I was reading the blog for Barista Magazine and was struck by the coffee scene in Australia, specifically The Aroma Festival. This event, going on its 11th year, links coffee retailers with the general public. The turnout is usually between 60,000-100,000!
In related news, Starbucks announced it will close 75% of its Australian stores. Independent shops often fear Starbucks and feel that the only way to compete with Starbucks is to act like a Starbucks. However, this isn't the answer. As it has been said before, the real way to beat Starbucks is to offer a better product and the consumers will decide. Unfortunately too many independent shops in the States offer a sub-par product and Starbucks wins out. Offering events such as the Aroma Festival showcases the shops that are passionate about their craft. I hope that working through BFCAT and PACA I can partner with others who are excited about developing the coffee scene in the Pittsburgh Region. It's been great so far and I look forward to all the possibilities.
(Photo by Halan)