The specialty coffee expo was in Chicago this year instead of Portland/Seattle or NYC/Boston. It had never been in the midwest before. EVERYONE came. They were expecting 12,000 people and 18,000 people showed up.

I look forward to SCA each year like a reunion. At this point, everyone I do business with is my friend, and they come up and hug me and show me pictures of their family and we catch up with where we've been in the past  year and what we've been doing. I taste thousands of coffees, meet our farmers, check out the new products, line up the year's strategy.

This year, getting more than a couple minutes of face time with my friends wasn't possible before someone would break in and interrupt us. Lines to talk to people were hours long. Getting into cuppings took some name dropping and even then it's a good thing I brought a spoon, because people stole all the spoons. And SO many people I didn't know happened to be my customers and were excited to run into me. I had lots of pens and stickers and smiles saved up, so it was all good.

I actually had to leave the convention floor to talk business. I grabbed lunch with my coffee trader from Cafe Imports who I met at a coffee convention 10 years ago. I got dinner with my coffee trader from Walker Coffee who we went to Kenya with 5 years ago. After hours, I bought a new roaster, and a new cart to load the roasters easier. I lined up some Ethiopia coffees for July that taste like blueberries again. I locked in coffee from Burundi and Bolivia that stood out. I had a beer with the importer I'm going to travel to Colombia with this summer.

But man, I really feel like I didn't get anything done compared to most years. I'm already looking forward to next year's expo in Houston and hoping not quite so many people crowd in.

And then after a whirlwind of excitement we were back home, and it was back to work, roasting coffee, filling orders, being grateful you keep ordering and letting us do this for a living.

I haven't met most of you, but if I ever do, I have a smile saved up just for you. And I know the coffee selection has been lighter than normal, but I have a few good coffees on the way now.

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