Hundreds of exhibitors promoted all aspects of the specialty coffee industry. Thousands of attendees traveled from over 75 countries. Once again, the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle provided an unparalleled opportunity to see what’s new, connect, and learn about Specialty Coffee.
This year, our Director of Coffee Brad Kirby and Lead Trainer Brady Butler flew to Seattle to attend Expo. Here are their top five things to know from Expo:
Brewing Specialty Coffee Better with Trusted Partners
Brewing coffee takes the right equipment. Exciting new models from Bunn-o-matic and Nuova Simonelli will make excellent additions to our equipment lineup later this year.
Bunn introduced a new flagship brewer line: The Infusion Series Platinum Edition. These brewers have a full-color touchscreen for easy operation and more intuitive programming. They also use redesigned spray head and SmartWAVE technology for more uniform extraction and great coffee flavor.
Bunn also introduced a redesign of our most popular shop grinder: The G Series. With a sleek new look and much quieter operation, the new G Series VH grinder will fit nicely in any café setting and budget.
Nuova Simonelli’s design department has also been hard at work, unveiling a beautifully-updated Aurelia Wave espresso machine. Improved ergonomics and energy efficiency, several unexpected new features, and a smooth, lower-profile design should keep this model at the top of café operators’ wish lists.
Cold is Hot
Cold Brew continues to be a perennial favorite for customers. It looks like many exhibitors agreed, and we saw and tasted many new ways to make and serve it.
Nitro Coffee’s popularity should continue to grow thanks to a few new options that make it easier to offer. Larger-capacity brewers help operators keep up with growing demand. Countertop dispensers of various sizes were also on display, with and without kegs. Some dispensers even drew their nitrogen from the atmosphere instead of a tank.
Already brewing and serving cold Brew? If so, you know how important it is to keep everything clean. The coffee cleaner specialists at Urnex were back to save the day with a 2-part cold Brew system cleaner and sanitizer designed to make cleaning easy.
Expo attendees can always count on finding plenty of new, different and surprising drink ideas on the show floor. We saw and tasted a couple of trends worth noting for your café menu.
Turmeric, that brilliantly-yellow superfood superstar in a spice jar, was the star of several booths. A turmeric concentrate even won a best new product award. From golden milk to lattes to teas, 2018 seems to be turmeric’s year.
Many found creative ways to shake up familiar flavors with a new twist. Did you know that steaming Oregon Chai with carrot juice could taste just like classic carrot cake? Or that adding a touch of balsamic vinegar to a Torani strawberry Italian soda could create a refreshingly-tangy summer “shrub”?
Flavoring specialists like Torani, DaVinci and Monin featured cold brew-based cocktails and mocktails meant to keep menus cool through the heat of summer. Highlights included cold brew with horchata, white chocolate and lavender, even bourbon.
And when it comes to flavor, car maker Volvo stole the show with their stunning mobile espresso vehicle. It doesn’t take a custom coffee mobile to make your specialty drinks stand out. Customers love sharing their experiences with friends, so try building buzz with beautiful, unusual, highly-Instagrammable beverages.
Doing Good, Specialty Coffee
From growing coffee to making lattes, the coffee industry is very dependent on natural resources. So the health of the coffee industry depends on everyone using these resources wisely. The Specialty Coffee Association recognized The Manos al Agua Project, implemented by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) as part of a public-private partnership, with its Sustainability Award 2018.
Founded in 2013, Manos al Agua focuses on water resources management in coffee regions. The organization has achieved important sustainability results, including installation of ecological post-harvesting and wastewater treatment systems, among other actions.
One of the benefits of attending the Specialty Coffee Association Expo is our ability to make direct connections with the farmers and mills. The cuppings, origin-country booths and informal after-hours mixers helps coffee roasters and growers get to know each other before booking a buying trip to origin. This more casual introduction can form the basis for direct relationships that may for last many seasons.
The Specialty Coffee Expo isn’t just about new products. Classes, workshops, and lectures at Expo offer a great chance for attendees to gain new knowledge. This year marked the Expo debut of the Specialty Coffee Association’s newly-revised Coffee Skills Program. As a leader in the content creation effort, our Brady Butler was invited to present the new Brewing Foundation Course.
The skills and knowledge learned in the Introduction to Coffee, Barista Foundation and Brewing Foundation courses form the basis of preparing great coffee. We now offer these same courses in Raleigh at the Dilworth Coffee Training Center. For more information about these courses visit our training page here or email us at Learn@DilworthCoffee.com.
To learn more about how you can put these specialty coffee trends to work for you in your coffee business, call us today at 800 835 5943 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.