NCA Recap

If you have yet to attend the NCA Convention, you may be curious about its purpose, who is there, what you might learn, and the business you might transact (leads you might garner) by attending. In a sentence, this convention brings together industry professionals, including coffee importers, large roasters, and a few allied industry players, to transact business deals. 

It’s small; only 800 people attended this year. Nevertheless, I suspect well over $8,000,000 dollars in business was negotiated in a few short days.  

While there are sessions to unify the group, many attendees are sitting in the hotel lobby, clearly engaged in important conversations that affect the price of a cup of coffee and negotiating future business.  

Favorite Session 

The entire audience showed up for the kickoff session to honor various industry leaders and organizations. There was an obligatory keynote speaker. Not since Jane Goodall spoke at the 2004 SCAA in Minneapolis have I been so captivated by a convention speech. To highlight the conference theme of Resilience and Reinvention, author Amanda Lindhout took the stage and held the entire room spellbound as she shared the traumatic story of being kidnapped in Somalia and held prisoner for a year and a half. Her release through ransom, which led to a fragility in her confidence and PTSD, was an inspiring story of adaptability, strength of character and fragility. Her story: A House in the Sky 


Did you know the NCA successfully petitioned the State of California to remove the Prop 65 cancer warning language from coffee packaging? Not only that, it has created scientific and market research that proves coffee is, in fact, healthy. {Edward Giovannucci, Harvard School of Health}. To top it off, they have created a Labeling Guide that clearly outlines the murky suggestions by the USDA for coffee package labeling. If you’ve ever been part of a bag design, you know it is tedious with unclear directions. 

The App 

The NCA Convention had a great app hosted on CVENT. It was easily the best event app I’ve ever used. It was simple, had an up-to-the-minute feed of events, where to go and a list of all the attendees. In addition, it allowed you to update your profile on demand and to message other attendees through the app – a great tool. A bonus was that the NCA had gamified the use of the app by letting you sign up as a contestant to win prizes, whereby you collected points by checking in to sessions and visiting exhibitors’ websites and social media, among other things that encouraged convention engagement.   


The NCA Convention is in the business of coffee. It is NOT about drinking it, creating certifications, educational tracts, and showcasing the latest designs. However, armed with this knowledge, you can attend to network and gain access to meticulously collected and closely guarded data, plus share opportunities your company offers to this action-oriented group.


2023 NCA Distinguished Leadership Award – Charles Cortellini 

2023 NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award – Days for Girls International 

by Jen Stone

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