America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition debuted at CoffeeFest Seattle 2012

Although I spend most of an average day immersed in coffee culture and coffeehouses, CoffeeFest Seattle was the first industry event I have ever attended.  I was surrounded by people who speak my language and share my passion.  It was absolutely invigorating!  Or … maybe that energy came from all the espressos and lattes I sampled while navigating through the rows and rows of exhibitors.

The CoffeeFest is held every four months and rotates between Seattle, Chicago and New York City.  This  event featured the first annual America’s Best Coffeehouse Competition, sponsored by DaVinci Gourmet.   According to The Gourmet Retailer, it took 60 days to determine the top coffeehouses in the western U.S. with a “60-day process of elimination by secret shopper evaluation and public vote”.  Eight semifinalist coffeehouses were chosen based on ratings in categories like customer service, drink quality, ambiance, cleanliness, organization and efficiency.

The competition was held in the Sky Bridge of the Seattle Convention Center with a ceiling and walls of crystal clear glass with views of downtown below and blue sky above.  It is worth mentioning here that five of the six days I was there ~ a lovely and inviting city! the Seattle area was sunny 

The area was built out like a true coffeehouse complete with a counter, menu board, sink, espresso machine, cash register and cafe seating.  Each coffeehouse brought a team of three to perform for 30 judges.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t chosen to be one of the judges as I could love them all for one reason or another.  And with so many coffeehouses in the country how do you pick the best?

On Sunday afternoon they announced the winners: 

1st place – Klatch Coffee Inc. from San Dimas, CA

2nd place – Heart Coffee Roasters from Portland, OR

3rd place – Dog River Coffee Company from Hood River, OR

Congratulations to the winners!  With a special thank you to the CoffeeFest for recognizing the detail and creativity that goes into serving a fine cup of coffee.