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The Wonders of Coffeefest

Three people taste testing coffee

If you’re a resident of the Los Angeles apartments and you love coffee, drink tea, or work in the tea/coffee trade, you should be front and center at this year’s Coffee Fest, the upcoming extravaganza where “passionate coffee and tea professionals will learn skills, receive education and experience new products, alongside great networking.” It’s coming up from August 25th through the 27th, and it’ll be a great chance to learn about coffee and tea from a professional, industry perspective, but that’s not all (if you can believe it).

If you get yourself a badge for Coffee Fest this year, you’ll also be able to access the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, along with the Healthy Food Expo West. All three events are going to be hosted side by side at the Los Angeles Convention Center, meaning there will be three times the exhibition tables and training opportunities for you to enjoy. Back to the matter at hand, though, let’s first delve into the details behind Coffee Fest, and give you all the info you’ll need about the who, what, where, and when before attending.

Is Coffee Fest for You?

If you’re wondering whether or not Coffee Fest is something you should attend, know that the organizers have already made it clear who the content at this trade show is aimed at. Specifically, they’re targeting individuals from all levels of the tea/coffee industry, including:

  • Coffee Company Owners & Founders
  • Managers
  • Baristas
  • Coffee Roasters
  • Drive-thrus & kiosks
  • Restaurateurs
  • Hospitality
  • Entrepreneurs opening new cafes
  • Foodservice institutions & organizations
  • Retail Bakeries
  • Distributors
  • Coffee chains & independent cafes

The goal is to help everyone involved with creating, distributing, selling, and serving coffee a leg up in their business with the most pertinent industry information and training. And if you aren’t quite in business yet (but very interested in how the coffee business works), you’re still welcome to attend and start learning the ropes. As they say themselves, “Coffee Fest has the start-up education, resources and companies to help planning your cafe or restaurant opening go smoothly.”

What’s Going Down at Coffee Fest?

Being a trade show, Coffee Fest will be packed full with interesting seminars, workshops, competitions, showcases, and exhibitors. If cruising from booth to boot his going to be the main draw for you, you’ll want to scope out the event map, which will give you the lay of the land for not just Coffee Fest, but the Healthy Food Expo West and Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo. This way you can see who’s presenting what, and make a bee-line for their booth if you want that portion of the fest out of the way early and efficiently.

Booth cruising won’t be the only thing to do at Coffee Fest, however. You’ll also be able to attend one of the highly-informative seminars or workshops that will be taking place over the course of the event. There are more than “50 seminars included in your general admission and multiple skill-building workshops covering today's important topics such as barista training, cold brew, roasting, management, entrepreneurship and more there is surely something for everyone,” according to the Coffee Fest Organizers, so there’s plenty for you to learn while you’re there. Some (but not all) of the topics discussed will include:

  • How to Create a Zero Waste Cafe
  • The Financial Side of Running a Successful Business
  • Hands-On Barista Training
  • Coffee Business Start-Up Seminar
  • How to Lose Employees (and by extension, how to keep them)
  • Improving Your Leadership
  • The Roadmap to Success
  • Business Owner Bootcamp

The list goes on, and you can get a glimpse of what’s in store by checking out the 2019 Conference Schedule. You’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled for the Product Showcase, where you’ll have the opportunity to see “some of the most exciting coffee products at Coffee Fest Los Angeles.” In addition to looking at these new and notable products, you’ll have a chance to vote on them as well, as “Exhibitors have the opportunity to enter their product for a chance to win ‘Best Consumable’ and ‘Best Non-Consumable’ prizes,” and your votes will count toward a People’s Choice Award that’s separate from those two categories. The Product Showcase won’t be the only place where you’ll see competition, mind you. There’s also the Latte Art World Championship Open and America’s Best Cold Brew Competition on the calendar.

The former, the Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship Open, will be set up like an honest-to-goodness tournament. Elimination rules apply, and the entrants have to use their skills to create the best free-pour coffee drinks they can devise within 3 minutes, to be judged by the experts and against their worthy foes:

“This exciting 64 competitor, bracket style, sudden death format features head-to-head competition as "a match" between the competitors. The competitor receiving the highest score from the three judges advances to the next round and the loser is eliminated.”

This competition isn’t small potatoes either. The first place winner will take home $2,500, while second place will net $1,500 and third place will receive $1,000 for their triumph. The Best Cold Brew Competition will be a bit more laid-back, in the sense that it’s not an elimination tournament. It will be pitting the best cold brew roasters in the United States and Canada against one another, however, and a voting system will be used to determine who ranks highest out of the bunch. Make sure you attend so you can sample the flavors and cast your vote.

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