World of Coffee Berlin, 2019: Ben Palmer tells all.
We only sent two representatives to the World of Coffee in Berlin this year, and who better than the charming and chivalrous Ben Palmer and Heiko Heiden to take on the largest global event in the European coffee calendar? This year was the first time we have been based in the Roasters Village. The atmosphere was electric, and peopled by Roasters, Exporters, and Importers alike. Mercanta’s team may have been small, but they represented LARGE over the course of three very busy days.
Despite the hectic hustle and bustle, the event is a fantastic platform where importers can put a face to the phone calls and emails, whether it’s a client or a producer partner. For roasters, it’s the ultimate educational platform, where they can converse in person with the farmers, adding a layer of authenticity and understanding to the long journey that their coffee takes to arrive at their door. Almost all aspects of the supply chain were present; including our nominated warehouse in the UK: Vollers! The Berlin event was particularly well-attended by a wide range of industry sector professionals, evidence that the World of Coffee show is no longer just an ‘EU’ show but is truly becoming more international in character.
Berlin’s heavyweights were obvious attendees, with 19 Grams & Ikawa hosting a boozy Sommer Garten party to get everyone fired up on a Friday eve. But it was particularly great to see attendees from the wider Eastern European region, with the majority of those who visited the stand hailing from Greece, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Romania, and Poland. Although the specialty industry within these regions is well-established, such attendance was clear evidence that a consciousness surrounding specialty coffee is very much on the up. Not only is it growing, but some in the region are leading the charge in product development, with our friends from Hard Beans launching the HARDTANK, an innovative Nitro Cold Brew technology that can produce Nitro Cold Brew in 1hr 30 mins!
Return on investment for events like this is always part of the re-cap discussion. Shows require a great deal of financial outlay (even if exhibiting in a pared-down way), not to mention the cost of labour and reduced productivity to staff a show. Sometimes it is a hard proposition. But every year, the World of Coffee Show gets better, and as a community building event, its value is priceless.
All in all, attending the show was of great value, as it always is. We are already looking forward to WARSAW in 2020!