STARBUCKS                             2017 HOST SPONSOR

On behalf of Starbucks, I want to welcome you to Seattle for the Global Specialty Coffee Expo. Already the world’s largest coffee trade show, it gets bigger every year and we are proud to host everyone for the fourth time. It is also with great respect that I welcome Kenya as the portrait country. A country steeped with tradition and culture in the coffee community.

The Specialty Coffee Association has always played an important role in coffee, unifying a community of farmers, suppliers, roasters, baristas and customers to build relationships and generate excitement around the work we love to do every day. This expo is the pinnacle of that commitment to collaboration and becomes even more important as our industry grows and evolves. 

At Starbucks, we have been so inspired by the evolving connection customers are having with coffee. Now, more than ever, they are engaged in origin stories, farmer impact and how brewing influences taste. Our opportunity is to help facilitate this in a way that is meaningful to each and impactful to the industry. Since your last visit to Seattle, we have worked hard create new and unique conversations. From designing retail spaces that immerse people in the craft of coffee to influencing the development of new sourcing markets like the Congo or creating the One Tree for Every Bag program which highlights the challenges coffee producers face with coffee rust.  All of this work brings people closer to our collective coffee community.

And the industry has been having new kinds of conversations, too. The Sustainable Coffee Challenge coalition, an effort pioneered by Conservation International, is convening coffee industry leaders to develop a common framework for sustainability and leveraging the scale of the Specialty Coffee Association for greater good in the coffee industry.

Most importantly though, none of this engagement and connection over coffee could happen without the crucial relationships between baristas and customers. The baristas are the ones who inspire new coffee enthusiasts and push us to learn and experiment.  Nowhere is this most apparent than at the U.S. Barista Championship’s, a favorite experience at the the Global Specialty Coffee Expo. We are so proud of all of the hard work you have done to hone your craft and inspire us to be better. 

This is an exciting time for all of us and Starbucks is honored to be your returning host you in our hometown.  We look forward to seeing you in April.


Cliff Burrows

group president, Siren Retail and Global Coffee, Starbucks