As a visitor from Vancouver, someone who represents consumers, and a party interested in the promotional aspects of barista competitions, I'm not happy with this trade show.
But there's no denying that, from a business standpoint, especially B2B, this show is a success. I've interviewed several companies with booths here, and they are quite happy with the traffic and the sales - both in leads generated, and in actual sales and contracts signed on the floor.
So this show is a success, at least for the people manning the booths and for the organizers, because the booth operators are happy.
Is this a place for the barista competition to take place at? Definitely not. I just came from two competitor rounds in the finals at the Canadian Barista Championship, and the attendance at this event, held in the back of the show hall (very far from the front entrance) is nothing less than dismal. There were more people attending the Cup Tasters Championship 1st Round I was in yesterday (the Cup Tasters' space is near the front of the hall, near the front entrance). In fact, this is the lowest-attended CNBC finals I have ever seen, and that includes the first one way back in 2003.
When this trade show is in Vancouver, the competition is better attended, and the trade show is of course right in the heart of Vancouver. This one, way out by the airport has zero public attendance.
That is a solid argument for disengaging the Canadian National Barista Championships from the Coffee and Tea Show when it is happening in the Toronto area every two years. Perhaps in 2012 the competition should be held off site - in Toronto, and perhaps at a different time altogether. Wrap a few educationals, small barista-oriented booths and vendor spaces into a separate event. We'll have to see how it goes.
Have a look at a Twitter Picture I posted a short while ago to see what the attendance is like for the CNBC finals.