Over 8,500 specialty coffee & restaurant professionals gathered for Coffee Fest Los Angeles August 19-21, 2018 discovering innovative products, equipment, business services, resell merchandise, coffee, tea, food and much more.
For the first time ever Coffee Fest, the Western Hospitality & Foodservice Expo and the Healthy Food Expo West were side-by-side, giving attendees more access to valuable profit-boosting resources.
“Food prep and menu development is a scary thing for café owners and something they did not even consider just a few years ago,” commented Coffee Fest Show Director, Erika Lowery. “Cafes have now embraced the model seen all over the world and are adding food options to their menu because it compliments coffee and offers a new revenue stream.”
Along with the education & exhibits, Coffee Fest hosted several coffee competitions with over 50 companies and more than 60 individuals contending for top spots.
Ujae Lee of New York, NY took first place in the Latte Art World Championship Open. Second place went to Daisuke Tanaka of Osaka, Japan. Mason Marth of Kissimmee, FL placed third. Winners were each awarded with a cash prize, a glass trophy and a milk pitcher with a custom imprint designed by Eight Ounce Coffee Supply.
“Like many other baristas who compete, I was hoping to achieve the champion title,” commented Lee. “It has been one of my main goals for the past two years. I had always dreamed about standing alongside the previous champions and having my name written into Coffee Fest history.”
America’s Best Espresso Competition brought 24 roasters from the Western states. Participants had 10 minutes to pull their best espresso shots and present them to a panel of three judges for evaluation. Augie’s Coffee of Redlands, CA took first place. Second place was awarded to Vashon Coffee of Vashon, WA and third place went to Bangarang Coffee Roasters of Fullerton, CA. Fourth place was awarded to Black Oak Coffee Roasters of Ukiah, CA. First, second and third place finishers were awarded with a cash prize, a glass trophy. The top four finishers qualified to participate in the America’s Best Espresso National Championships to be held in Indianapolis next spring.
America’s Best Cold Brew Competition acknowledges the best tasting cold brew and nitro cold brew and drew 32 competitors. Attendees were invited to taste and vote on the cold brew and nitro they liked best and blind judge scores were combined with attendee voting results to determine the winners. Cold Brew Still winners were: First place – Reborn Coffee of Irvine, CA; second place – Bangarang Coffee Roasters of Fullerton, CA; third place – Bird Rock Coffee Roasters of San Diego, CA. Cold Brew Nitro winners were: First Place – Gen Brewing of Upland, CA; Second Place – Coffeelove of Camarillo, CA; and Third Place – Espresso Republic or Chino, CA. Winners received a cash prize and a trophy.
Exhibitors were invited to enter their products in the Product Showcase. Each entry was judged based on innovation and retailer appeal by three specialty coffee industry professionals. Coffee Fest Los Angeles Product Showcase winners were: Best New Product, Consumable: First – Just the Cheese, Aged Cheddar; Second place – David Rio San Francisco, Tumeric Latte; Third place – Monin Gourmet Flavorings, Zero Calorie Natural Peach Syrup. Best New Product, Non-Consumable: First place – Bellissimo Coffee Advisors, Bellissimo Digital Downloads; Second place – Enhanced Beverage Solutions, Nitro Infuser; Third place – Brewista®, Cupping Bowls.
Attendees were invited to vote for their favorite new & featured product in the People’s Choice “Best of Fest” New Product Competition and one winner was awarded – Tsunami Beverage won with their Tsunami Energy Concentrates.