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Coffee Fest Las Vegas, held in conjunction with The Great American Dessert Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center June 3 through 5, proved to be yet another rousing success for attendees and exhibitors alike. The company’s 40th show boasted more than 3,350 attendees over three days with a spectacular line-up of more than 70 educational sessions and its focused exhibition featuring more than 250 booths. Following were some of the highlights:

Coffee Fest’s popular three-day specialty coffee business seminar presenters, Kent Holloway, David J. Morris, Tommy Thwaites and Greg Hartlein hosted the premier Coffee Fest Hands-On Barista Training and Certification Program, sponsored by Nuova Simonelli. There were more than 100 participants in this flagship event, created by The International Academy of Specialty Coffee, the training arm of Coffee Fest.

Coffee Fest hosted, in conjunction with Stirling Gourmet Flavors, the first-ever “Stirling Signature Beverage Open”, a free-form competition designed to shine a spotlight on and encourage quality and creativity in beverage making. Winners were Anna Gutierrez of Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Puyallup, Washington, who took the $500 prize for “Best-Tasting Beverage” for her “Anna Banana’s Famous Flaming Fosters” and Jim Saborio of Café Zola in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who won $500 for “Most Creative Beverage” with his “Mokha Cassis”.

Click for larger image
Billy Wilson Receives First Place in Latte Art Competition

The ever-popular Millrock Latte Art Competition presented by Tea & Coffee Trade Journal featured 19 of the country’s finest baristi going head-to-head in an action-packed display of coffee creativity. Billy Wilson of Albina Press in Portland, Oregon, was crowned the Millrock Free-Pour Latte Art Champion and walked away with the $1,000 prize. Daniel Wayne of Lux Coffee Bar in Phoenix, Arizona, took second place and won $500, and Brian Freire from the Java House in Iowa City, Iowa, took third, winning $250. Latte Art classes were also taught by 2004 Las Vegas Millrock Latte Art Champion Daniel Wayne of Lux Coffee Bar in Phoenix, Arizona.

Winners of the Coffee Fest Las Vegas 2005 Best New Products competition were Joe Bag, Oral Fixation and Caffé D’Amore. Here are the winners of the New Product awards: Joe Bag of Sacramento, California, took first place for its new black canvas coffee tote bag. It holds up to four large cups of coffee and is collapsible for easy storage. The tote is waterproof and easy-to-clean. Second place winner was Oral Fixation of Hopewell, New Jersey, for its line of breath mints. Available in six flavors, the mints come in elegant brushed metal tins, perfect for point-of-sale. Caffé D’Amore of Monrovia, California, won third place for its European-style Sipping Chocolate by Bellagio, described by one judge as “totally decadent and yummy!”

As part of Coffee Fest’s commitment to providing assistance to those affected by the tsunami disaster of December 2004, the company has sent a check in the amount of $2,298 through Coffee Kids to the Sumatra Relief Fund. This represents 10 percent of the on-site attendee registration revenue from Coffee Fest Las Vegas, making Coffee Fest’s total contribution so far this year nearly $4,500.

Adding to the success of the show, The Great American Dessert Expo hosted an additional fifty booths focused on dessert-related items. The Great American Dessert Expo was launched in Las Vegas in 2003 by New York-based IMC Events and Exhibitions.

Coffee Fest is dedicated to the growth and proliferation of the specialty coffee, gourmet tea and alternative beverage industries. More information can be obtained at www.coffeefest.com or by calling 425.283.5058.

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