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NCA Schedules Fall Educational Conference For Oct. 23-25; Promises Diverse Curriculum

Posted On: 8/26/2006

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NEW YORK CITY -- The National Coffee Association of USA will hold its annual Fall Educational Conference at the Park Central Hotel here from October 23 through 25. The program is being organized on two tracks, "Transcending the Bean" and "Catching the New Wave," enhanced by a number of entertaining and informative local activities.

On Monday, October 23, a pre-conference educational bonus opportunity will be available: the first-ever NCA espresso training workshop. It will be conducted by Lavazza Premium Coffees Corp. at its training facility in midtown Manhattan. The high-intensity session will run from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, covering everything from the history of espresso and characteristics of the espresso bean through proper grinder adjustment for optimum extraction and correct milk texturing techniques to espresso machine troubleshooting. Seating is extremely limited, and early registration is recommended. A separate $75 registration fee applies.

The conference formally kicks off on Monday evening with a welcoming reception at New York City's Juan Valdez Cafe, the signature venue of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.

Educational programming gets off to a fast start on Tuesday morning, October 24, with an 8:30 AM keynote address on "The Future of Coffee and Sustainability," presented by Gabriel Silva, chief executive officer of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. This will key a general session titled "How Producers are Responding to Sustainability Certification Programs," featuring a panel of experts from the certifying organizations: Flavia Barbosa, of Exportadora Guachupe, presenting for Utz Kapeh (the term means "good coffee" in a Mayan tongue); Peter Lehner of Finca Aquires, presenting for the Rainforest Alliance; and Joseph Taguma, senior general manager for the Zambia Coffee Growers Association, who will present on the Common Code for the Coffee Community. The general session, which leads off both educational tracks, will wrap up at 9:45 AM on Tuesday.


The tracks then diverge, with those pursuing the product curriculum taking a "virtual mill tour" of a Central American green coffee mill with Richard Etkin of Mercon Coffee serving as tour guide. At 11:00 AM, Brian Bradley of S& D Coffee will join Karl Schmidt, Probat Burns and Joaquim Eichner, Praxis International, for a one-hour exploration of the roasting process in detail.

From noon to 1:00 PM, a ticketed luncheon will offer participants in both educational tracks the opportunity to join round-table discussion groups to trade ideas about improving the return on investment in certified coffees, the challenges and opportunities of incorporating espresso into coffee offering, and effective grassroots marketing techniques.

Immediately thereafter, those on the "Transcending the Bean" track will depart for the New York Board of Trade in lower Manhattan. The program there will lead off with a cupping and grading session led by Susie Spindler of the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, slated for 2:00 PM to 3:45 PM. Participants will learn the basics of differentiating flavors through cupping, and relating the appearance of coffee to its grade. Spindler also will inform the group about the "Cup of Excellence" competition that she has implemented throughout the producing world.

They will be joined by participants following the marketing track, who will depart for NYBOT at 3:30 PM. From 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM, the entire group will take part in a mock trading session, followed by a networking reception. The experience of the NYBOT commodities trading floor is a perennial highlight of NCA's Fall Educational Conference.

On Tuesday, the "New Wave" marketing track will lead off with the presentation of a global overview of the coffee market by Judy Ganes Chase of J. Ganes Consulting LLC, at 10:15 AM. She will provide an informed estimate of arabica and robusta supplies, and the chances of their proving inadequate to prevent a price spike. The speaker is a veteran commodities market analyst well-known to operators who attended the National Coffee Service Association conventions in the 1990s.

From 10:45 AM to 11:15 AM, Bruce Goldsmith of Baronet Coffee will lead a seminar titled "Single Serve Makes Inroads in OCS Markets." Goldsmith will show the relationships among the three components of a successful single-cup OCS business (high quality coffee, personal choice and exceptional value), and will discuss a fundamental shift taking place in coffee consumption with regard to single cup, and how this change may increase profits for roasters and OCS distributors alike.

At 11:15 AM, Sally Vater of Procter & Gamble will update the audience on "Coffee and Health: More Good News." Vater chairs NCA's Scientific Advisory Group, and will summarize some of the most recently published research into coffee and health. Findings include that coffee appears to possess antidepressant properties, can enhance athletic performance, and seems to be associated with reduced risk for diabetes, Parkinson's disease, gallstones and some cancers.

From noon to 1:30 PM, the "New Wave" participants can take part in the luncheon round tables program. At 1:30 PM, a market research panel including Datamonitor's John Gilmore, Samuel  Nahmias of StudyLogic and Robert Mandl of TNS-NFO will offer insights into critical coffee trends. Gilmore will offer an analysis of new coffee product developments around the world; Nahmias will provide details on the CDI (Category Development Index) and demonstrate that some U.S. coffee markets may be over-developed while others are the reverse. Mandl will explore changing "share-of-mouth" beverage consumption patterns, and show where coffee beverages fit in with U.S. consumers.

From 2:45 PM to 3:30 PM, another panel will discuss "Taking Iced Coffee to the Next Level." Panelists include Bunn Corp.'s Margaret Heery, Rebecca Zogbi of Dunkin' Brands and Bonnie Riggs, NPD Group. They will review the major increase in iced-coffee beverage consumption and profile the consumers who are driving that increase, including their demographics and buying patterns. Seminar-goers will learn how Dunkin' Donuts has reached these consumers successfully, and what equipment is available to create iced coffee beverages.

At 3:30 PM, "New Wave" participants will be transported to the New York Board of Trade for the general mock trading session and networking reception.


On Wednesday morning, both tracks can attend a barista demonstration from 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Sherri Johns, WholeCup Coffee Consulting, will preside, emceeing a group of veteran barista competitors who will prepare espresso, cappuccino and signature beverages for conference-goers just as they do for judges at barista competitions. She also will explain how hosting a competition can generate customer interest and build loyalty.

The "Transcending the Bean" track then offers a session led by Daniel Ephraim, Modern Process Equipment, from 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM. Titled "Optimizing Coffee Quality Through Proper Grinding," the seminar will relate attributes including particle size and uniformity, as well as transport and storage, to the quality of the finished beverage.

From 10:30 AM to 11:15 AM, Rob Stephen of Coffee Solutions will consider strategies and solutions for quality assurance programs, bid requests, roaster relations and overall supply chain management in the convenience-store coffee market, in view of the growing importance of quality coffee as a purchase driver.

From 11:15 AM to noon, Bunn Corp.'s Randy Pope will lead a seminar on "Using Brewing Technology to Control the Elements of Coffee Perfection." He will relate the five elements of optimum brewing (water, time, temperature, turbulence and filtration) to matching grind with brewing-time, and will demonstrate use of the Coffee Brewing Control Chart. He also will review some of the latest brewing technologies.

Climaxing the "Transcending the Bean" track will be a tour of Kobricks Coffee Co. (Hoboken, NJ), a small speciality roaster situated just across New York Harbor. It will run from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.

Participants in the "New Wave" marketing track will learn how to reap profits from the growing espresso category at a 10:00 AM seminar from a trio of experts. Michelle Shmal of NPD Group will present a statistical overview of the foodservice espresso market, and David Dallis of Dallis Coffee will discuss his company's success with espresso beverages, as well as issues with espresso-related equipment. Ric Martin, Bunn Corp., will outline the equipment types needed for a variety of foodservice applications, and offer an overview of espresso drink types.

At 10:45 AM, a panel session will emphasize that "There's Nothing 'Regular' About Regular Coffee in Foodservice." Jim Munson of Dallis Coffee Co., Nils Lindblad of Bodium USA and Christopher Russell, Union Square Cafe, will offer evidence that, for a foodservice establishment that's willing to go the extra mile in offering a variety of coffee options to customer, the dividends can include satisfaction, repeat business and profit per coffee serving.

Wrapping up the morning educational program is a discussion of Grassroots Marketing by Darlene Sherer, Gorilla Coffee. She will explain that the "grassroots" approach is not just for small retailers trying to stretch their marketing budgets, but is an important tool for operations of all sizes.


At 1:30 PM, Noreen Carroll of Autocrat Coffee and Andrew Wezeman, Douwe Egberts/Sara Lee, will team up for a discussion of "Liquid Coffee: How to Catch the Wave." As more and more concentrates and serving systems enter the market, liquid coffee is undergoing steady growth. This session will explore the opportunities for sales growth in market segments with requirements that liquid coffees address, like hospitals and high-volume concession venues, and will feature a liquid coffee "taste-off."

From 2:35 PM to 3:15 PM, Andrew Hetzel of Cafemakers will quantify "The Financial Impact of Better Coffee" with case studies demonstrating the bottom-line benefits of upgrading ingredients, procedures and suppliers, and investing in suitable capital infrastructure.

Concluding the program, John Gilmore of Datamonitor and John Hunter, VDF Future Ceuticals, will address the question, "Is Coffee Becoming the Hottest New Nutraceutical?" Gilmore will elucidate this emerging trend and assess the prospects for its development, and Hunter will provide pharmacological data supporting certain health claims being made for coffee, and consider the opportunities for companies contemplating this new market segment.

Industry members can register for the NCA Fall Educational Conference online at, or by calling (212) 766-4007 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM (Eastern), Monday through Friday.