Or, how I spent my time at the 2008 SCAA conference and expo.

Day 1. Depart Burlington International and arrive at LaGuardia. Hike between terminals to change airlines. Send a prayer winging to the airline gods that my luggage makes the same trek. It does, but at a cost… as I pick up my luggage in Minneapolis my back makes a *twoing* sound. [Oh, crap.]SCAA 2008 Conference

Arrive at hotel and am shuffled immediately into a lovely cocktail reception with many familiar faces — and some soon to become familiar — from Green Mountain Coffee, Transfair USA, Sustainable Harvest, Grounds for Health, and Root Capital, as well as friends from origin: Peru, Colombia, and Kenya. Have exceptionally productive conversations about content sharing, and the like. Eventually I have to make my apologies, take a muscle relaxer, order coffee from room service and fall asleep before I can drink it.

Day 2. Do the registration shuffle. Am impressed that SCAA is *really* taking the “green conference” thing to heart… it’s the first time in a long time I’m not saddled with a worthless bag of swag and paper I don’t need.

Begin the day with a press conference featuring Green Mountain’s Lindsey Bolger and Dr. Jane Goodall. Save the day (or at least make the presser go more smoothly) by solving a potentially devastating A/V issue. Why yes, that is a spiffy way for a geek to start his day… I nearly forget that my back is out. By the way, Dr. Jane is just about the sweetest, most present person that I think I’ve ever met. [I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan.]

Briefly visit the ongoing competition at the U.S. Barista Chamionship. Wow… the USBC has become quite the hot number: stadium seating, cheering crowds and a video crew catching every moment, and webcasting it live. Chat with Doug Zell who is hyper excited about the chances of Intelligentia’s barista team. [As well he should be… eventually Intelly’s Kyle Glanville will take home the top spot in the USBC.]

I ponder Kenneth Davids‘ questioning the practice of using a coffee’s origin as a primary key in the tangled taxonomy that is coffee’s sensory vocabulary. Determine that I disagree with him on many points. [There’s a blog entry in my future, here.]  Fail to see Don Holly‘s well-reviewed A Brief History of Coffee because I’m stretched out on my bed in my hotel room with an aching back, shaking my fist at vindictive airline gods.

Dinner with Lindsey Bolger, Don Holly and Carl Staub got cancelled. Bummer. Briefly do the evening cocktail reception, sans cocktail… I’ve taken another little pill for my back. Sample a little Ethiopian food and a lot of Ethiopian coffee, while visiting with fellow [former] altie Marshall Fuss. Spend some time with Bill Fishbein, congratulate him on his “retirement.” I pass on Intelly’s shindig at the Mill City Museum to make an early night of it. Brew a cup of hotel coffee in my room. By the smell — somewhere between wet cardboard and wet dog — the hotel coffee is crap; fortunately I fall asleep before I have to actually drink any of it.

To be continued…

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