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7 Tips for First Time Coffee Fest Attendees

7 Tips for First Time Coffee Fest Attendees

7 Tips for First Time Coffee Fest Attendees

Is it your first-time gearing up for a Coffee Fest show?

Excitement and maybe a hint of nervousness might be brewing as you get closer to show time. Attending Coffee Fest can be a huge experience in your coffee journey with opportunities for learning, networking, and diving head-first into the world of specialty coffee.

We've compiled a few tips to help you have a great first-time, but also take care of business while you're here!

#1: Set Your Goals

There's a lot to experience, interesting people to talk to, and education to boost your knowledge. You don't want to walk away feeling like you saw a lot but didn't accomplish what you came to Coffee Fest for.

Ask yourself: What are you looking to get out of Coffee Fest for yourself, personal and professional, and for your business? Nailing this down ahead of time will help ensure that you make the most out of your visit.

#2: Plan Ahead

Make a plan of attack by prioritizing with your goals in mind. Are you looking for new vendors? Researching how to add syrup-based beverages to your shop? Map out the exhibitors that match your goals and plan to visit those booths first.

TIP: The official Coffee Fest mobile app for each show will be your best friend. It has resources for mapping out the show floor, alerts of things happening onsite, and a full exhibitor list with company descriptions. Search "Coffee Fest (location)" (example: Coffee Fest New Orleans) in the App Store or Google Play.

Whether you're looking to deepen your understanding of coffee roasting techniques, master the art of cupping, explore emerging trends, or learn marketing skills for your business, there's likely education sessions tailored to what you're looking to learn or find a solution for. Check out ALL of the education available and review all of the experiences happening at your Coffee Fest show. Be sure to add the education you're wanting to attend to your registration ahead of time, they may be full if you wait until you're picking up your badge to add classes.

TIP: Here's a short list of things to bring with you: business cards (physical or digital), backpack for marketing materials/swag and keeping your hands free for samples, cell phone charger and external batter, comfortable walking shoes, water bottle, a few snacks, and a smile!

There's a lot to see and do at Coffee Fest. Making a plan ahead of time helps you pace yourself and keeps you from burning yourself out trying to do it all in one day.

#3: Connect with Others

One of the top reasons attendees come to Coffee Fest is for the networking! Don't hesitate to strike up conversations, exchange business cards, follow each other on social media, and participate in events. Approach each interaction as a new opportunity to learn and grow from others eager to share their insights, experiences, and stories.

Story time: A company had been attempting to sell their roastery for a few years prior to coming to Coffee Fest Orlando. Within 2 days at Coffee Fest, they had several interested buyers.

There's so many chances to brew up conversations - leaving education classes, in line for morning coffee, on the show floor, waiting for the Latte Art World Championship Open to start, after hours events, and beyond!

Not sure how to start up conversations with fellow attendees? Here's a few example starters to try: 

  • Hi, I'm (insert your name) and I'm a (insert what you do). This is my first Coffee Fest, have you attended before?
  • I saw you in (insert education session here) class, we're looking to increase our marketing (or other class topic) in our business. Have you found success with this topic?
  • I see on your badge you're from (insert state here) so are we! Where are you located? What brand are you using for (insert product here)?

#4: Meet New (and Current) Exhibitors

The show floor is buzzing with innovation, new possibilities, and the latest trends. Be curious, ask questions, and immerse yourself in the energy.

To best maximize your time, so you can see all of the different exhibitors, know the details of your goals and projects inside and out. This way when exhibitors start asking questions, you have all of the answers, and then they can make the most accurate recommendations and details.

Not sure how to start up conversations with exhibitors? Here's a few example starters to try: 

  • I've seen your alternative milk product before; we're interested in trying it in our shop. Can you tell me a little more about what makes your company different from others?
  • We're currently using X product, but we are open to a better option. Can you tell me a little more about your product?
  • I love these sustainable cups; I'd love to learn more about them.

#5: Be Ready to Learn

There's a variety of ways to learn when you attend a Coffee Fest event. Take advantage of free seminars and panel discussions included in your General Admission badge or invest in paid workshops to help you drive your business forward. Hands-on workshops, lectures and seminars, panel discussions, demonstrations, and special features on and off the exhibit show floor are just some of the ways you can level up your coffee knowledge. Don't forget a pen and notebook!

TIP: Be sure to add the education sessions you want to attend to your registration ahead of time, sessions may be full if you wait until picking up your badge.

#6: Take Care of Yourself

Pace yourself, stay hydrated, don't forget to eat, and decompress when you need it! It's easy to get caught up in the conversations, education sessions, or experiences and suddenly you're hangry. Don't find yourself in the position of not fully enjoying yourself, watching instead of participating, or missing out because you aren't feeling your best.

TIP #1: Bring granola bars, trail mix or your favorite snack so you don't find yourself looking for food when you want to be making connections.

TIP #2: Want to watch the Latte Art World Championship Open but are feeling a little overwhelmed or tired by 2pm? Espresso State of Mind live streams all of the action with commentary on their YouTube page!


Coffee Fest is so much more than just a trade show, it's an immersive experience where the specialty coffee community comes together, driving thought leadership & stimulating business growth.


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