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COFFEE FEST SEATTLE POURS BIG NUMBERS
The specialty coffee industry is thriving, if attendance at Coffee Fest Seattle is any indication. Held this last weekend (October 27-29, 2006) at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, over 7600 coffee shop retailers, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs and other specialty coffee professionals sampled the latest in specialty coffee, tea and related products.
Attendance was up 31 percent and exhibitor participation was up 23 percent over the Seattle’s 2005 show figures.
“In light of everything that has been happening in our country including fuel prices which can affect travel planning, we’re elated that we not only matched but soundly beat last year’s numbers,” David Heilbrunn, Coffee Fest Show Manager, said. “This is a clear indication that the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries continue to grow.”
Awards were given to the top three new products at Coffee Fest Seattle.
Torani/R. Torre & Company took first place honors for their Torani Pure Flavor.
Torani Pure Flavor is a ground-breaking product line of concentrated fresh herb and spice flavors in a non-sweet liquid form. Torani Pure Flavor gives chefs, mixologists, and barista the freedom to experiment with abandon and create signature dishes and drinks to set their menus apart from competition. Ideal for an enormous variety of applications, from savory to sweet, from starters to desserts, from cocktails to alcohol-free drinks, Torani Pure Flavor's applications are only bound by the imagination. Created for culinary and beverage professionals, its initial six flavor varieties include: Ancho Chile, Basil, Cilantro, Garden Mint, Lemon Verbena, and Thai Ginger.
Second place went to Phoenicia Patisserie’s Bakla Bites. The Baklava Snack is an individually wrapped assortments of Mediterranean pastries, baked with all-natural ingredients using the finest pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts lightly sweetened to perfection. Boasting more than a century of quality baking tradition – since 1881.
Third place was StixToGo’s StirStix. StirStix are a standard 5 ½” stir stick that snaps/converts into a regular StixToGo when you snap off the stick. It breaks at a perforation allowing the user to seal their hot beverage with the patented coffee plug.
More than 60 new products were judged by industry professionals who evaluated the appeal of the new product to retailers as well as innovation or technological advancement.
The Stirling Signature Beverage Open competition provided a platform for baristi to create for the judging panel their favorite signature beverage. Each beverage was evaluated for taste and innovation. First place in the innovation/creativity category was Lino Mastrangelo from Brazza Gelato and Coffee, Vancouver B.C., with his Espresso Infused Tiramisu. First place Best Tasting Signature Beverage was awarded to Anna Gutierrez from Dillanos Coffee Roasters Sumner Washington, with her Tomaselli’s Tiramisu Tini.
The sixth annual Seattle Millrock Free Pour Latte Art Competition featured the most talented talent pool to date and the competition was extremely tight between all 20 baristi as they vied for the championship and the $1,000 first prize.
Taking home top honors were:
1st place Colter Jones – Caffe Artigiano, Vancouver BC
2nd place Justin Teisl - Alterra Coffee Roasters, Milwaukee WI
3rd place Chris Baca – Wanderlust Coffee Co, Modesto CA
Competitors came from all over the country and as far away as Tokyo to compete for the highly coveted Coffee Fest Seattle Latte Art Championship.
Coffee Fest is a trade show catering to the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries. Coffee Fest’s next shows are slated for the Chicago’s Navy Pier February 23-25, 2007, Atlanta June 1-3, 2007 and Seattle November 9-11, 2007.