Coffee Fest PNW Lands in Tacoma, Wash., Nov. 15-16

Here’s what to expect at the trade show’s latest Pacific Northwest stop, including a leadership seminar, Cold Brew Avenue, and plenty of vendors.


Photos courtesy of Coffee Fest

The Coffee Fest trade show, which has been around since 1992, is returning to the Pacific Northwest area this month for the first time since 2013. The festival will be in Tacoma, Wash., November 15-16 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

Although Coffee Fest began in Seattle, the company wanted to return to a different area of the region this time around. “Tacoma made sense to us because it is in between Portland and Seattle, and can draw from both,” explains Erika Lowry, the director of the show. “We loved the name PNW because it will allow the show to rotate from Portland to Seattle and Tacoma, which is our long-term plan.”

The Campfire Cafe sessions will feature industry-oriented discussions on how to run a successful shop.

Unlike other Coffee Fest shows, Coffee Fest PNW will be a two-day event rather than three days, but the schedule remains jam-packed with vendors, activities, and a high-stakes giveaway. Another differing element to the trade show can be found in the latte art competition, which is a 32-competitor field compared to Coffee Fest’s usual 64; competitors will have qualified for the event by taking part at smaller throwdowns throughout the Northwest leading up to Coffee Fest PNW.

More things to look forward to at Coffee Fest PNW are the incredible amount of workshops and seminars that the team is hosting; One particular highlight is a leadership workshop that’s happening the day before the festival on November 14 called Lean Into Leadership: Drive Success & Culture, which will be led by Elixir Specialty Coffee and Map it Forward’s Lee Safar and Jen O’Hare of TIAMAT Leadership. Other workshops during the festival include a variety of industry-related matters like how to create an environment for long-lasting employment, an introduction to coffee cupping, and Campfire Cafe sessions that cover different elements of running a successful coffee shop. You can read the full list of seminars here.

Coffee Fest will have classes on a variety of both beginner and advanced elements of coffee, including an introduction to cupping workshop.

Another spot to stop by during the festival is Cold Brew Avenue, which showcases the cold-brew process from start to finish and a new product showcase, plus a panel on “demystifying” the beverage and its nitro subsidiary. The Avenue will be on the floor with the 100+ vendors that are confirmed for the weekend, which you can check out here.

For the first time, a high-stakes giveaway will also reward one lucky winner with over $60,000 worth of prizes. Hosted by Bargreen Ellingson, the giveaway will include items like a toaster, convection oven, espresso machine, Puqpress tamper, and much more. If you’ve ever contemplated opening your own café, winning this giveaway is easily a sign to go ahead and do it!

The confirmed vendor list for Coffee Fest PNW includes over 100 exhibitors.

In addition to the giveaway, Bargreen Ellingson will also be a part of Coffee Fest PNW’s sustainability initiative. In partnership with Miir, the group will give free vessels to attendees to use as sample cups. Rather than getting single-use cups, people will be able to hand their reusable wear to exhibitors, which they can rinse in between samples. “We estimate this will reduce anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 single-use cups at this show alone,” says Holly Barrett, marketing manager for Coffee Fest.

Opportunities to both attend and exhibit at Coffee Fest PNW are still available; head over to the website to register for either.

About Katrina Yentch 221 Articles
Katrina Yentch (she/her) is a freelance writer and Barista Magazine's Online Editor. When she's not writing, you can find her napping, cooking, and drinking whatever's on drip.