New Yorkers love their coffee, so what better way to celebrate this great city’s love of caffeine than with a coffee festival?
But this was a festival with a difference, a jam-packed three-day event with more than 6,000 visitors and 85 exhibitors, including equipment from Sanremo, Pentair, Espresso Parts and La Marzocco, plus Starbucks, La Colombe and local coffee roasters Nobletree, Sweetleaf and Toby’s Estate.
Kicking off with a trade day for those who work in the coffee industry, we opened the doors to more than 2,000 people with a tailored program of talks, workshops and seminars.
The Lab program proved incredibly popular, with in-depth talks from several industry leaders including Nick Tolley from Taylor St. Baristas who began the day by speaking on The Scalability of Specialty Coffee.
He was followed by speakers from Toby’s Estate, Sustainable Harvest, Royal Coffee New York, Pacific Foods and Sanremo who were joined by UK barista champion John Gordon to give a demonstration on the Opera.
Upstairs Coffee Masters
was underway as 20 baristas battled against each other for a $5,000 prize. Intense and precise, the competition was MCd by Sprudge editor Jordan Michelman and coffee creative duo DunneFrankowski.
Once the festival wound down, we continued the evening with a Barista Cocktail Party, featuring live music from some of the Coffee Music Project artists and delectable espresso martinis.
On Saturday and Sunday we threw the doors open to the general public who came on a mission to drink as much coffee as they possibly could, while at the same time learning home barista skills, latte art and more.
The Lab program
for the consumer days helped to facilitate this, with classes like Better Brewing at Home (Sarah Leslie from Joe Coffee) and Barista Basics (Anna Gutierrez from Barista 22), plus demos on the Moka Pot and Simpli Press and a very popular panel session on The Challenges of Opening a Coffee Shop in New York.
Coffee Masters remained a huge draw as visitors watched in awe as the contenders battled head-to-head until it all came down to Ryan Fisher from Commonwealth Coffee in Denver and ST Ali’s Ben Morrow who’d flown over from Australia.
After a dramatic final showdown, the audience waited for the judges to deliberate and it was revealed that Ben Morrow had become the first Coffee Master NYC.
Meanwhile, the winning artist from The Coffee Art Project was also announced and Carlyn Beaver was stunned to discover that her incredible piece ‘A Lifetime’ had taken first place.
In total, the festival raised more than $40,000 for Project Waterfall, including a total of $7,390 from the Espresso Martini Bar in conjunction with Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda and 6100 Vodka. The money raised will go to provide clean drinking water to coffee-producing communities.
A huge thank you to all of our sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers and visitors who made the first ever New York Coffee Festival so fantastic.
We look forward to seeing you next year!