, because what they do have is a program that you (as a member) can use to help create an event in your area.  This program gives you the support of the SCAA's event coordinator, your local BGA membership, the BGA's training materials, and a status that will help you find monetary support from regional coffee-related

To belabor the discussion…

 

"I was responding to the notion that this was a BGA issue."

 A simple response stating that the RBCs and the BGA are separate would have sufficed.  There was no need for a continuing diatribe about the "benefits" the BGA.  You took the issue personally, which it never was.  The issue was part and parcel separate than you.

 

"Again, I found out about the fees when you did. I had no knowledge, or input in the changes. I stated that several times."

I don't recall you stating that "several times" but I'm finding it curious that you now strive to separate yourself from the issue that is supposedly a "benefit" to the BGA member.  Are you saying that the BGA Executive Council was excluded from discussions by the SCAA/USBC regarding member "benefit" discounts?  Because that certainly raises another issue of whether or not the members of the Executive Council are actually in control of the BGA.

 

"I stated a fact. It was not confrontational. It merely made the point, that we're going to keep working on the things we see as the mission of the BGA, and the things our membership is asking of us."

Stating the above, in the manner presented here is vastly different than telling your membership "whether you like it or not".  One is confrontational with a sense of belligerence and the other is constructive as would be expected from an elected representative.

 

"Again, yet again, I had no knowledge or input in the decisions. That is why I am not commenting any further on it. I am not capable. Please understand this point."

No knowledge or input in the decisions that directly affect your own membership?  You really ought to stop with that line of excuses because it's making your Council look worse - and I suspect, worse than it really is.

 

"Yes. The issue of better communicating our value is something you should know very well. It is a job that many before me have taken on, and many will. It is a great challenge when the conversation is clouded with conversations like this that try and diminish the values stated over and over again."

Values and benefits that, evidently, you have no knowledge of or input in?  Since I have been your shoes on the Council, my course of action (and my best advice to you) is to be up-front and truthful about things.  This SCAA mindset of "battening down the hatches" and "circling the wagons" - or worse, claiming ignorance, does nothing to enhance your credibility as a governing body.

 

"My company, Batdorf & Bronson has. I thought it was understood in the context."

Context of what?  So far, you have been speaking as "Jason Dominy" as well as a representative of the BGA - separate from your employer.  Or are you now stating that you are speaking for Batdorf & Bronson in these matters?

 

"Yet again, I am not answering the questions because I am not capable of. It's not a choice."

Again, the claim to ignorance as an excuse?  Since you have been speaking for the BGA in the matters in this thread, this is not a valid excuse.

 

"I am well aware of this. I have stated to many people, if there's not value in it for you, from what's offered, and what's available, then maybe it's not for you. But for the majority there is value. One value is saving money on competitions, judging, and labs and certification."

What "majority" are you speaking of?  Or are these delusions of grandeur?  From what I recall, the current membership of the BGA is around 500 members.  Considering the thousands of working baristas nationwide, I certainly don't see how you can claim "majority" here.  Of your current members, how many of them are certified BGA Level 1?  Are you claiming a majority here?

 

Truth is, Camp Pull-A-Shot (such an unfortunate name) capacity doesn't encompass a majority of the BGA membership.

 

"I was speaking of the fee of BGA membership. Even if it's just the discount on competing, or judging, it's value. Even if you don't take advantage of all of the other benefits."

Which goes back to the heart of this discussion - the very issue which you have been avoiding.  And that is, the "taxation" of the participants with inordinately high fees as a means to force membership in the BGA.

 

"But let me say this. You know what the BGA stands for, you once championed it yourself. I get it if you don't like the SCAA. I'm just not sure why you want to argue against the merits of the BGA now."

Again, this is where you've tripped yourself up and gotten into this personally.  The issue here has never been about the "merits" of the BGA.  It has been about the drastic fees, poor communication and other problems surrounding the RBCs - and nothing to do with the "merits" of the BGA.

 

You have spun this issue to be about the BGA in your own mind.  Have a look at what Brady wrote:

 

"I don't know that the issue is communicating the value of the BGA. People seem to have a good awareness of the benefits that are available, but many just don't seem to be in a position to take advantage of them."

 

Then look at what else he writes:

 

"When I was Chapter Rep, the number one question I got was "when is the next certification event in my area?""

Ever since my involvement in the SCAA, there has been a clamoring for local/regional barista training.  We like to complain that the coffee out there sucks but what's needed is greater training opportunities.  We tried to do this during our time on the Council but the SCAA is no fun to work with, which is why I've always supported that the BGA separate from the SCAA.

 

People want training.  Events like "barista camp" are fun and a riff on the Roaster Guild Retreats, but how many does it benefit?  There are currently six USBC regions - how about twice a year training sessions in each region instead of one barista camp?  You can greater penetration and greater revenue opportunities - and since you can adopt the SCAA Style of Volunteer Management, you can make everyone pay their own way, get sponsort and the SCAA general fund can reap the benefit.  The people get training, you satiate a need, claim victory and the SCAA generates more revenue - it's WIN/WIN!

 

Anthony Rue:

"If I'm going to have to pay more to compete, I'd rather pay the $150 entry fee plus an additional $45 directly to Marcus so he can have a dedicated reserve for competition operations. That would help to ensure a better competition, which is what I'm interested in. Instead, that $45 will go to the BGA, which has only a fractional, tangential influence on the continued production of the competition-- if any influence at all."

Actually, the system you imply here would kind of be ideal - meaning that revenue generated by the BGA goes into a fund controlled by the BGA.  However, this was not the case during my tenure and I would be amazingly surprised if it has changed since.

 

Any monies generated by the USBC, BGA, Roasters Guild and the like does not go into a fund controlled by that committee/council/entity, it goes into the SCAA General Fund where it is dispensed by the SCAA BoD.

 

Any money generated by the BGA - in terms of membership fees, sponsor fees and attendance/training fees goes to feed the SCAA General Fund.


Sandy Hon said:
...debates are healthy.  as long as both sides are willing to listen, sometimes compromise, and oftentimes agree to disagree.

 

however, i do see that this debate needs more input from the SCAA BOD, because the BGA is certainly taking a lot of heat regarding this decision. 

 


Agreed.

There have been some great thoughts expressed here so far. I know I have a better understanding of the current situation as a result. Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to contribute.

Several of us clearly still have some unanswered questions, but going forward lets take a deep breath and focus on the core issues at hand.

Might as well pile on about about a whole host of stuff we'd rather see the SCAA/BGA doing.

 

As one who's judged a half dozen regionals, I learned nothing new during certifications after the 1st one. And I've had very few "4 point" shots during calibrations - and in some calibrations had none - despite the assertions that the barista pulling "4" shots was indeed doing so.  Never had a "5" or higher.  So I'm not a fan of the $50 fee for judges. Nor am I a fan of having to do more than one certification per cycle.  That said, I'm OK with recertifying for the USBC which is a different animal.

 

But none of us are judging this year because we have neither the time nor money to do so.  There's this thing called a recession...

 

I don't think the regionals need more infrastructure. In fact, I'd argue that for much of the country, they've become more or less irrelevant. I'll make this assertion because from pretty much everything I've been able to put together anecdotally, money is not being made at the retail level for "quality-focused" shops in most of the country. We're not all NY or SF or PDX or Seattle.  We're talking about 2nd tier top-50 metros where the best "quality" shop might do a half-million in revenue per year (whereas an SBUX in the same area might do $2 million).  And the majority of quality shops in these areas are slogging along at $250K/year or less - hard to make a living at that.

 

The biggest thing the SCAA/BGA can do for most of us is drop the focus on espresso drinks and put the focus on drip and sourcing.  Numerous published reports show that the current crop of 18-25 year olds prefer energy drinks to coffee. Fix that, please. 

 

We'd just as soon have a new organization under a new name that focuses on "SPECIALTY COFFEE" - that being coffees of 80+ points or better, not syrups, not equipment, not cups, not recipes. Just great freaking coffee.  I'd want more of our membership fees fund initiatives like the GCQRI - and we'd pay more for that if there were also an arm that provided tangible marketing benefits for shops who source like we do. But if my membership lumps me in with the schmucks up the street who serve a far less quality product, wht good is it really doing us?

 

There was a time when this was all new and exciting for us and we got wrapped up in competing and trying to win. For us, that time has passed. There is really nothing more to be gained from a barista competition as currently offered.  We're not going to stop anyone at our shop who really wants to compete, but it's no longer part of our strategy.  The new brewing competition has promise, but if it's only going to be held in the PNW, that does us little good. The Northeast Jam/Conference provides much more tangible benefit for us with the education and community it provides (and thanks to Gerra and Troy for continuing to do it).

 

It needs to be stressed again and again that to promote sustainable coffees we need to have sustainable retail businesses.  And that means being able to earn enough to sustain a halfway decent income - both baristas and owners.  Barista competitions do little in that regard.  More access to education, examples of owners succeeding with quality models (beyond the dozen or so in top five major metros that are always mentioned) coupled with brewing education - models similar to the NE Jam - is where we'd like to see more of and maybe that has to happen at more of a grassroots level.

 

From a macro level, we'd rather see the SCAA work on "product placement" in major media as that would have more impact than any press release, ad campaign or barista competition.  Look at what kinds of coffeemakers sold over Christmas - home semiautos and pods. That's doing nothing for us. Instead of barista champs trying to show latte art on morning programs, how about getting more press pots and Clevers featured on news programs and TV shows?  Get more creative about how to help the people who are trying to help the farmers that grow great coffee by buying their harvests. Because we can really use the help.


I don't have time to answer everything in detail that has come up on this thread since the last time I visited.  However let me address some themes.

 

BGA/SCAA regional presence:

 

This is a great topic of conversation and one that we talk about often on the BGA EC.  In fact we just got off the conference call and have been developing ways to incorporate more membership/community building events around each regional competition.  While we would love to do even more, we see enhancing our presence at each and every regional as a great way to get better connected with our membership and provide more support/opportunities to learn, and network with the competition.

 

I agree that this is the most important message that the SCAA needs to hear in general and I hope people will continue banging the "more regional programming" drum.  I however, do not think that this thread will have a huge impact on the SCAA BoD.  Realistically I think the best way to influence them is to flood them with emails and calls, and not just the 5-7 people who have participated on this thread, but engaging with other members who have the same needs/desires as you.

 

That being said, I also can tell you that the BGA EC is working hard to do its own regional events as well. 

 

 

USBC/Regional Judging

 

Let me first make clear, because I'm not sure it has been discussed enough.  The $50 fee for judging only applies to non-members.  For anyone who works for a SCAA member company, or i an SCAA member of any iteration (BGA, RG, etc.)  judging is free.  That being said, let me also reiterate that there has only been one person in the history of USBC who judged who was not an SCAA member in some capacity.  With all that out of the way... the complaints about the judges fee carry no water with me.  If you are judging multiple regions you are definitely a member and this is not affecting you.  Not to mention as I said before, this is probably the most undervalued (and unique) educational program in the coffee industry.

 

Anthony and Rich... maybe you didn't learn anything else about the rules after your first couple regionals, but I know there is always room to continue to learn about coffee through applying the methodology applied in the USBC.  I can't tell you how much utilizing this paradigm to taste espresso has helped, and changed the way I troubleshoot problems at the espresso machine.  Especially if you can hone your palate to tasting for balance, and then apply it to the techniques used to express different flavors in the cup.  Not to mention the impact viewing a competitors presentation from a respectful customer's critical eye can change the ways baristas view customer service.

 

I love judging because every competitor brings a different point of view on how these things can be executed, and how that could potentially be better than the conventional wisdom.  It has had an impact on the broader industry larger than any of us could ever imagine.  (I base this on competitors who have asked about changing to single baskets, or utilizing pods... etc.... there is a broad scope of people who are reached by this that we don't see)

 

I think that Barista Competitions sometimes get a bad rap because "they're not applicable to the real world" but I really think this is a failure of trying to translate the basic concepts and elements to what baristas do everyday.  I can't tell you how many times, I have watched barista work and thought "wow... if they competed they would increase workflow efficiency, and be much cleaner"  or...  "I wish this person has put thought into how to present this coffee/information rather than just this stream of consciousness..."

 

If you work hard at being good at barista competitions it forces you to be purposeful about every act that occurs in both producing, and serving coffee.  This is a skill that is applicable not only in coffee but across the service industry.  The more we learn about how to control the experiences of our guests, whether in barista competition, or in a cafe.  The more successful we will be at making them open to understanding what it is we have to offer.

 

I don't want to go too far off topic here so I'll prevent myself from getting tangential...

 

However... ultimately I think it is extremely easy for us to be impatient and to complain about not getting what we want out of our organization (the SCAA) but we need to most importantly realize that it is OUR ORGANIZATION.  It is run by volunteers elected by the membership, and a staff who are extremely dedicated to working for us.  It is important for us to hold all of them accountable to doing their jobs, and executing what is promised, however it is just as important to remember that they are working hard and doing their best with the resources provided on our behalf.

 

Someone mentioned that the SCAA Board of Directors needs to answer to some of the points in this thread, and I wholeheartedly agree....  I do however also hope that people participating here will not feel that this thread is somehow making headway on shaping their opinions.  If you have ideas get involved, it is much easier to have an impact and to guide what happens.  Also make sure that you VOTE IN SCAA ELECTIONS, and NOMINATE BOARD MEMBERS.  If I could tell you the biggest problem that we face as an industry it is the lack of willing qualified effective leadership.

 

Every person on this thread has a good head on their shoulders, and an interest in the direction our industry is headed...  WE NEED YOU!! and not just to armchair quarterback.... we need you in the game helping us all... move our industry forward together...

man what rich w. said is SO dead on. we need to fix the way the country views coffee before anything else - and what the SCAA and BGA are currently doing doesn't address that problem whatsoever.

"I however, do not think that this thread will have a huge impact on the SCAA BoD.  Realistically I think the best way to influence them is to flood them with emails and calls, and not just the 5-7 people who have participated on this thread, but engaging with other members who have the same needs/desires as you."

 It won't have a "huge impact" because the SCAA BoD would prefer to have people cheer their decisions rather than offer critique and discussion about what is awry with the organization.  They'll use the typical party line of "send us emails or calls otherwise it isn't serious" but what that demonstrates is the level of egotism and arrogance held by the members of the BoD and their refusal to "stoop down" the levels of the common coffee person - like those who are willing to engage in open discussion.

 

Sadly, this has been the SCAA M.O. since I've been involved in coffee.  This 3W/Next Wave of SCAA "Leadership" has simply adopted the style that they admonished in the "leadership" before them. Whether it was on the original BGA Forum, That Forum That Was Supposed To Be Unmentionable, CoffeeGeek or now here, the desire to avoid critical discussion is still present.

 

"I love judging because every competitor brings a different point of view on how these things can be executed, and how that could potentially be better than the conventional wisdom"

Agreed.  It's just a shame that the competitions tend to be tucked away in venues not very accessible to the public.  Add to that the failure of the competitors and their companies to actually bring those exciting drinks to the consumer and our craft is still mired in the same category as those who push a button for a living.

 

"I think that Barista Competitions sometimes get a bad rap because "they're not applicable to the real world" but I really think this is a failure of trying to translate the basic concepts and elements to what baristas do everyday."

The thing that those people need to bear in mind is that competitions and the real world are not one and the same.  To be an amazing shop barista is completely different than winning the USBC/WBC.  There are shared traits to both, to be sure, but the two are vastly different and should be approached differently.

 

"I can't tell you how many times, I have watched barista work and thought "wow... if they competed they would increase workflow efficiency, and be much cleaner"  or...  "I wish this person has put thought into how to present this coffee/information rather than just this stream of consciousness…""

I disagree.  Workflow efficiency comes with practice and being cognizant of that need in the workplace.  Cleanliness must be stressed by either the barista or the employer.  Why do successful competition baristas pay attention to those details?  Because they are forced to by the rules of the competition.  However, if they're lacking that discipline or expectation in their shop environment, that will not translate.

 

I've seen way too many "competition" shops looking like hell to believe that.

 

"The more we learn about how to control the experiences of our guests, whether in barista competition, or in a cafe.  The more successful we will be at making them open to understanding what it is we have to offer."

That's a very poignant thought - sadly, it's something that many in our craft have little grasp over.  They're too busy thinking about self-gratification in the form of what they want to wear, what they want to listen to and how awesome a barista they are to even consider the desires of their guests.

 

"It is important for us to hold all of them accountable to doing their jobs, and executing what is promised, however it is just as important to remember that they are working hard and doing their best with the resources provided on our behalf."

Is this to say that because they are "volunteering" their efforts that we should be compromising our expectations?  Because when we see the writings of some of these people who state they are here to serve (the SCAA President, for example) they also seem to expect us to blindly follow whatever they (in their God-like wisdom) deem to tell us, and that because they're "volunteers" they are above scrutiny.

 

That is the message being sent to the people.

 

"Someone mentioned that the SCAA Board of Directors needs to answer to some of the points in this thread, and I wholeheartedly agree....  I do however also hope that people participating here will not feel that this thread is somehow making headway on shaping their opinions."

Glad that you stated that no amount of discussion or complaint regarding the handling of the matters will influence the SCAA BoD.  

 

"If you have ideas get involved, it is much easier to have an impact and to guide what happens.  Also make sure that you VOTE IN SCAA ELECTIONS, and NOMINATE BOARD MEMBERS.  If I could tell you the biggest problem that we face as an industry it is the lack of willing qualified effective leadership."

It is exactly because of the statement prior to this why there aren't more "qualified" people willing to volunteer their time to the leadership.  The organization is not responsive to the desires or concerns of the very people who could be its members and its most vocal supporters.  Instead, the leadership dismisses the discussions calling for people to "get involved".

 

Truth is, the "leadership" only wants people who will follow along the party line.  Look at the SCAA BoD director Marty Curtis.  There's a person who's stood up and asked the hard questions.   In turn, he's sidestepped by the elected BoD who seem to have figured out the voting in advance.

 

There's very little to be impressed by the SCAA "leadership" and quite ironic that those people who tout "transparency" the most are the most opaque and close-minded amongst us.

More great discussion on these very topics:

 

http://hermitudinous.com/2011/01/29/question-of-value/

loved aaron's comments.

 IT'S ALL IN THE GAME, YO. ALL IN THE GAME...

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