What to consider when participating in a coffee expo

Nuvin Sithanen
September 28, 2022
Factors to consider when participating in a coffee expo

For all players across the specialty sector, participating in a coffee expo is an ideal opportunity to connect with consumers and competitors. 

Usually hosted over a few days, coffee expos are annual events where attendees have the chance to interact with local and international coffee experts and equipment suppliers. For roasters who choose to take part in these events, there are ample opportunities to expand business. 

For instance, roasters could choose to increase brand awareness and attract new customers by offering samples of roast coffee. 

Alternatively, they could use it as an opportunity to learn from other coffee professionals and take home any advice that could improve business operations. 

Regardless, as an expo participant, roasters will need to have all equipment and coffee offerings prepared ahead of time. More so, they will have to take a number of factors into consideration to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Read on to find out what roasters should consider when participating in a coffee expo.

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An image of a barista of coffee roaster pouring coffee at a coffee expo in an article on what roasters should consider when participating in a coffee expo

Why should roasters participate in coffee expos?

Coffee expos provide a platform on which roasters can network, collaborate, and showcase their talents. 

These events can help foster conversations around trends and issues within the industry, while also opening up opportunities to learn more about what matters to consumers. 

That said, participating in an expo can be a costly endeavour. For example, roasters need to factor in transportation costs for equipment and staff, as well as additional production or merchandising expenses. 

Some may wonder why roasters choose to participate in such events when there are so many costs involved. 

For both roasters and coffee shop owners, a coffee expo is an opportunity to make new connections and strengthen existing ones. 

Additionally, it allows them to interact directly with others within the coffee sector. Knowing what the competition is doing can be a motivator to adapt current business practices to maintain a competitive advantage. 

Interacting with other players in the industry as well as consumers is an effective way to gather product and service feedback. 

Understanding what customers love, or hate, about a brand can be incredibly powerful. It arms roasters with constructive feedback that may help improve business operations and, in turn, sales. 

Instead of learning through trial and error, roasters will know exactly what a customer expects from the brand. This helps roasters save money and time – both essential resources for any business. 

An image of steeped coffee bags in sustainable coffee packaging in an article on what roasters should consider when participating in a coffee expo

Factors to consider when participating in a coffee expo

Before committing to exhibiting at a coffee expo, there are several factors roasters must consider. 

Arriving unprepared, or being unable to determine the level of work involved, could be detrimental to brand recognition and repeat sales.

For example, attendees may be unwilling to stand in line to wait while their coffee is brewed, while the stall next door has coffee ready to go. 

Or, they may resent having to pay full price for a coffee sample if it only fills half a cup. 

Having a clear idea of what is expected can help roasters ensure their stall is run in a professional and efficient manner. 

Effective branding

Roasters must remember they will exhibit alongside several other businesses, who are likely to be competitors. 

If the goal behind attending the expo is to increase brand recognition and gain customers, a significant impression must be made.  

For both roasters and coffee shop owners, the stall at the expo will become a home-base for the duration of the event. Therefore, it should look professional and have an effective workflow, as staff will be brewing and serving at an accelerated pace.

Additionally, all signage should accurately reflect the brand’s identity in terms of colour consistency, theme, and design. 

The same goes for any merchandise that will be on sale, such as coffee bags and branded coffee cups.

Having a selection of custom-printed or branded takeaway coffee cups is one of the most effective ways to increase brand recognition at an event. 

In doing so, roasters are essentially advertising their business for free, as consumers will carry the brand’s logo around the event for the day.  

An image of sustainable coffee stirrers made from bamboo and black compostable coffee cup lids in an article on what roasters should consider when participating in a coffee expo

The amount of foot traffic

One of the most crucial pieces of data a roaster can have is an estimated number of attendees for the expo. 

Roasters must be aware of this as it can help determine operational logistics and inventory management, and ensure they are able to cater to everyone.

For a coffee expo, over catering is better than running out of coffee offerings. Having an empty booth may leave a bad impression on potential customers.

Foot traffic will also be an effective indicator for how many staff members are needed at the booth. 

Keeping the energy high and consistent throughout the event is essential, as roasters should aim to give every customer the same experience. 

Having a strong head roaster or barista on hand will help ensure every batch is freshly brewed. More so, they will be able to answer questions consumers may have about the offerings available.

Foot traffic will also determine who much coffee must be roasted for the event. This is particularly important for toasters and coffee shops who plan to offer sipping samples. 

The ability to plan in advance and determine a roasting schedule will ensure attendees get a taste of the product while it is at its best.  

Equipment and resources

Roasters and coffee shop owners who choose to participate in an expo must determine whether the organisers are sponsoring equipment, or whether they need their own. 

If sponsored equipment is unavailable, roasters must ensure they have the right infrastructure to brew coffee effectively and showcase it to attendees. 

It is advisable for roasters to visit the expo location ahead of time to determine where their stall will be set up in relation to water and electricity sources. 

For instance, if the quality of the water is not suitable for brewing coffee, roasters may have to bring water filtration kits along. 

Additionally, if many stalls are using one source of electricity, roasters may want to reconsider their brewing methods for the expo. 

Determining aspects such as these can help roasters ensure the coffee is brewed quickly and correctly, without making a mess or making customers wait. 

An image of custom-printed takeaway coffee cups on display at a coffee expo in an article on what roasters should consider when participating in a coffee expo

Roasters will also have to take organic and packaging waste into account. They should ensure a recycling bin is nearby so customers can recycle their used takeaway coffee cups

MTPak Coffee can provide roasters and coffee shop owners with sustainable coffee bags and takeaway cups specifically designed for coffee expos. 

Our custom-printed coffee bags are made using recyclable materials, such as kraft or rice paper with a LDPE or PLA lining

We give our clients complete control over the design process by allowing them to build their own coffee bags before we finish the order using our innovative digital printing technology.

Our sustainable and recyclable cups are strong, waterproof, lightweight, and 100% compostable. There are three different sizes available: 8oz, 12oz, and 16oz.

We also offer a range of low minimum order quantity (MOQ) options. This means you can order as few as 500 fully customised units in just five working days.

For more information on sustainable, custom-printed coffee bags and takeaway cups, contact our team

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