chrome, chrome, and more chrome
Last weekend, I spent two days in the Seattle CoffeeFest with Pierre and Cherie. It was amazing. I always knew there was a lot to the coffee making business, but I just didn’t know there was this much more, especially the amount of chrome that went into the place! There were maybe over a hundred espresso machines at the show; everywhere you looked, there was chrome, chrome, and more chrome. My favorite was this futuristic start trek like, minimalistic table top machine which hides all the machinery under the table. The place was packed with people that were interested in making coffee, import/export coffee, grinding and roasting coffee. Pierre introduced me to Josuma, a nuclear physicist who created Malabar Gold in the Bay Area. We chatted about the Korean guy who used to carry his beans in a coffee shop on 25th st in San Mateo. I used to buy beans from the guy!
About another half of the booths were for people interested in tea, chai, gelato, hemp milk, chocolates, scone mixes, caffeinated lip balm, coffee accessories, coffee mugs, bill board signs, pastry trays, … Of course, like a good sale, each vendor thought they had the best espresso machine, made the best espresso shots, the best chocolate, the best grinder,… It doesn’t take long for us to start taking these “best of” comments with a grain of salt. We enjoyed chatting to people and getting wired after sampling gazillion caffeinated or high carb products. In addition to the exhibit, there were latte art and espresso drink competitions showcasing baristas from famous coffee shops like 49th St Parallel, Vivace, etc.
The CoffeeFest was a business oriented convention. People asked what business we were in for every booth we stopped by. We made up the coffee businesses we were in. They began to seem real by the end of the show because we have been telling them to so many people. Cherie was in business for coffee plantation and import/export coffee from the Philippines. Pierre and I were starting a coffee shop in Montreal called Maya L’Abeille. The three of us would dream up locations, customers, decor about this little coffee shop. The more we talked to people about our made up coffee shop, the more it felt like it was achievable. I still need to know much more about the coffee business, such as how many pounds of coffee beans are needed for a shop. However, I was surprised to find out that we also already knew a lot about quality espresso, good grinders, roasters, good chocolates, etc.
I think Pierre will most likely open his shop one day showing off his latte art and unique espresso blend. Cherie will most likely be able to market organic Philippino coffee beans around the world like the famous Java beans. As for me? The fire of my childhood dream of opening a book cafe, selling my own pastry along with coffee and tea was stoked alive again. If not now, one day. Watch out for Cafe Maya in your neighborhood.