Sorry for the delay,  I was trying to summarize hundreds if not thousands of emails over the years.   I think point form is the only way. I have tried to only include the most relevant items but honestly, it's difficult.
WBC ( world barista championship)  WCE ( World coffee Events, manages the WBC amongst other coffee competitions, co-owned by SCAA AND SCAE ) NB ( National Body or Sanctioned Body) CBA( Canadian Barista Academy)
  •  CAC has a Letter of Understanding with the SCAA.  that  addresses jurisdictional issues between the two associations.  Apparently Sandy drafted it with Ted Lingle, the founder of SCAA.
  • 2002 Sandy appoints the Coffee and Tea Expo, owned by Vida Radovanovic as the representative of the CAC to host and run the Canadian Barista Championships (CBC), first competition is held 2003.
  • 2004 Les Kuan Volunteers with CBC as technical director.
  • CBC  is run as an open registration" event under the direct supervision of WBC head judges and representatives until 2006.  Regional Champions get a bye into the finals of the CBC.
  • 2007  Fulcrum enterprises purchases the Coffee Tea expo, and rename it to the current " Coffee Tea Show"  Vida is retained as National Body representative for CAC
  • 2007 Les Kuan and Vida  Co-found the Canadian Barista Academy to act as an open source education facility, with the goal to improve coffee quality in Canada through education and training.  CBA also to serve as administrative body for competitions.
  • 2007 Shake up of old guard at WBC, CBC allies  are relieved of their duties and the WCE is formed. We are told we can run our own competitions but must have a WBC head judge.  Regional format is changed and four regions are created with the top four from each region being the only ones allowed to compete at nationals.  No more open registration.
  • 2007 CBA delegates authority to regional committees to run their regions, and therefore have ownership and responsibility for the regional championships and events.
  • 2007 Canadian Head Judge committee is formed, headed by senior Canadian head Judges    Committee is entrusted in developing judges, competitors, and maintaining integrity of the competition. Competitions thrive during these next few years under the head judge committee leadership and new autonomy.
  • 2007 all Canadian regionals are streamed live, and the national championship is the first national of its type to be broadcast and draws a world audience of 35,000 over two days.
  • 2008 CBA funds and sends Canadian Head judges to WBC judge certification in Anaheim, at SCAA head quarters.  6 people go, 2 pass initially, and then in a surprising decision an additional Canadian judge is certified weeks after.   This allows the CBC to be run by canadian head judges, saving the expense of having to bring in foreign head judges. Canadian WBC judges begin to rise up in WBC ranks, serving on world rules committees amongst others.
  • 2010, May,  SCAA president Ric Rhinehart calls a meeting with "Canadian Coffee contingent to discuss the merging with SCAA, and the US barista championships.  Meeting is attended by a broad canadian represention ( minutes attached below exhibit A), after the meeting rick sends letter exhibit B). Strong hints are made about reducing Canadian Regionals from four to two.
  • 2010 Post meeting with Ric in which he discloses that the SCAA would like to change it's name to Specialty Coffee Association of the AmericaS" , and include North, Central and South America under its umbrella.  It is pointed out that if Canada joins, Mexico will follow and so on and so forth.
  • 2010 May, SCAA starts the sabre rattling about barista certification in Canada,  saying it will come with or without our invitation.
  • 2010 August , Complaint filed about our mandatory regional policy, and lack of open registration for Nationals. WCE writes to say they disagree with our compulsory regional format, in support of the complainant,  however we produce a valid enough argument to support our reasons. ( later vindicated as SCAA adopts a similar compulsory regional format a few years later for the USBC).
  • 2011, Mike Strumpf , long time SCAA judge, WBC judge moves to Canada from the US through Swiss Water Decaf, and joins the Head Judges committee.  Because of Mike's higher ranking with the WBC/WCE, the Canadian head judges begin to fall back into a pecking order.  
  • 2012, Key Senior Canadian Head Judge committee members decide to quit, and de facto control of the committee is now with Mike Strumpf.
  • 2013 Another Coup to wrest NB away from CAC surfaces,  Sandy arranges meetings with key individuals  and the SCAE for support.  Coup seems focused on paving the the way for the SCAA to certify Canadian Baristas which is opposed by the CAC.  Australia ( ASCA) actually allows american certification to happen in Australia however in a strange turn of events,  Former  ASCA president rob forsythe is voted back into office and creates a new ASCA barista certification that supercedes the SCAA certification, relegating the SCAA certification to an "Accepted partial credit" towards full ASCA certification. Les proposes to Sandy to follow suit, however health issues put things on hold.
  • 2013  Mike Strumpf is appointed WCE regional representative which means the Canadian NB now answers directly to him for competition matters.  Reports are filed on the various competitions which apparently are not very flattering.
  • 2013  WCE changes rule allowing any WBC certified head judge to oversee competition., instead new rule forces nb to appoint  WCE regional representative as head judge for nationals.
  • 2013 two more senior Canadian Head judges leave, thus there are no more WBC certified Canadian judges.
  • 2014 Competition season relatively uneventful, enrollment is down in 3 regions.
  • 2014 USA shrinks to 2 regions  from 7 and pressures Canada to follow suit by getting sponsors to chime in.  Canada explains that the Canadian model is based on the healthy australian model which has similar geography, and population density.  Australian competition culture is stronger than the USA, and at its peak had more regions than the USA.  However even the might ASCA is pressured to shrink it's regions, and currently has 7 minor regions that feed into 4 major regions.
  • 2014  Increased pressure to reduce Canadian Regionals from four to two
  • 2015 Canada wins Bronze at the 2015 WBC,
  • 2015 Two regionals are poorly attended, Western ( vancouver) and Eastern(Montreal),  much criticism from the judges committee, who no longer seem to share the responsibility to recruit and inspire new judges or competitors.
  • 2015 SCAA cancels all regional championships.
  • 2016 Cafe Imports a major sponsor to the USBC and the WBC pulls out of all competition sponsorship, because of the lack of regional support in the USA.
  • 2016 Pressure from Canada's largest sponsor Nuova Simonelli leads to an agreement to reduce the number of Canadian regionals from four to two.


From: ibex enterprise <>

To: <>

Friday, May 7, 2010, 1:14 AM

Thank you again, Emma and Chris for your candor.

Before I begin, I am making the assumption that what is being shared here with me is for my eyes only.  Unless you state otherwise, I am keeping this for my consumption only, although I would like permission to share some of your key points with some trusted individuals, with or without referencing the source.

Whatever makes you comfortable I am more than happy to comply.

You make some very persuasive points about keeping the voting rights to roasters.

Who are the stake holders/Funders?

A.  Baristas

Fuelled by the politics of the Barista Guild of America, the Canadian Baristas are a vocal bunch.  Quick to criticize, and backseat manage, they are young brash.. and well.. young..

Your view of the reality of the barista's role in all of this is accurate.  That the barista is the entry level to the coffee industry, is not a very popular perspective, though accurate it may ,

In 2002, we created the Canadian Barista Academy, to give champion level baristas opportunities to teach, and learn the craft of teaching.  The Academy turned out to be more than we bargained for as it became a source of subsidy for competition funding shortfalls.

No money to feed volunteers?  Hell, let's put on a barista 101 workshop and pay for some pizzas!.  No money to pay for internet Wifi? No problems, let's teach some latte art!.

Along the way, the academy also became the competition organizers, sponsor-seekers,  scorekeepers, judge certifiers, WBC liason,  live streaming network, dishwasher, potential certifier, and baby sitter.... to name a few roles.

But now it seems some of the barista community are crying for more input, and we've been trying to listen to them and transfer more power to local committees for regionals  But we've been careful to see the power go to sponsors as opposed to baristas.  But the natives are restless.

B. Chains/Retailers

One difference in Canada might be the role of a few larger chain/retailers who are not roasters.  These retail chains could arguably be called stake holders, although they have not contributed sponsorship dollars in the past, just volunteer manpower, and marketing support.

There seems to be a new eagerness to help fund the barista championships ( probably caused by the SCAA overtures) but this could cause more problems. Significant funding by these chains could bring question as to the integrity of the results, especially since the larger chains tend to do better than the rest in Canada.  We are in the process of testing a new model that limits retailer contributions to helping drive public attendance to the events.

Admission tickets to the regional events would be purchased in minimum lots per retail location, for both chains and independents, at a  wholesale price ( say $2).  These tickets would be either sold to their respective customers at face value( $5-10),  or at a discounted value, or just given away ( or there might be a 3 drink loyalty stamp space on the back complete with privacy violating personal information required to enter prize draws and a promise to get sick tasting coffees and pastries).

Either way, the bigger chains would contribute more, given their number of locations/custormers, and all cafes would help drive the event everyone is invested.

We'll see how it all works out in the next few months. Whether the retailers get a vote... that's something to think long and hard about.

C. Equipment suppliers/ espresso machines/Grinders

Another difference could be  that the biggest investors of regional and national competitions have been the machine suppliers.  By using subtle pressure, we have somehow convinced the grinder and machine sponsors to take the major role in funding competitions.  This was purely due to the fact the roasters didn't step up.

The espresso machine suppliers have done well by their association though, as we've felt greatly obligated to make sure they got a good return on their investment, which they have.

But we know this can't last forever, and we've been trying to rectify this imbalance by broadening sponsorship for competitions in order to reduce the requirement of the espresso machine suppliers.  But do they get a vote too?

D. Roasters

Only recently ( last month!) has there been a willingness of roasters to help out.  There is progress, as they willing to be in the same room together finally, which probably was the case when you guys started the NZCRA.

Trying to get them to play together and battle the real enemy, energy drinks, tea, and stale italian coffee, has been the focus of my one man army.  But it looks like all that nagging is starting to pay off.  But perhaps I have been lobbying against the wrong boogey man, as the fear of the large neighbour maybe have been the one motivation I had overlooked.  But now the SCAA is doing that work for me.

However I am openly wondering if the roasters could support the infracture alone. Most of our "3rd wave roasters" are relatively small.  Then again, we're not talking about anything more than supporting 4 regionals and a nationls.  No COE, no trips to origin.. etc.  The key roasters will probably be the larger more 2nd wave roasters who actually have money, and could leverage their support of competitions to enhance their already developed brands.


There are other significant factors at play here  such as our geography, the cost of travel, the challenges of trying to create cohesiveness in a country 5000 km wide, and working with regional competition budgets of less than 10k, and still be able to pay for airfares, livestreaming and beer.

But I'll save all that for another email.