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Interview Series: Pacific Coast Coffee Association (PCCA)

Celebrating Nearly 100 Years of Coffee Camaraderie: A Glimpse into the PCCA

In the bustling coffee industry, where trends and new products dominate headlines, there exists a quieter, steadfast institution that has weathered the changing tides for almost a century: the Pacific Coast Coffee Association (PCCA). Founded in 1932, PCCA stands as a testament to the power of fostering connections and relationships within the coffee community. To unpack the secrets of its longevity and explore its evolution, we sat down with Andrew Vournas, the President of PCCA, and with Sharon Wood, Executive Vice President, who will be stepping into the role of President in September 2024, and will herald a new chapter for the association.

Grounded in Tradition, Focused on Relationships

Reflecting on PCCA's nearly 100 years of existence, Andrew Vournas believes that its enduring appeal lies in its commitment to its core mission—fostering coffee and the relationships within the industry. Vournas highlights how PCCA provides a unique atmosphere and a tight-knit family. It offers a platform to nurture connections over the long term, a trait that sets it apart from larger associations. Flavor Waves owner, Mike Abrams, who attended his first PCCA meeting in 1988 and later became its President in 2004, captures this sentiment perfectly, saying, “When attending a PCCA event no one ever wants to leave the room, they just want to keep the conversation going forever.”

An Unchanging Core Mission Amidst Evolving Processes

While PCCA's core mission, promoting prosperity in the coffee business, remains unwavering, its processes have evolved with the times. The organization expanded by incorporating more committees. These committees focus on these vital aspects: Building friendships and connections among members, facilitating relationships with newcomers, fostering mentorship to bridge generational gaps, and preserving the heritage of the past, present, and future.

The Backbone of PCCA: Bylaws and Benefits

The bylaws, being the organizational backbone, have undergone minor changes over the years to adapt to the evolving landscape. To ensure the bylaws stay current, a two-year presidential term has been recently added rather than a 1 year term. However, major changes require association-wide votes to maintain a democratic approach.

The benefits of being a part of PCCA are multifaceted. The organization's unique mix of coffee industry sectors, including roasters, green importers, coffee farmers, and allied products, offers a rich networking opportunity. The camaraderie within PCCA has been particularly valuable, acting as a support network for businesses, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connecting Through Events and Evolution

The social aspect is the heart of PCCA, which extends beyond business discussions. The organization's events provide opportunities for both professional and personal connections. Virtual platforms have broadened that reach, connecting industry leaders across geographical boundaries.

PCCA has not only stood the test of time but also extended its reach globally. Initially starting on the west coast of the United States, the organization now boasts members from across the nation and around the world.

Looking Ahead: Embracing the Future Generation

PCCA's focus extends to the future as well. With 3-5 events annually the organization keeps its members engaged and connected. Origin trips have been a hallmark, and PCCA plans to explore more in the coming years. Their dedication to embracing new members while maintaining the warmth of the existing community continues to shape their journey. When new members join PCCA, they are not just joining an organization, they are becoming part of the PCCA family.

Paving the Way for a Century of Success

As the 100-year mark approaches, PCCA's heritage committee is hard at work, ensuring the celebrations honor the rich history and lasting impact of the organization. The upcoming transition in leadership, with Sharon Wood stepping into the role of President in September 2024, will herald a new chapter for the association. PCCA's commitment to fostering connections, embracing change, and uniting the diverse coffee industry sectors cements its position as the pinnacle of B2B camaraderie.

As the coffee industry continues to grow and evolve, the Pacific Coast Coffee Association stands tall—a testament to the enduring power of relationships in an ever-changing world.

This blog post is dedicated to the legacy of the Pacific Coast Coffee Association and its members who have shaped the coffee industry through their enduring relationships.`

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