Check out Coffee Fest Anaheim, Kent Coffee Festival, and Caffeine Crawl in August.
BY ZECHARIAH MOSS
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Caffeine Crawl
As 2021 progresses, we are beginning to experience a return of coffee events around the globe. Check out these three festivals happening in August.
The Coffee Fest trade show is returning to Anaheim, Calif., this August. Starting out in the early ‘90s, when specialty-coffee culture was gaining momentum in Seattle, the trade show has been hosting coffee events across the United States, bridging the gap between seller and buyer ever since.
“There have been so many unique challenges with bringing back specialty-coffee events in the middle of a pandemic,” says Holly Barrett, senior marketing manager at Coffee Fest. “We’ve had to adjust in a lot of areas—sampling, cupping classes, the Latte Art World Championship Open, etc. With rapidly changing and often vastly different city- and state-issued guidelines, no two events have had the same set of challenges.”
Having been to Texas and Atlanta already in 2021, Anaheim is next to receive a multi-day event, with another show planned for Portland, Ore., later in the year. The three-day event will introduce brand-new educational seminars and bring the U.S. Cold Brew Championship to the West Coast; the competition, which started pre-COVID at an East Coast event, is returning full force in Anaheim.
Aside from events, Coffee Fest is starting to build an online community in Coffee Fest 365 for year-round access to information and business connections across the country.
“Based on feedback from past attendees and exhibitors, we wanted to have a place where specialty-coffee operators in the U.S. could find on-demand and live education resources, source new products and companies, network with other fellow operators, and have access to special discounts year-round, no matter where our live events were happening. We’re in the middle of preparations for the site and hope to share it with the U.S. audience late summer/early fall 2021.”
Businesses can register for Coffee Fest Anaheim today, taking place August 22-24.
Kent Coffee Festival
Starting out in the festival scene in the United Kingdom, a new county-centric festival is finally having its debut this month. The Kent Coffee Festival is bringing shops and coffee lovers together in the southeast of England.
“Kent is such an exciting county when it comes to produce, and products like wine are really coming into their own,” says event director Luke Underdown. “And in many ways, although we don’t grow coffee in Kent, I feel the same about the coffee scene. Having built a coffee business in the Kent region over the last six years, I’ve seen the sector grow massively with so many new specialty-focused roasteries and coffee shops opening up.”
Luke began the promotion of the coffee event in late 2019 for a 2020 launch. Like many other veterans of the festival scene, he was met with delays and multiple reschedulings. There’s an extra level of excitement in the air, being the first event hosted by Luke and the Kent community at large.
“The challenges faced by the whole event sector are huge, and let alone a festival which revolves around tasting and sampling! Every step of the way we’ve been focused on putting on a safe event, but still achieving the key features we wanted the festival to have. After 18 months of events being canceled, I’m desperate to get back to them, and that is without a doubt the feedback I’m hearing as well.”
Hosted in the local university’s arts center, the inaugural festivities will include multiple sections including a latte art zone, a roaster zone, and an exciting espresso martini bar. If you’re in the U.K., the Kent Coffee Festival will finally be going live August 27-29.
If you’re looking for another unique coffee event, Caffeine Crawl is hosting its 112th event in the Twin Cities mid-month. Jason Burton, founder of Caffeine Crawl, brought the active excitement of a bar crawl to local businesses. One of the few coffee-related events that continued during COVID is re-emerging strong in 2021.
“We’ve hosted 15 events since last March; not one had a single COVID case track back or brought to our attention from our events,” says Jason.
In addition to in-person events, Caffeine Crawl is continuing their virtual presence.
“Last year we created a Virtual Caffeine Crawl. It went so well and introduced thousands of coffee lovers to new places, we decided to make it an annual event even after we get through all these COVID struggles,” Jason says.
Connect with your local coffee community today, either in-person or digitally, via the lineup of Caffeine Crawl events.