What an eventful weekend! With Coffee Fest here in town, there were several coffee-related events going on in the city. I’ll quickly recap the fundraiser we did, the trade show, and sprinkle some pictures in between.
First, let’s talk about what Coffee Fest is. Coffee Fest has been around since 1992. They do trade shows, educational classes, and competitions within the coffee, tea and specialty beverage industry. Coffee Fest rotates cities a few times a year, which allows coffee professionals from all over the world to get a chance to experience the fun! In 2018, they are scheduled to host events in Baltimore, Denver and Los Angeles.
On Friday, we hosted a Karaoke Night at The Arrow Coffeehouse in NE Portland. Due to the recent natural disasters, we wanted to raise money for relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Many voices became raspy throughout the evening, but it was worth it; tons of great people came out to support (and sing), and we raised over $500 in the process!. I want to thank Brian and Zane of Tailored Coffee, Brett of Barista, and Ian of Deadstock Coffee, for allowing the CoffeeFeed to join in on the fun. Also, shout out to Erica of Arrow for hosting and cooking so much food for the event!
The trade show itself took place from Friday – Sunday. These kinds of events are generally geared towards those within the coffee industry, so it was interesting to see the diversity among the companies that were represented. There were a number of booths selling equipment, personalized coffee bags, and interior decorating pieces. Naturally, I gravitated towards the booths serving up beverages and food. It’s not every day that you can get a taste of Haitian coffee from Café Kreyol, a shot of energy from Vive Organic, or a bag of Columbian coffee (Super Platinum Edition) from Superbia Coffee all within steps of each other. All of those drinks were excellent, by the way. At the end of the show, everyone seemed to be pretty tapped out. This was a fantastic experience, as well as an exhausting one! There were a lot of booths, and plenty of coffee to try.
One of the main events at Coffee Fest was “America’s Best Cold Brew Competition”. Coffee roasters from around the country were selected and divided into two categories: Nitro and Still. There were 15-16 different companies in each category, and it was conducted as a “bracket-style” tournament. Coffee Fest attendees had the opportunity to taste each one and vote for their favorite. The most impressive piece about this competition was the clarity of the taste. Palate Fatigue is common in tasting competitions, so it’s vital to be able to detect distinctive notes within a brew. The brews that separated themselves were those that had clear-cut flavors. In the Still bracket, Reborn Global Holdings pulled out the victory. Their cold brew was unique because it legitimately tasted like a blueberry; it was easy to pick out. Augie’s Coffee took 2nd place, and Algorithm Coffee Co. notched a 3rd place finish.
In the Nitro bracket, Wired Coffee Roasters took the crown. Not only did they travel across the country (Malta, NY) to compete, but their attention to detail resulted some of the cleanest tasting cold brew in the competition. They spoke highly about the ingredients used in their cold brew, specifically the water. Their award was well-deserved. Dillanos Coffee Roasters earned 2nd place, and The Steeping Giant was named 3rd. One thing to note about The Steeping Giant: they had the BEST energy of any of groups that participated. To reiterate a point that has been made in past posts, the experience a coffee shop/company provides makes a huge difference. They were excited to be there and they showed it.