Some 1,600 businesspersons from Africa, Europe and Latin America involved in the global coffee trade are to converge on Atlanta, April 23-26, for the 16th Annual Specialty Coffee Association of America Conference, to be held at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC.)

They will be joined by some 6,400 of their American counterparts from across the United States, including retailers, roasters, farmers, importers, exporters, machine manufacturers and a small contingent of coffee consumers, reported Mike Ferguson, the association’s head of marketing.

He told GlobalFax that conference organizers chose Atlanta for its location in the Southeast, which has seen spikes in recent years both in specialty coffee consumption and in the number of coffee roasting companies choosing to locate in Georgia and North Carolina.

The GWCC provides both exhibition space and space for educational sessions about industry trends and brewing techniques, among other topics, he said. Some educational sessions are to be held in Spanish to accommodate Latin American coffee growers and exporters, he added.

Mr. Ferguson explained that convention attendance is generally split evenly between visitors from coffee growing and exporting countries – mostly delegates from Africa and Latin America – and coffee consuming countries, including European and U.S. delegates.

The association expects the largest number of European attendees to travel from Scandinavia, a region that has some of the highest levels of per capita coffee consumption in the world.

In Norway, for example, people drink an average of 10-11 cups of coffee a day, topping the global list for per capita coffee consumption, Mr. Ferguson noted. The U.S. is the largest coffee consuming nation by volume, averaging two to three cups of coffee per person each day.

He added that specialty coffee is defined by the association as being made from coffee beans that have zero defects – insect damage or unripe beans, for example – per 350 grams (approximately one handful.)

Cost for association members to attend the convention is $285 before March 15 and $365 thereafter. Cost for non-members to attend is $385 before March 15 and $465 thereafter. Costs to attend individual workshops or educational sessions run from $25-$100. For more information, visit