Mercanta has been an exhibitor at the regional Coffee Fest Show in Seattle for the past 3 years. This is a good ‘manageable’ event – about 300 exhibitors and 6000-7000 visitors. For our new North America business it is the ideal opportunity to meet new customers and to keep in contact with existing customers.
We were pleasantly surprised at Coffee Fest to apparently be the only importer carrying out any coffee cupping at our stand. It is problematic and awkward to try to create lab conditions in a public space, but by and large the cuppings were a great success. Many visitors were simply curious about what was going on at the booth, having no idea that specialty coffee is analysed and assessed in this way. And that is exactly the point. If the public are not aware that any professional actually carry out a peer group assessment, then how can anyone understand the concept that each coffee is different – that coffee itself (not flavouring or method of delivery) is the Third Wave yet to happen to coffee. What a novel idea – quality coffee, the Product Itself!
We have crafted a mini version of the iconic Mercanta Cupping Table in Guatemala and we used this successfully at the show. Congratulations to Christian at Mercanta Central America for arranging the table. Unfortunately Christian could not make it in person to Seattle but I am sure we will see him there in future.
Jon from Cup of Excellence visited the booth each day to promote that innovative programme – we are carrying some small inventories of Cup of Excellence in the Pacific Northwest and it is the ideal opportunity for specialty roasters to try out these best of crop coffees
Starbucks 15th Avenue was an interesting side visit – this new ‘concept store’ was a departure from the usual corporate theme and a novel attempt to regnerate and re-invent themselves.
Fonte Coffee has been operating an excellent new hybrid coffee bar / wine bar at The Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle. Their Grand Opening cocktail and coffee event was quite superb and congratulations to their team for a great new idea; an example for any 5 star hotel. Great to see Dismas Smith (ex US Barista Champion) working at such a prestige location.
Overall, Coffee Fest is a good regional show. Accessible, affordable, a good chance to actually sit down and meet with new and existing customers.
Thanks to all those who came to the booth – it was great to see you and we look forward to working with you.