Royal New York

RNY on Location at Chicago Coffee Fest


A team of our coffee & tea traders made the trip to Chicago last week for Chicago Coffee Fest! Didn’t get to Chicago Coffee Fest? Read highlights of the show from our coffee & tea traders below!


Evan Kluender

Chicago Coffee Fest was a great time! I got the chance to meet some exceptional folks in the industry and got some exposure to facets of specialty coffee I don’t get to see too often. I’ve worked in a lot of fields over the years, but every time I go to an expo like this I’m reminded that there’s really nobody out there like coffee roasters. In my opinion, you’ll never meet a more passionate, hard-working and talented group of people.

I was particularly happy to see how many panels, classes, and booths focused on sustainability and environmentally conscious innovation. From compostable coffee pods to reusable cup programs to straws made out of hay, it seems like the coffee industry is moving in a green direction. I’m also coming home with some really great information on coffee trends which I’m excited to bring to my customers. I feel that my role as a trader is to provide my customer base with the knowledge they need to grow into whatever their goals are. Every time I come home from Coffee Fest, I feel a little more confident in my ability to do just that!


Angelica Cordero

Chicago Coffee Fest exhibited innovation and creative responses to a changing market. One area in particular I saw a lot of innovation around was RTD (ready to drink) and grab & go. Before the pandemic, these categories were increasing in appeal. However, the demand for quick and easy drinks with minimal contact exploded in 2020 and 2021.  As restrictions lift and customers return, the demand for convenience is not going anywhere.  Coffee roasters, cafes, and tea purveyors are introducing canned or bottled options to their lineup. These options all travel well with the customer or a delivery service. 

This RTD sector is growing in tandem with the demand for functional ingredients for health-conscious customers.  Bottled plant-based energy and chai concentrates had a strong presence on the show floor.  Coffee, tea, and botanical concentrates is a great option for customers making their drinks at home. However, it is also ideal for baristas who need an arsenal of flavors to create exciting menus and serve patrons quickly.

The US Cold Brew Championship rewarded the ingenuity of baristas, who each crafted a series of signature drinks that set their cafes and roasteries apart.  Many of the participants’ cold brew drinks featured botanicals, spices, and locally sourced ingredients such as honey and orgeat.  This competition first took place in 2021 and will occur at all four 2022 Coffee Fest cities.  If you plan to attend Coffee Fest in Los Angeles or Seattle, I highly recommend checking out this event to gather inspiration for your business! 


TJ Salvatore

As a first-time attendee at Coffee Fest, it was a perfect introduction into the world of coffee. It exposed me to all aspects of the industry. From cafes and roasters to all the complimentary industries, such as tea, dairy products and even equipment manufacturers!

It was great to meet people with similar interests and the same passion for this industry. I had the pleasure of meeting many customers of Royal NY. I also met other roasters and cafes in classes and on the Coffee Fest floor.

Overall, Chicago Coffee Fest was an exciting experience. This experience portrayed how each side of the coffee industry works together to make it efficient and effective.