I work in coffee and I was born and raised in Seattle, WA, and yet it's been four years (!) since I participated in Coffee Fest Seattle. Well, this last weekend I got my fill of Coffee Fest-ivities at the Convention Center downtown, as well as at various spots around town. This is really more than one event...
One. The Actual Show. Lots of great coffee and interesting products on the show floor again this year. There was an understandable skewing toward Northwest companies, like Caffé Vita, Synesso, and the honorary Northwesterners, La Marzocco USA.
The best cup of brewed coffee I had all weekend (though not the Coffee of the Week... I'll get to that in another post), came from the Hario booth, where I got a perfect pour-over cup of Intelligentsia's fresh crop Kenya. Thanks to Bronwen for taking me by the hand and guiding me to the Hario booth when I was jonesing on Friday morning. (Hario also wins best business cards for their flaming hot pink numbers).
The funnest little activity at the show was the Aroma Challenge where you had to take a quiz on matching Le Nez du Café vials of essential aromas to a list of aromas. Very tough! I got 10 out of 16, though as soon as I turned in my sheet I realized I had misidentified the most obvious one (potato!) and should have got 11 right. Anyway, it was a fun challenge.
2. The Northwest Regional Barista Competition. I didn't actually see even 2 minutes of this thing, though I hear it was fantastic as always. Northwest barista legend Billy Wilson took the gold. You can read about it on coffeed.
3. Party Madness. Lots of fun at the party at Visions Espresso on Friday night, where baristas played with their array of different espresso machines while the wine and cheese flowed. Coffee people are the most fun people there are to have parties with, I've decided. They get really wired on coffee, then they start drinking. Sarah Allen also led an expeditionary party up the hill from downtown to Linda's, which is actually my old stomping grounds (those many years ago), where we took over an entire banquette outside and drank Tecate and argued about coffee.
On Saturday night it was thee Latte Art competition between Seattle and LA hosted by Victrola. Even more people at this one. Got to see lots of great friends. The LA folks took the competition pretty handily, to Seattle's undying shame. But a good time was had by all. Victrola really has the perfect location and space for parties of this kind (fire marshall regulations aside... it got a little too full at one point).
4. Cupping at Coffee Enhancement Lounge. Sunday it was back down to Visions for a wonderful, peaceful, clean cupping of those pacamara coffees I have been talking about lately. It was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend. The CEL has great natural lighting... the sun was shining in through the skylight. Sarah put on Elvis Presley, and we cupped 14 beautiful coffees in peace and calm.
I really hope to do more stuff at CEL soon. It's such a great location and the folks at Visions are the greatest.
At some point this weekend, I did have the Coffee of the Week. But this post is getting too long, and I have a coffee shop review I want to get to, too. So I'll post that a little later. The hint is the picture at the top of this page, if you know that man.