Our Story

The Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCA) sits at the very heart of the coffee community, where thousands of coffee professionals and enthusiasts can share their wealth of knowledge and experience with one another.

Everything we do at SCA is focused on Inspiring Coffee Excellence through innovation, education, research and most importantly, communication. This is our vision to take speciality coffee out to the world, to educate consumers on this most fascinating beverage for the benefit of every level in the supply chain, whilst helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry.

What We Do

SCAE Tuesday 071As a non-profit membership association, SCA has established an enormous network of coffee lovers and industry professionals across more than 90 countries worldwide, with many also working through a National chapter that offers a programme of coffee events, training workshops, competitions and social activities on a local level.

On the international stage which is also served by a world wide network of ASTs, we regularly host training days and workshops as part of our well-established Coffee Diploma System. As well we offer networking events, Field Trips to origin countries, and our annual World of Coffee event, which brings together thousands of visitors, exhibitors and competitors from all over the world to take note of the latest trends in coffee innovation, as well as to witness the exciting spectacle of the World Coffee Championships.

Our Values

Our Vision: to be the authority on delivering coffee excellence

Our Mission: to create and inspire excellence in the coffee community through innovation, research, education and communication

Our Values: excellence, knowledge, leadership, integrity, communication, competence, education and community

SCAE are open to everyone with a commitment to quality coffee, operating a "one member, one vote” policy at our bi-annual elections to our Board of Directors. We keep our members regularly informed and up-to-date through several media channels, including our quarterly magazine, Café Europa, and our monthly e-Bulletin newsletter, while also providing access to exclusive content such as research papers, contact databases and other essential data from within the speciality coffee trade.

We are a recognised force with governments and international organisations on a global level. We lobby strongly for the cause of quality coffee. Together with the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and Speciality Coffee Association of Japan (SCAJ), we represent the speciality sector on the International Coffee Organization's Private Sector Consultative Board. We take positions to defend coffee quality and to ensure a fair deal for everyone, and our voice is heard! We spearheaded the drive, now taken up by the ICO, to develop alternative uses for poor quality coffee and to remove it from the world market.

Our Origin

"As coffee enthusiasts, we will be better heard as a strong association than as individuals. As businessmen, we will have the pleasure of enjoying an expanding total market for coffee both in value and in volume. We hope to become a 'cake baking organisation', so that our members have a larger cake to share when they go out and fight for their place in the market. In the aim of promoting 'the perfect cup of coffee for the consumer', SCA will be significantly different from other European coffee associations.

"It will have a vertical structure, and will be recruiting members committed to coffee quality from every level of the coffee chain - farmers and farmer associations, coffee boards, exporters and exporter associations, organisations and media, transporters, shipping lines and warehouses, importers, traders, processors, equipment manufacturers, roasters, retailers, coffee bars, and even end consumers."

Alf Kramer
First SCA President

History of the Organisation

The Speciality Coffee Association of Europe was formed at a meeting of representatives of the speciality coffee community and coffee enthusiasts held in London on the 5th June 1998.

The initial aim was to gather 50 committed individual and companies who would be prepared to become "Pioneer Members" who would each contribute €500 as seed money to get the Association off the ground. We succeeded, and the Association was able to get off to a magnificent start with everyone working on a volunteer basis. The first Board of directors was appointed on the recommendation of the President Alf Kramer, but it was emphasised at the time that Board meetings would be open to all members who wished to participate.

The formal structure of SCA was put into place on the 10th August 1998, when the Registrar of Companies at the UK Companies House registered "Speciality Coffee Association of Europe" as a Private Limited Company under UK law.

Board of Directors

scaenewboard 1bThe first elections for members of the Board took place in 2000 and the following members were elected:

  • Patrick Bewley, Ireland
  • Alf Kramer, Norway
  • Tomasz Obracaj, Poland
  • Simeon Onchere, Kenya
  • Charles Prager, UK
  • Roberto Pregel, Italy
  • Vincenzo Sandalj, Italy
  • Vincent Schlüter, Germany
  • Colin Smith, UK
  • Mick Wheeler, UK
  • Samuel Zenger, Switzerland

Patrick Bewley took over the Presidency from Alf Kramer for the year 2000/01.

The following people have all acted as President of the Association:

  • 1998/2000 Alf Kramer
  • 2000/01 Patrick Bewley
  • 2001/02 Mick Wheeler
  • 2002/03 Trygve Klingenberg
  • 2003/04 Vincenzo Sandalj
  • 2004/05 Tom Obracaj
  • 2005/07 Colin Smith
  • 2007/09 Max Fabian
  • 2009/11 Nils Erichsen
  • 2011/13 Marc Käppeli
  • 2013/14 Drewry Pearson
  • 2014/15 Cosimo Libardo

All office holders are elected at SCAE's AGM, which is normally held in May or June each year. Under our by-laws, however, the Vice President automatically succeeds to the Presidency in the following year.


As the Association went from strength to strength, it rapidly became clear that we could no longer operate on a purely volunteer basis, so the Association appointed Betty Attwood as its Secretary and Luca Doimi in charge of Membership Services.

In January 2003, the Board appointed Patrick Bewley as the Association's Executive Director on a part time basis. He resigned from this position in January 2005 and the Board appointed Mick Wheeler as his successor, also on a part time basis.

In July 2005, the Secretariat moved into its first dedicated offices in Chelmsford, Essex, UK but these proved to be far too small and the office moved to its current location at Oak Lodge Farm in Bicknacre, Essex, UK in January 2006.

In January 2011, Mick Wheeler retired as Executive Director and was replaced by David Veal on a full-time basis. David had previously been a SCA member and a judge for WBC, as well as chair of the UK based Beverage Standards Association. Since then the SCA team has grown considerably and extra premises have been taken at Oak Lodge Farm to accommodate the staff. 


SCAE now have over 30 chapters operating across Europe and Asia, representing thousands of coffee professionals and enthusiasts on a local level. Our chapters are volunteer led and are run by passionate and dedicated individuals who organise their own Education events and National Championships, as well as playing a vital role in serving the needs of SCA members.


SCAE Tuesday 024In October 2000, we held our first ever Conference and Exhibition in Monte Carlo; at this event, we also held our first ever World Barista Championship, which attracted 14 contestants. The Monte Carlo event was well attended and certainly proved that there was a strong appetite for such gatherings in Europe. Since then we have held the following events:

  • The SCA Alpine Coffee Meeting, Berne, Switzerland 24 -26 May 2001
  • The SCA Top of the World Conference and Exhibition, Oslo, Norway 14 - 16 June 2002
  • The 3rd SCA World Speciality Coffee Conference, Exhibition and EspresShow, Rimini Italy, 31 January - 3 February 2004
  • The World Barista Championship, Trieste, Italy 18 - 20 June 2004
  • The 4th SCA World Speciality Coffee Conference, Exhibition & Events, Athens, Greece 4 -7 March 2005
  • The World of Coffee 5th World Speciality Coffee Conference, Exhibition & Events, Bern, Switzerland, 19 - 21 May 2006
  • The SCA Coffee Fiesta, Antwerp, Belgium 18 - 20 May 2007
  • Wonderful Coffee Copenhagen, the 6th SCA World Speciality Coffee Conference, Exhibition & Events, Copenhagen, Denmark, 19 - 22 June 2008
  • Wonderful Coffee Cologne and the Coffeena Exhibition, SCA Conference, Workshops and World Championships, Cologne, Germany, 26 - 28 June 2009
  • The SCA Event, World Barista Championship and the 2010 Caffè Culture Exhibition, London, UK, 23 - 25 June 2010
  • The SCA Event, World of Coffee, at MECC, Maastricht, Netherlands, 22-24 June 2011 - Competitions: World Brewers Cup, World Cezve/Ibrik Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, World Latte Art Championship. Competitions managed by World Coffee Events (WCE).
  • SCAE World of Coffee, Messe Wien, Vienna, Austria, 13-15 June 2012 - Competitions: World Barista Championship, World Brewers Cup, World Cup Tasters Championship, Cezve/Ibrik Championship. Competitions managed by World Coffee Events (WCE).
  • SCAE World of Coffee, Nice, France, 26-28 June 2013 - Competitions: World Latte Art Championship, World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship, World Cup Tasters Championship, World Coffee Roasting Championship. Competitions managed by World Coffee Events (WCE).
  • SCAE World of Coffee, Rimini, Italy, 10-12 June 2014 - Competitions:  World Barista Championship, World Brewers Cup, World Coffee Roasting Championship and World Cezve/Ibrik Championship. Competitions managed by World Coffee Events (WCE).
  • SCAE World of Coffee, Gothnburg, Sweden, 16-18 June 2015 - Competitions: World Brewers Cup, World Coffee Roasting Championship, World Latte Art Championship, World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship and World Cup Tasters Championship Competitions managed by World Coffee Events (WCE).

Café Europa

cover squareThe first edition of our newsletter Café Europa was published in September 1998. This was a four-page publication outlining the aims of the new association and explaining what the Association was all about. From these humble beginnings, Café Europa has grown significantly, and the publication is now a glossy magazine covering all aspects of the speciality coffee world.

Digital versions of the latest issue of Café Europa, along with the most recent back issues are now available in the Members Lounge