Coffee Fest Chronology

Coffee Fest started out as the true celebration of coffee with a consumer coffee show hosted in Seattle in 1992. What began with 65 exhibitors and more than 2,500 attendees sharing coffee with the general public, Coffee Fest has blossomed into a show that sports more than 300 booths with close to 10,000 attendees serving the coffee trades. The “little coffee show that could” boasts a track record of 16 years and more than 50 shows of consistently and confidently pushing specialty coffee retailers to be the best.


Read below for our show’s highlights :


1992: Coffee Fest hosts its first consumer coffee show and welcomes 2,500 people, in spite of a snowstorm that hampered transportation for the city and surrounding areas. People traveled from all over the country to attend the event. This first success helped Coffee Fest organizers understand that the coffee industry was being underserved and as show manager David Heilbrunn says, “We knew we were on to something.”
1993: Coffee Fest fills its venue at the Seattle Center to capacity.
1994: Coffee Fest goes on the road to Philadelphia and Chicago. Coffee Fest graduates their hometown show to the Seattle Convention Center after outgrowing their Seattle Center venue. Coffee Fest launches the Specialty Coffee Business Seminar, a three–day soup to nuts course for entrepreneurs opening up coffee shops.
1995-1997: Coffee Fest morphs into a trade-consumer show with two days dedicated to trade and the final day open to the public.
1998: Coffee Fest decides to make their shows trade only starting with their hometown Seattle show.
2000: Coffee Fest plants their show in three separate regions of the country -- Las Vegas, Seattle and Atlantic City, to better serve their national audience.
2001: Show Manager David Heilbrunn earns the Expo Group Show Manager of the Year award.
2002: As trade shows around the country saw reductions across the board, Coffee Fest, realizes a 30% increase in attendance and exhibitor space.
2004: Coffee Fest is named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in North America by Tradeshow Week Magazine. The company creates the International Academy of Specialty Coffee to create world-class barista training and certification.
2005: Coffee Fest is named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in North America by Tradeshow Week Magazine. KC and Sunshine Band graces the Coffee Fest stage at Seattle show. Coffee Fest puts on a party for show attendees and exhibitors that is hard to top.
2006: Coffee Fest is again named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in North America by Tradeshow Week Magazine.
2008: Coffee Fest celebrates its 50th show in Washington, D.C., and hosts first show off the mainland near the coffee-growing region of Kona, Hawaii. They also host their first international show in Hong Kong.
2012: Coffee Fest adds Americas Best Coffeehouse and Amercicas Best Espresso Competitions.
2014: Coffee Fest announces the first ever national championship finals for both America's Best Coffeehouse and Americas Best Espresso competitions.