The Coffee & Tea Expo took place last weekend at 99 Sudbury. The two day event promised to be a celebration of coffee and tea, unfortunately due to poor planning and the limited event space, it was more like a small gathering in someone's basement.
I attended the morning session which started at 11 a.m. on Saturday, which meant I had to be out of 99 Sudbury by 2 p.m. The event was divided into two rooms, the first with a cocktail bar and espresso bar. The second featured vendor booths from the coffee and tea merchants of Ontario. The vendors were few and far between, at times, literally. Empty tables gave the appearance that not enough vendors signed up by the deadline. The vendors were of quality and I did make a purchase, but by noon I had completed the rounds, including a stop at Zuccarini's espresso bar.
The events seemed to have more promise. The Coffee Competition, which saw five local cafes competing for the title of Toronto's Best Cup of Coffee, took place on Saturday. It was judged by Levetto's Shahir Massoud, Dine TO's Stephanie Dickison, and latte artist Barista Brian and it started at 3:30. Being as I had to leave by 2 p.m. it meant I was going to miss out. In fairness when I spoke to one of the organizers they apologized and told me I was welcome to stay for the afternoon session. I would have definitely taken them up on that offer, except there was nothing to fill up the three and a half hours. I decided to cut my losses and leave early.
With a little bit of organization and more vendors participating, The Coffee & Tea Expo has serious potential. Every cup of tea needs time to steep, perhaps The Coffee & Tea Expo just needs to be steeped a little longer.