When Kevin Wiesehan opened Breve Coffee, the first espresso bar in downtown St. Louis, in 1995, he was ahead of the coffee curve about to sweep the nation.
“People didn't know what a latte or mocha was five or seven years before a Starbucks came. I literally could not give them away and we had to explain what it was.”
But he slowly and aromatically built his business. These days he supplies restaurants, hotels, and other companies with his Breve coffee.
On Friday, he was one of many vendors, serving up ventes, grandes, and lattes in America’s Center for Coffee Fest.
Erika Lowery, a Coffee Fest spokesperson, said, “So from eight to noon you can attend any class on how to write a schedule to how to create signature drinks or how to roast coffee. Then the afternoon you get to walk the show floor.”
There's been a jolt in the cup of joe industry and this weekend more than 3000 thirsty professionals are in town for the trade show. And this growing craft industry is seeing an increase in sales nationwide.
Wiesehan said, “We small batch roasts in 25 pounds like a specialty pastry chef. You know we're doing it in little batches from different countries from around the equator.”
Sure it starts out innocuous enough, you might be in your late 30's and you try coffee for the first time and then you're hooked. But there is competition brewing on the hot and cold coffee front.
“It’s a great alternative to coffee again hot or iced. So we're seeing probably more than a third of our vendors on the floor have something to do with brewed tea, tea importers, or chai tea,” explained Lowery.
So beverages will be big business seeing as how the world has gone nuts for beans.
Website: Coffee Fest Trade Show