Experts Gather for Epic Coffee Conference: Moscow Coffee & Tea Expo

From September  23 to 26, the second Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo  (MCTE) took place at IEC Crocus Expo to great success, reenforcing the show’s position at the heart of the specialty coffee and tea industry, and creating the buzz and excitement visitors came to expect in the show’s debut year, 2013. Delivering a great return on investment for exhibitors and providing a comprehensive seminar program along with exciting championships, MCTE is ranked among the top coffee and tea shows in the world.

Sixty-nine exhibitors presented their products, equipment, and services to more than  7,000 key buyers, decision makers, and industry professionals. In total, the exhibition floor space covered  4,200 square meters. The Expo also hosted various industry-related events, educational programs, and three  championships on a  total area  of more than 450 square meters. In addition to the thousands of local visitors, many international visitors also gathered at the event, traveling from throughout CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States) and a strong contingent from Europe and beyond. It is worth noting that top management counted for 24% of the total visitor count, compared to pre-registration in 2013 of 21%.

This was the second year of the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo, and it was bigger and better than ever.
This was the second year of the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo, and it was bigger and better than ever.

MCTE was proud to have  world famous as well as local companies as sponsors. Among them were PARMALAT (Official Milk and Cream Partner), Masterglass (Official Utensil Partner), Voda OnLine (Official Water Partner), ROUTIN (Official Syrup Partner), Motion View, Franko, Madian, MAHLKÖNIG and MARCO (Official Technical Partners), Huhtamaki CIS (Disposable Cutlery Partner), Mare Terra and ie cafe (Educational Program Partners), and SOYUZ COFFEE ROASTING (Live  Text Streaming Partner).

Professional development was one of the major focuses of MCTE 2014. A comprehensive educational program held at three expo stages offered streams of insightful seminars and master classes over all four days of the expo. The highest attendance rates were seen at Main Business Stage, where business owners, top executives, and managers of all levels could gain and refresh the skills necessary to position their company for future success. The program featured 16 seminars thematically grouped in six sessions during which preeminent speakers and industry experts elaborated on a wide range of topics: management features within the coffee and tea industry, HR, quality control, choosing a  coffee machine, PR and advertising, starting  a  coffee or tea-related business, and much more.

Another professional development area was especially designed for those,who should be most aware of the bean to cup process: baristas and roasters. Among the high-profile speakers were Robert Stephen (USA), Past President of the SCAA, a certified Q-Grader and a Q-Grader Instructor with 20+ years of experience at all levels of the coffee industry;  Robert Thoresen  (Norway), pioneer of the Scandinavian Specialty Coffee field since 1996 and International Coffee Entrepreneur at Collaborative Coffee Source;  Erik Rosendahl  (Sweden), founder of an  award-winning roastery Drop Coffee Roasters;  and Asli Yaman  (Turkey), authorized SCAE Trainer and Chief Roast Master at Soyuz Coffee Roasting. Their classes on coffee growing, beans quality, roasting and roasting equipment, grinding, and more included not only the lectures, but also practical sessions with cup tasting and brewing.

Experts from around the world gathered in Moscow to teach classes during the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo. From left: Asli Yaman, Martin Wennersgaard, Rob Stephen, Robert Thoresen, Gloria Pedroza, and others.
Experts from around the world gathered in Moscow to teach classes during the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo. From left: Asli Yaman, Martin Wennersgaard, Rob Stephen, Robert Thoresen, Gloria Pedroza, and others.

The finals of the Russian Roasting Championship (a national round of World Coffee Roasting Championship) was also held at The Lab. Open Space. Organized by the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo, KLD Coffee Importers Ltd., and  Coffee Owl” Freshly Green & Roasted Bean, this contest would determine the champion who will represent Russia at the World Coffee Roasting Championship in 2015. The roasters had to demonstrate their  coffee grading skills and  prove their abilities to develop a roasting profile that  best accentuates the desirable  characteristics of a coffee. The judging panel of the Championship included top coffee experts: Gloria Pedroza, a certified WBC judge, World Cup Tasting Champion 2006, with 7 years of judging experience at national barista competitions, a certified WBC-judge and WBrC and WLAC judge;  Polina Vladimirova, the first Russian Q-grader, El Salvador 2013, Honduras 2012, Guatemala 2010 Cup of Excellence Judge, Head Manager at œCoffeemania  barista training centre, green coffee buyer, SCAE member and certified WBC judge; and Denis Sigulin, quality manager at  KLD  Coffee Importers. After most scrupulous assessing procedures were finished, the winner was announced. Alexander Shevkunov, a roaster from Traveler’s Coffee, one of the biggest Russian and CIS coffeeshop chains came first.

Russia's national Coffee Roasting Championship took place during the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo. Winner Alexander will represent Russia at the World Coffee Roasting Championship in Sweden in June 2015.
Russia’s national Coffee Roasting Championship took place during the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo. Winner Alexander Shevkunov will represent Russia at the World Coffee Roasting Championship in Sweden in June 2015.

For those seeking to evaluate their  adherence  to international  standards, MCTE hosted SCAE recognized courses at The Lab. Certification Zone. Certified  SCAE  Trainer, head of green coffee quality for  Mare Terra and a Q Arabica Grader  Timur Dudkin, was giving certification courses for baristas, cuppers, and roasters including  Barista Skills Foundation, Barista Skills Intermediate,  Sensory Skills Foundation and Sensory Skills Intermediate. Most diligent students who successfully passed the theoretical and practical assignments received  SCAE  CDS certificates on relevant modules.

Timur Dudkin taught eager students about Q grading during his popular seminars at the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo.
Timur Dudkin taught eager students about Q grading during his popular seminars at the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo.

An interesting new project was launched at the  Micro-lot Exchange area, where the biggest industry coffee suppliers could sell coffee micro-lots, which they sourced especially for the event. Limited coffee grades from Brzail, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and other countries were brought together at one place for the first time in history of the Russian coffee industry. The stage also featured cuppings of the micro-lots and brief presentations of supplying companies. They gave some valuable insights on the countries where their beans are grown and shared the unique flavor characteristics of their products. A special guest, Josiana Bernardes from Mare Terra (Barcelona, Spain), introduced an impressive project she is working on under the name of IWCA (International Women in Сoffee Alliance).

The majority of Micro-lot Exchange participants agreed that this project provided a great opportunity for coffee shop owners and roasters to meet coffee producers and their representatives, and also to purchase the top-quality micro-lots for a reasonable price.
The majority of Micro-lot Exchange participants agreed that this project provided a great opportunity for coffee shop owners and roasters to meet coffee producers and their representatives, and also to purchase the top-quality micro-lots for a reasonable price.

Sponsored by companies La Marzocco and Traveler’s Coffee, the busiest stage which attracted biggest crowds was undoubtedly the Coffee Box stage, where three competitions took place. An exciting new competition for the title of  the Russia’s Best Coffeehouse, Russian Coffee Cup, appeared to be a smashing hit. This fast-paced, multi-disciplinary barista teams contest gathered top baristas from all over Russia (and even one Kazakhstan team) competing for the title of  the Russia’s Best Coffeehouse and an impressive prize: a trip to  one of the European coffee capital. The Russian Coffee Cup proved to be a huge success from the very beginning: In 45 days, 29 teams from 19 cities applied to participate. According to the rules, each team had to submit a short video about their coffeehouse along with the recipes of three coffee-based signature drinks to the  competition website russiancoffeecup.ru. The applications were assessed by MCTE team and a panel of key industry professionals including an invited expert from Sweden, Erik Rosendahl, co-owner of Drop Coffee Roasters.

The Russian Coffee Cup competition was one of the most popular events during the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo.
The Russian Coffee Cup competition was one of the most popular events during the Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo.
Only 6 teams made it to the final where Russia's best baristas showcased their skills in 3 disciplines: The Signature Drink (3 drinks the teams presented in the application), Latte Art, and The Grinding Contest. After a  tight competition, the winner was announced: City Coffee from Saint Petersburg (pictured).
Only 6 teams made it to the final where Russia’s best baristas showcased their skills in 3 disciplines: The Signature Drink (3 drinks the teams presented in the application), Latte Art, and The Grinding Contest. After a  tight competition, the winner was announced: City Coffee from Saint Petersburg (pictured).

Calling together the most passionate and aspiring coffee specialists to demonstrate their professionalism and dedication, the Russian Coffee Cup provided a great opportunity to take Russia’s booming specialty coffee industry to the next level. The MCTE has big plans for the coming year: regional rounds in the biggest cities of Russia, more teams and more challenging disciplines.

One of the competition categories in the Russian Coffee Cup was a signature drink the teams had created and described in their initial applications.
One of the competition categories in the Russian Coffee Cup was a signature drink the teams had created and described in their initial applications.

The Coffee Box also saw the Moscow National Round of the Russian  Barista Championship, which called together the best barista of Russia’s capital battling for a chance to represent their city in the next rounds. The top seven participants will compete at the Russian Barista Championship, and the first place was awarded to Arseniy Kuznetsov from already mentioned Traveler’s Coffee.

Arseniy Kuznetsov from Traveler's Coffee won the Moscow Regional Barista Competition, and will go on to compete in the Russian Barista Championship.
Arseniy Kuznetsov from Traveler’s Coffee won the Moscow Regional Barista Competition, and will go on to compete in the Russian Barista Championship.

On the last day of the Expo, Erik Rosendahl and Asli Yaman together with top Russian baristas held a unique open master-class which culminated  in  a discussion on specialty coffee market trends, barista-consumer relationships, direct trade and other hot topics.

A stage where everyone could actually taste coffee and tea was the Brew Bar stage. Among the hosts some world-known coffee celebrities were spotted: Erik Rosendahl from Drop Coffee Roasters and Morten Wennersgaard from Nordic Approach Coffee Importers . And surely a lot of Russian coffee and tea connoisseurs took their chance to appear on stage. Among them was Vasiliy Ladygin, a certified SCAE judge and the winner of Best of Brew 2013 Championship.

Attendees and workshop participants gathered throughout the event to taste coffees and discuss their profiles with coffee experts.
Attendees and workshop participants gathered throughout the event to taste coffees and discuss their profiles with coffee experts.

The MCTE team even hosted three evening events. On September 23, attendees gathered at the Barista Party, where the winner of the Russian Coffee Cup was announced, while on September 24, the judges named the Roasting Champion at West 4.Coffee Brew Bar, one of the most trendy places in Moscow. In addition, between September 23 and 26, more than 10 coffee and tea houses  joined the Moscow Coffee and Tea Festival to offer special events and activities.

The 2014 Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo proved that it is the essential must-attend event for all the specialty coffee and tea-related people. You can check the stunning photos, videos and other exciting materials on MCTE at its official site www.expocoffeetea.ru, MCTE Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MoscowCoffeeandTeaExpo) and YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/expocoffeetea).

Stay tuned for news about the 2015 Moscow Coffee and Tea Expo, which will take place October 5 “8!

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