Food & Culture

Coffee Lovers Unite at the 2017 Coffee Expo

A world of people nerded out to everything from nitro cold brew to sustainability in the coffee industry

By Stephen Strom April 26, 2017

0417_CoffeeExpo

Last week thousands of coffee lovers from around the world flooded Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center, making the pilgrimage to the nation’s coffee capital. The Global Specialty Coffee Expo, hosted by the nearly 30-year-old, industry nonprofit Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), gave coffee enthusiasts and experts the chance to learn about new industry trends and standards, and meet and mingle with other bean-crazed folk. Held April 20-23 this year, Seattle has hosted this annual trade event on and off since 1992.

Huge crowds filled the halls of the convention center to hear lectures about industry innovations and to learn about new coffee farming and processing techniques. Exhibition Hall overflowed with stalls of global products and exhibitors promoting almost everything coffee, tea or beer related. Programs like Funcafe (the Guatemalan coffee sector’s nonprofit for human development of the rural population) offered learning opportunities for attendees and consumers to help create a more sustainable industry for Guatemalan coffee farmers. There was even a performance by traditional Maasai dancers from Kenya, the featured coffee-producing region for this year’s event.

Trends that have steamrolled into coffee culture were highlighted in bold this year. If you’re tired of ordering your usual caramel latte, jump on the nitro cold brew train (cold brew infused with nitrogen) or the bourbon barrel aged coffee express. And the coffee beers flowed at a section called Uppers & Downers, dedicated to coffee beer where you could try award winning beers like the Gusto Cream Coffee Ale (a cream ale with medium roast beans from Caffe Umbria) by Georgetown Brewing Company. Another big attraction was the Roasters Village, letting one dive head first into coffee samples.

The culminating highlight, of course, was the showdown that is the U.S. Coffee Championships, a four-part competition consisting of the Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, Roasters Championship and Cup Tasters Championship on the sixth floor. A large crowd was ever-present; judged on espresso, a milk portion and a signature beverage, Seattle’s Chelsey Walker-Watson of Slate Coffee Roasters placed second in the Brewers Cup, the competition component that highlights the art of manual brewing.

The Barista Championship consisted of 36 contestants who fought their way through the qualifiers, and the winner Kyle Ramage of Durham, North Carolina will represent the U.S. at the World Championships taking place in South Korea later this year. Washington State had three contenders who made it to the championship round: Maxwell Mooney of Narrative Coffee in Everett, Sam Schroeder of Olympia Coffee Roasting Company in Olympia and Seattle’s Brandon Paul Weaver of Foreigner.

Photography by Peachy Juban-Notter

Pastry: An Affair to Remember

Chef Ewald Notter of Dote Coffee Bar makes it easy to fall in love with pastry and chocolate

Most romances unfold in predictable ways. An invitation for lunch, where you share sandwiches in a loud café, silently wishing your bread was crisper, but never giving up on the idea that one day it might be. An awkward laugh as your fingers touch while you both reach across the table for sugar in that…

TRU2814675 homepage-min

Mix It Up. Try old-school cocktails this holiday season

These 10 drinks may not be on the menu at your local bar, but all pack a punch as well as some colorful history

Editor’s note: A version of this story previously appeared in “Seattle” magazine. Impress your guests this holiday season with these 10 concoctions from a vintage bar guide from Glenn Shaw Creations – supposedly from the 1950s – found in an antique shop in Olympia a few years back. Keep in mind that these drinks may…

image0 square-min

Sip, Slurp, Celebrate at Frank’s Oyster House

Let’s be Frank about Champagne

The best bubbles in Washington state may very well be found at an East Coast-style restaurant in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. That, at least, is the opinion of The Champagne Bureau, USA, which has named Frank’s Oyster House and Champagne Parlor as one of the top 10 bars and restaurants in the nation for the quality…

The apiary at The Lodge at St. Edward State Park.

Seattle Buildings Just Let It Bee

There’s a buzz happening throughout the region

You know the Smith Tower as Seattle’s original skyscraper. You know that the 108-year-old, 38-floor tower was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi.   You may not be aware that the 22nd floor is now home to an apiary containing a thriving colony of thousands of honeybees. It is one of several apiaries located…

Diners have several outdoor options on Ballard Avenue Northwest, including at The Ballard Cut.

Dining In, Dining Outdoors in Ballard

Ballard restaurateur Tommy Patrick helped reimagine Ballard’s outdoor dining scene at the start of the pandemic, sparking a trend that’s likely here to stay

In a past reality that seems almost like a dream, Seattle’s outdoor dining existed only in the summer months, when we were all just happy to be in actual sunshine, even if it disappeared as quickly as the tables and umbrellas. Then, during the early days of the pandemic, dining stopped. Everything stopped. From a…

Cake_BlueberryChiffon_Whole copy Cropped-min

First Paris Baguette in Washington set to open in 2023

The quick-service restaurant is coming the the Pacific Northwest

Washington state’s first Paris Baguette quick-service restaurant is set to open in early 2023, courtesy of a local businessman and restaurateur hoping to recapture some of his past. Paul Liu, who immigrated to the Seattle area with his family from South Korea when he was 10, developed a fondness for the internationally recognized neighborhood bakery-café…