Our History

Our History - Coffee Fest Trade Shows

Since 1992, Coffee Fest participants have looked to Coffee Fest to bring them what is new and what is next for their specialty coffee business.

Coffee Fest is the specialty coffee B2B event that attracts owners, operators, and anyone interested in growing their specialty coffee & tea business career. Before the first shot is pulled or bean is roasted, many attend Coffee Fest to get the start-up education, resources and access to companies they need to make their cafe or restaurant opening go smoothly. For more seasoned coffee professionals, Coffee Fest is a source for networking, deepening existing supplier relations, finding new products & services & education to build on what they already know. Coffee Fest and its network of resources brings expert advice to help you evolve your business, discover what is trending and relevant, and help you with whatever you need in your business now.

Gain new insights on a wide variety of hot topics, get your hands working on some new skills, or witness history in the making with our live coffee competitions and discover new products. Experience the sights and sounds of a thriving specialty coffee city while also meeting with other great local & national industry professionals. And if you need it, re-energize your love for the business.

Viewed by most as one of the leading tradeshows for specialty coffee & tea, Coffee Fest continues to evolve and stay at the forefront of emerging trends. To date more than 350,000 people have found Coffee Fest, taking valuable information, products & business resources back to their business. If it looks like coffee, smells like coffee, goes well with coffee or is coffee, you will find it at Coffee Fest. 

Whatever your primary reason for attending, Coffee Fest will surely be an experience to grow your knowledge, your resources & inspire you to keep moving forward to do what you love. 

I most enjoyed getting hands-on experience and trying what we learned at the Drink Innovations Lab. I even enjoyed tips and tricks on things that I already knew about.

Terra - Coffee Fest Attendee

Gathering the nation’s top coffee & tea professionals since 1992.

Coffee Fest has been celebrating coffee long before coffee was “hot”. In 1992, they gathered together coffee professionals in Seattle for their first coffee festival. After several years of hosting thriving events, Coffee Fest turned its focus toward the specialty coffee, gourmet tea and alternative beverage industry and brought retailers, distributors and manufacturers together for its first retail "trade show" in 1998. With a mission to help attendees build and refine their specialty coffee businesses, they coupled a relevant educational program with a friendly, informative, and enjoyable trade show floor creating a successful show that serves as a touchstone for many in the specialty coffee industry.  Today Coffee Fest produces three trade shows annually, strategically positioned in the three U.S. regions (Eastern, Central & Western). Coffee Fest remains the industry’s top-performing show, consistently providing retailers with relevant information to hone their business skills and up their bottom line.   

Coffee & Tea tradeshows rooted in success from day one.

Coffee & Tea tradeshows rooted in success from day one.

What began with 65 exhibitors and more than 2,500 attendees sharing coffee with the general public, Coffee Fest has blossomed into a show that sports more than 300 booths with close to 10,000 attendees serving the coffee trades. The “little coffee show that could” boasts a track record of 16 years and more than 50 shows, while consistently and confidently pushing specialty coffee retailers to be the best.

Today Coffee Fest produces three trade shows annually, strategically positioned in the three U.S. regions (Eastern, Central & Western). Coffee Fest remains the industry’s top-performing show, consistently providing retailers with relevant information to hone their business skills and up their bottom line.   

Coffee Fest Show Highlights

Coffee Fest 2002
2002

As trade shows around the country saw reductions across the board (following 9/11), Coffee Fest, realizes a 30% increase in attendance and exhibitor space.

Coffee Fest 2012
2012

Coffee Fest adds Americas Best Coffeehouse and America’s Best Espresso Competitions. 

Coffee Fest 2015
2015

Coffee Fest announces Best New Product Showdown, Best of Fest People’s Choice award and Campfire Cafe’s, your go to spot for the Top 10 Burning Issues sessions, located on the show floor.

Coffee Fest 2014
2014

Coffee Fest announces VIP attendee program, Drink Innovations Lab and crowns 2013/2014 America’s Best Espresso and Coffeehouse Grand Champions.

Coffee Fest 2007
2007

Coffee Fest celebrates its 50th show in Washington, D.C., and hosts first show off the mainland near the coffee-growing region of Kona, Hawaii.

Coffee Fest 1997
1997

Coffee Fest decides to make their shows trade only starting with their Western US, Seattle show.

Coffee Fest 1999
1999

Coffee Fest expands education with the addition of multiple breakout rooms and special workshops moving away from “Coffee Fest Theater” on show floor.

Coffee Fest 2011
2011

Coffee Fest expands educational offerings with Espresso Parts Aroma Challenge and multiple Micro-lot workshops.

Coffee Fest 1993
1993

Coffee Fest fills its exhibition space within the Northwest rooms at the Seattle Center to capacity.

Coffee Fest 2013
2013

Coffee Fest forms Coffee Fest Exhibitor Council to help determine future content, locations and direction.

Coffee Fest 1992
1992

Coffee Fest hosts its first consumer coffee show and welcomes 2,500 people, in spite of a snowstorm that hampered transportation for the city and surrounding areas. People traveled from all over the country and from other countries to attend the inaugural event. This initial and immediate success helped Coffee Fest organizers understand that the coffee industry was being underserved and as show manager David Heilbrunn says, “We knew we had done something important and of value to thousands.”

Coffee Fest 2005
2005

Coffee Fest is named again one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in North America by Tradeshow Week Magazine.

Coffee Fest 2006
2006

Coffee Fest is named again one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in North America by Tradeshow Week Magazine.

Coffee Fest 2004
2004

Coffee Fest is named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in North America by Tradeshow Week Magazine.

Coffee Fest 2010
2010

Coffee Fest Latte Art Competitions become 64 competitor bracket competitions.

Coffee Fest 1995
1995

Coffee Fest launches the Specialty Coffee Business Seminar, a three–day soup to nuts course for entrepreneurs opening up coffee shops.

Coffee Fest 1996
1996

Coffee Fest morphs into a trade-consumer show with two days dedicated to trade and the final day open to the public.

Coffee Fest 1994
1994

Coffee Fest moves their Western US show to the Washington State Convention Center after outgrowing their Seattle Center venue.

Coffee Fest 2000
2000

Coffee Fest plants their show in three separate regions of the country -- Las Vegas, Seattle and Atlantic City, to better serve their national audience. 

Coffee Fest 2009
2009

Coffee Fest pledges its support to Café Femenino Foundation and partners up for the 2009 Café Femenino Foundation La Choclotada Silent Auction.

Coffee Fest 2008
2008

Coffee Fest produces their first full-on stand-alone international show in Hong Kong.

Coffee Fest 1998
1998

Coffee Fest visits New York City for the first time with Coffee Fest at Madison Square Garden.

Coffee Fest 2001
2001

Show Manager David Heilbrunn earns the Expo Group Show Manager of the Year award

Coffee Fest 2003
2003

The company creates the International Academy of Specialty Coffee to create world-class barista training and certification.

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