The 2018 Global Specialty Coffee Expo brought together a range of attendees to explore everything coffee. Here are some of the things we saw over the event’s final days.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Throngs of attendees from around the world came to Seattle this weekend for the 2018 Global Specialty Coffee Expo. From bright-colored booths and artistic expressions to café tools and beautiful coffees, here are some of the sights we saw on the final days of Expo.
Making art on the show floor
Cup manufacturer The Created Co. launched its Angle Collection at the show, but they didn’t just have a booth—they also had an interactive mural designed and painted during the show by artist Timber Charter. The Created Co. poised the question “What does coffee mean to you?” and Timber Charter visualized attendees’ responses. “The idea is that cups are the means, but the message is for the creators,” says The Created Co. cofounder Ryan Schneider.
From the page to the show
The Roaster Village, located above the main show floor near the various U.S. CoffeeChamps festivities, housed a variety of coffee companies showcasing their brews. One of these was Bay Area-based coffee importer Port of Mokha, offering high-quality coffees from Yemen. Port of Mokha owner Mokhtar Alkhanshali has been one of specialty coffee’s most discussed people in 2018, thanks to the publication of Dave Eggers’ novel The Monk of Mokha telling Mokhtar’s story of reviving Yemeni coffee while dodging civil war in Yemen. The book was a common topic at Expo 2018, and Mokhtar entertained a steady line of coffee pros who queued up to get their copies of The Monk of Mokha signed, taste Yemeni coffee, and meet the literary subject.
Yemen certainly wasn’t the only coffee origin accounted for at Expo. China showcased its emerging coffee production as the Expo Portrait Country, and most other producing nations sported large booths. At the Café de Mexico booth, Fabrizio Sención Ramírez—multi-time Barista Champion of Mexico and owner of Café Estelar—served up delicious coffees from Mexico. He said that high-quality coffees are coming out of regions in the north of Mexico’s coffee-producing areas, such as Jalisco and Hidalgo, that didn’t used to be known for their fantastic coffees. This diversity is helping to grow Mexico’s specialty-coffee-consuming culture—Fabrizio said more and more micro-roasters are popping up, not just in Mexico City, but throughout the country.
Bright colors, loud tunes
As Sunday dawned, some attendees likely felt exhausted from three days of Expo-related revelry, but much of the show floor still gave off a fun and festive atmosphere. The Slayer booth may have given show-goers the impression they’d walked off of the Expo floor and into a dance club. A headphone-clad DJ was spinning records, tying into the music theme with the company’s new Steam Box Set launched at Expo.
While the Slayer setup appealed to the ears, other booths attracted the eye. Big crowds abounded at the booth of coffee-brewing equipment maker Fellow Products. Its Rainbow Tasters Wall provided a visually enticing backdrop in front of which Fellow showcased its range of brewing tools.