Coffee Fest Chicago 2013 shows tremendous strength for Central US Specialty Coffee Industry

Coffee Fest has now completed production of the 68th Coffee Fest trade show, the annual summer return to Chicago. Although Coffee Fest is well established with more than 21 years under its belt, it remains a top priority and primary objective to keep the programming extremely fresh and innovative. Coffee Fest Chicago 2013 debuted two professional competitions to the Central US; America’s Best Espresso Competition and the DaVinci Gourmet America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition. Additionally, Coffee Fest Chicago featured the Central debut of Coffee Fest’s new Freshman Class; First Time Attendee Orientation Program which had more than 100 preregistered. The New Product Showcase received a face-lift and the educational program included 19 brand new classes.
Attendees from all over the U.S. and the world came to the Chicago Navy Pier Center to partake in the educational offerings, the networking events, the Latte Art World Championship Open competition and sampled from over 150 exhibition booths. Once totaled, actual attendance was just over 2,700.
Latte Art World Championship Open
Coffee Fest’s Latte Art World Championship Open featured 64 baristas in a head-to-head, bracket style, free pour latte art showdown. The 2013 Chicago World Championship Open had an Olympic feel with an astounding 22 international competitors who traveled from Japan, China, Australia, and Canada to compete in Chicago. After three days of intense competition, the champions were named:
* 1st place – Winning $2,000 and a 1st place trophy: Jennifer Chun (Hye Sung Chun) – Coffee Code, Buena Park, CA
This was just Jennifer’s second attempt to compete in Coffee Fest’s Latte Art World Championship Open. In her first competition she was eliminated in the opening round. “To rebound from that experience and go all the way through to the Championship is truly a remarkable accomplishment” said David Heilbrunn, show manager for Coffee Fest. Additionally he said, “Jennifer is just the second female barista to win this competition and the first since 2007. To win this competition is truly like scaling the mountain, it is difficult, and the level of expertise of all 64 of the competitors is off the charts. To come from out of nowhere and win this competition on your second attempt is unheard of. The odds had to have been astronomical.”
* 2nd place – Winning $1,000 and a 2nd place trophy Junichi Yamaguchi – FORC Yokohama Japan
* 3rd place – Winning $500 and a 3rd place trophy Kenny Smith – Sunergos Coffee – Louisville, KY
America’s Best Espresso Competition
The NEWAmerica’s Best Espresso Competition presented for coffee roasters is also a head-to-head, bracket style competition in which coffee roasters from the Central region of the U.S. and Canada showcased their espresso. During each round, a panel of Latte Art competitors judged and evaluated one shot from each competitor based on the virtues of 1) Flavor Complexity, 2) Mouth feel & Appeal, and 3) Aftertaste. Once the 124 shots were extracted, consumed, and evaluated, the winners were:
* 1st place – Winning Championship first place trophy: Sunergos Coffee, Louisville, KY
* 2nd place – Winning second place trophy: Goshen Coffee – Edwardsville, IL
* 3rd place – Winning third place trophy: Bowtruss – Chicago IL
DaVinci Gourmet, America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition
The NEW DaVinci Gourmet, America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition culminated at Coffee Fest Chicago. After undergoing a 30 day process of elimination by secret shopper evaluation and public vote, seven semifinalist coffeehouses from the western U.S. were chosen to compete in an on-site, pop-up coffeehouse. Each coffeehouse brought a team of three to perform for thirty carefully selected and prepared judges. The emerging victors were:
* 1st place – Winning $2,500 and a first place Trophy: Ipsento, – Chicago Illinois
* 2nd place – Winning $1,000 and a second place Trophy: Palace Coffee Company – Canyon Texas
* 3rd place – Winning $500 and a third place Trophy: JP’s Coffee – Holland Michigan
New Product Showcase Winners
Getting to see the industry’s newest products is one of the reasons why retailers come to Coffee Fest show after show. The Coffee Fest Product Showcase sits proudly on display, next to the exhibition show floor entrance throughout each show. Exhibitors place their newest products in the showcase for attendees to view all at once before setting foot on the exhibition show floor. Coffee Fest awards the best of the new products in two categories. Consumable and Non-Consumables are judged and determined by attendees and industry leaders for their innovation and retailer appeal. The results were announced on Saturday afternoon with awards presented as follows:
1st place -Consumable – Dr. Smoothie – 100% Crushed Veggie Smoothie
2nd place Consumable – Island Rose – Classic Black Tea Concentrate.
3rd place Consumable –Big Train – Fit Frappe Spiced Chai Latte
1st place Non-Consumable – North Atlantic Specialty Bag – Pink Ribbon Flexible Packaging for Breast Cancer Awareness
2nd place Non-Consumable – Kefette – Turkish Coffee Maker 
About Coffee Fest
Coffee Fest has been bringing specialty coffee, gourmet tea and alternative beverage industry professionals together since 1992 when the show first got its start as a consumer coffee festival in Seattle. Since 1998, “the little coffee show that could,” Coffee Fest has gathered coffee retailers, roasters, distributors and manufacturers together for thrice annual trade shows to help attendees build and refine their businesses, get the first peek at new products and remain current with coffee and tea industry trends. The three-day show opens Friday, June 7th and runs through Sunday, June 9th 2013. Educational sessions are held from 8am-noon daily. The show floor is open for business from noon-5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and will close at 4pm on Sunday. To register for the show or learn more, please go to

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