Coffee Fest...ever been? anyone going?


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May 25, 2009
Birmingham, AL
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Coffee Fest...looks like it's being billed toward retailers? I was wondering if any roasters have been.
What'd you think?
Was it worth it?
Would you go back? Are you going back?
How does it compare to SCAA?

Would appreciate any insight.
I went to one in Chicago a few years back and to the Coffee and Tea show this year in Toronto.

I went because I was just opening my company, and needed any information I could get my hands on. And I learned quite a bit. However, many of the booths had to do with

- coffee flavorings
- cups and store supplies
- insurance and organizations like that
- barista championships
- crap I don't even know what

About 20% had to actually do with coffee, espresso, roasters and useful information. Only because I am a networking. socializing busybody and I invited myself to dinner with a group of coffee company owners did I actually learn anything at all.

The workshops etc are infomercials for the guys who sponsor them.

So have a plan to make it worth your while because most coffee company owners I know who take this business seriously go once and never again.

By all means if anyone who knows different, please chime in.

I went to CoffeeFest in Seattle in October 2010. Took a few classes, the hands on barista class, nothing new to me. I also took the SCAA Barista certification, passed the hands on part perfectly and failed the written part. I have owned my coffee shop for 5 years but they have their own way of describing things. Nice waste of money for that. Overall though it was good for a one time visit, I wouldnt go every year, maybe to some other events. A few roaster manufacturers were there, had everything out, small to large roasters. Lots of info and products. I traveled from Florida so the trip wasn't cheap.
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I appreciate the responses. That's kind of what I was thinking...I've been to SCAA and really enjoyed it. Spent a whole day on the show floor and the rest of the time in classes. Didn't see many classes that I found interesting at Coffee Fest so think i'll bypass it even though i have family in chicago i could stay with, i still don't think it'd be worth the flight and other expenses involved.

thanks again.