The 20th Specialty Coffee Association of America Conference just ended today. This 4 day event marks not only a milestone in terms of the “age” of the group, but this conference is the first to highlight the birthplace of coffee – Ethiopia. I only read an article about this earlier today and I find it a nice coincidence that I had just bought a bag of Ethiopian coffee from Starbucks hours before.
Anyhow, here are some things that key people in Ethiopia had to say about the conference.
“Ethiopia is immensely proud to be at the forefront of this year’s SCAA Conference. Ethiopians have cultural and social traditions of coffee drinking going back many, many centuries, and, as such, we have much that is unique to share. The invitation to Ethiopia to be the first ever African portrait country featured is an honor. We take this as a symbol of both the Specialty Coffee industry’s high regard for our place in the expanding and dynamic specialty coffee market, as well as a tribute to our unique heritage and historic role in the coffee business,” said H.E. Yakob Yalla, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development to the assembled experts and enthusiasts.
“Few developing countries have realised that intellectual property plays a crucial role in income generation in the modern, global economy. Ethiopia is truly proud to be among the first to see IP management as a tool for development and poverty alleviation. It is a tribute to the coffee industry and our pioneer licensees that they agree with us and are prepared to cooperate with Ethiopia on its mission to capture a greater share of the retail price for Ethiopian coffee farmers and coffee workers,” commented Getachew Mengistie, Director General of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office.
This has gotten me more interested in Ethiopia as a coffee-producing country – expect to see more posts soon.