Recap: Coffee Fest St. Louis 2014

In Blog, Events, Travel // on June 8th, 2014 // by // No comment

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Last weekend a group of eight of Heine Brothers’ best and brightest piled into a couple of cars and road-tripped up to Coffee Fest St. Louis to take classes, meet coffee folks from all over the world, and compete in the Latte Art World Championship Open. We’d all been looking forward to the trip for weeks, perusing the class offerings, scoping out the vendors, and feverishly working on the perfect latte pour.

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The opening round of the latte art competition got underway bright and early on day one. Jay Haynes (manager of Vint Coffee) poured first. Anyone who has seen him slinging beautiful and delicious lattes behind the Vint bar knows that he is cool as a cucumber.  Meanwhile, we were all biting our nails in the audience! He poured a lovely tulip and winged heart, but the opposing barista took the match.

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Next up was Jay Keywood (manager of HB Shelbyville Rd) who stepped up at a moment’s notice as an alternate. He poured with his characteristic enthusiasm and skill, creating a very nice tulip, but the other barista just had a better pour and he was also eliminated. Both of our Jays described the experience as totally terrifying, but they did us proud! You can see them both in action again at HB Northfield on June 22nd at our company-wide latte art competition!

But going to an event like Coffee Fest isn’t just about competing, picking up coffee swag, and enjoying a weekend away from home—it’s an opportunity to connect with baristas and roasters from around the country, and to learn about what’s on the cutting edge of the coffee industry!  Coffee culture has changed a lot over the past decade, with the rise in popularity of manual brewing options like the Chemex and V60, and an emphasis on quality from seed to cup.

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Heine Brothers’ has been taking these developments to heart; we’ve always sourced high quality organic coffees, and we’ve got a passionate and hardworking bunch of roasters and baristas who are making sure that quality carries through to you in every cup. We took classes that ranged from the very technical (like “Packaging for the Roaster”) to the creative (like “Cooking with Coffee”), and everything in between. Some of the biggest coffee nerds in the company attended Coffee Fest, and they are bringing the enthusiasm and knowledge gained back here to Louisville. I know I saw at least one manager heading home with an armful of V60 brewers, and we all came away with ideas that we can’t wait to try out!

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That’s not to say that we didn’t get out and have some fun in St. Louis, though. Most of us got together and went to a Cardinals baseball game on Friday night. Sadly (according to some of us), they lost. We also got to meet up with some of our friends from Sunergos and some of the Coffee Fest staff for a Louisville party at a local restaurant on Saturday night, where we enjoyed some great drinks and conversation. We are lucky to have such a vibrant coffee community here, and it was great to hang out with them. We also did a fair amount of coffee tourism, checking out coffee shops and roasters both in the exhibits hall and around the city. I brought back a lot of coffee for our Head Roaster, Alec, to sample!

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