Albert Scala, financial guru of the coffee-trading world, spends time in the mountains of Brazil, the government offices of Colombia, and coöperative farms in Peru. Mostly, though, he’s hunkered over phones in his office at IFC Stone in Miami, Florida, watching the coffee futures markets and advising his clients on trades, puts, and calls.
This past September of 2014, however, found Albert with the spray and roar of the Deschutes River nigh on his right hip, shoulders bent over the handlebars of a rented mountain bike, exhilarating down the ruts and jumps of an 18% grade riverside trail. Right behind him, grinning ear to ear, was Daniel Robles Muguira, a coffee farmer from a family steeped in Mexico’s rich coffee culture. Daniel’s family runs coffee farms, a decaffeination facility, as well as a soluble coffee production plant in Veracruz. At this moment these two respected members of our coffee tribe were not thinking of Roya, the New York C market, or drought in Brazil; they were instead cutting tracks on a dirt bike trail, focused on hanging on ‘till they could skid their steel stallions to a halt at the base of a waterfall marked on their route map, and take a refreshing plunge in the still pool at its base.
Just downriver from Albert and Daniel’s journey, Leanne and Murray (The Silver Fox) Ross, of Dreyfus in New Orleans, and Arianna Hartstrom of Costa Oro Green Coffee Warehousing & Distribution in Portland, Oregon were riding horseback through the high desert splendor of central Oregon.
23 miles to the west, Johnny Hornung and Robin Gittins of Incasa Coffee in Berkeley, California, the longest running importer of wholesale soluble coffee in the US, were riding a chairlift up the north slope of the majestic volcano, Mt. Bachelor – one in a series of towering volcanic peaks that form the Cascade Range extending northward for more than 700 miles (1,100 km) from northeastern California, through Oregon and Washington, into southern British Columbia. Robin and Johnny’s summer chairlift ride was taking them above tree-line to a wonder of majestic views and a beautiful downhill, scent-filled, vista-rich hike back to their rental car.
Other coffee professionals were rafting the Deschutes, playing golf, or sharing a beer or cup of coffee over lunch with newfound friends.
And so it went that Saturday at the Pacific Coast Coffee Association’s 83rd annual convention in SunRiver, Oregon. Greg Thayer of Cascade Coffee in Seattle, Washington, had this to say about his time that afternoon:
“I had lunch scheduled with one of our film suppliers and a joint customer to discuss business opportunities. It was a beautiful day at the hotel restaurant overlooking the golf course and Mt. Bachelor. Another film supplier was about to be seated near us so we invited him to join us at our table. He brought with him an equipment manufacturer and a competitor to our customer. We sat around the table and made introductions, and got to know one another. We had a terrific lunch together! We were able to lay aside our sense of business competition and corporate ‘boundaries’ to just be human, laugh, and make new friends. We met people in the industry that we never would have known if it weren’t for the PCCA gathering us together. To this day, I stay in touch with all the parties I met at our ‘spur of the moment lunch.’”
And so it goes at many of the PCCA’s events, where coffee professionals who belong to this West Coast based trade association realize that good business means making good friends; where sharing memorable experiences together creates bonds of friendship that form the basis of solid and trusting working relationships; where, “Work Hard, Play Hard” is a motto to be lived, and to be shared. And hey, even if you don’t end up making the sale to your newfound friend, you’ve rafted the Deschutes!
To find out how much being a part of the PCCA can benefit you, your company, and your good times, join us at this year’s convention, Sept. 17–19, 2015, during the wine grape harvest season in California’s incomparable Napa Valley. www.paccoffee.com/
John “johnny” Hornung is Vice President of Incasa Instant Soluble Coffee, the country’s longest running wholesale soluble coffee importer and distributor. He lives in Berkeley, California, and is happy to be a part of the coffee world after years as a musical event producer, professional sailor, and home builder. He is nominated to become the next President of the PCCA at the September, 2015 convention, joining his father Jack Hornung, uncle Ernie Kahl, and cousin Steve Kahl in that role.