Coffee Fest Seattle 2013 Shows Tremendous Strength for U.S. Specialty Coffee Industry

Coffee Fest has now completed production of the 69th Coffee Fest trade show, the 21st annual fall return to Seattle. 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 Seattle marked the return of two professional competitions that debuted a year ago at Coffee Fest Seattle; America’s Best Espresso Competition and the DaVinci Gourmet America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition. Additionally, Coffee Fest Seattle featured the Freshman Class: First Time Attendee Orientation Program which had more than 150 preregistered. The New Product Showcase received a face-lift and the educational program included 11 brand new classes.
Attendees from all over the U.S. and the world came to the Washington State Convention Center to partake in the educational offerings, the networking events, and the Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship Open competition and sampled from over 150 exhibition booths. Once totaled, actual attendance was just over 2,700.
New Product Showcase Winners
Getting to see the industry’s newest products is one of the top 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 – Kind Bar – Nut & Spice line
2nd place Consumable – Canyon Oats – Ready to Eat Oatmeal Cups – Certified Gluten Free & Kosher.
3rd place Consumable – Frozen Bean – 50/50 Frappe Mixes
1st place Non-Consumable – Gosh That’s Good – Baristir
1st place Non-Consumable – PMI – Sustain Reusable Cups (1st place was a tie)
2nd place Non-Consumable – SCS Direct – Simple Cups
3rd place Non-Consumable – Hydro Flask – 32oz Wide Mouth Hydro Flask
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 Seattle World Championship Open had an Olympic feel with an astounding 30 international competitors who traveled from Japan, China, Australia, England, Korea, Singapore and Canada to compete in Seattle. After three days of intense competition, the champions were named:
* 1st place – Winning $2,000 and a 1st place trophy: Cabel Tice, Thinking Cup, Boston, Massachusetts. Cabel has had a great year having also won the championship at Coffee Fest New York.
* 2nd Place – Winning $1,000 and a 2nd place trophy – Nobu Shimoyama, Olie & Ari, Melbourne Australia. Nobu had finished third place at Coffee Fest NY this year and second place at Coffee Fest Seattle last year.
* 3rd place – Winning $500 and a 3rd place trophy Junichi Yamaguchi – FORC Yokohama Japan., Junichi is also a veteran Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship Open competitor and placed second at Coffee Fest Chicago this past June 2013.
America’s Best Espresso Competition The NEW America’s Best Espresso Competition presented for coffee roasters is also a head-to-head, bracket style competition in which 32 coffee roasters from the Western 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 162 espresso shots were extracted, consumed, and evaluated, the winners were:
* 1st place – Winning Championship first place trophy: Tony’s Coffee, Seattle, WA
* 2nd place – Winning second place trophy: Kuma Coffee, Seattle, WA
* 3rd place – Winning third place trophy: Olympia Coffee Roasters, Olympia, WA
Each of these winners receive an invitation having now qualified for a seed in the America’s Best Espresso 2013/2014 Championship to determine, crown and honor the Roaster deemed to have America’s Best Espresso. Eighteen finalists, made up of the top three Roasters at Coffee Fest Seattle 2012, & ‘13, New York ‘13 & ’14, Chicago ‘13 and St Louis ‘14. Twelve of the eighteen finals competitors have stamped their tickets with the final six seeds to be determined at Coffee Fest New York March 7-9 and Coffee Fest St Louis May 30 – June 1st. All 18 will be invited compete for the America’s Best Title at Coffee Fest Portland at the Oregon Convention Center October 17th-19th, 2014.
DaVinci Gourmet, America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition The DaVinci Gourmet, America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition culminated at Coffee Fest Seattle. After undergoing a 30 day process of elimination by secret shopper evaluation and public vote, six 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: Slate Coffee Roasters Seattle
* 2nd place – Winning $1,000 and a second place Trophy: Dog River Coffee, Hood River OR
* 3rd place – Winning $500 and a third place Trophy: Caffe Ladro Coffee & Bakery, Seattle WA
Slate Coffee joins previous regional champions, Klatch Coffee Roasters, San Dimas, CA, Ipsento, Chicago and Peregrine Espresso, Washington, DC. Each having snagged one of six invitations to the Da Vinci Gourmet America’s Best Coffeehouse Champions showdown slated for Coffee Fest Portland October 17th-19th 2014. Two seeds remain and will be handed out upon the culmination of Da Vinci Gourmet America’s Best Coffeehouse competitions at Coffee Fest New York in March and Coffee Fest St. Louis at the end of May.
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. To learn more, please go to

Suggested Reading