Wow. Ok. Let me get these words out before I come down from the caffeine cloud I am in.
This year’s New York Coffee Fest (#newyorkcoffeefestival) was three days of coffee overload. In addition to NYC’s best coffee roasters, the festival showcased bakeries, tea brewers, the Coffee Art Project, the Coffee Music Project, a Sensory Coffee experience, the Coffee Masters competition, Latte Art experts, coffee equipment manufacturers, and lectures from all of those in the know.
I started through the convention space as many did, trying as many coffees and cold brews as I could grab. Nobletree, Coffee of Grace, Irving Farm, Toby’s Estate, Joe, and many other staples of NY coffee were represented giving out free lattes, cold brews, and pour-overs. Despite the diversity of quality roasters, my bias towards Birch coffee’s impossibly smooth cold brew remains unchanged.
Crowds gathered in different locations to witness competitions between the pros. Coffee source experts competed to identify bean origins based on the coffee’s taste or smell. Latte artists sparred constantly to appease their judges (picked from the crowd). And I competed in… a random drawing for a La Marzocco espresso machine! (results pending)
One reoccurring feature of the event was the use of the coffee cherry, cascara. Devoción served a Sparkling Cascara on tap, which looked like iced coffee, but tasted light and sweet. Caskai had bottles of their refreshing cascara soda, which tasted like a cross between iced tea and club soda. Southdown Coffee had hot coffees brewed with either half or whole cascara included, giving them a hint of natural sweetness.
Mr. Black Cold Brew Liquor was used for several cocktail options such as the Hard Iced Coffee made with Mr. Black, Tiki Bitters, and Coconut/Almond Milk blend.
Between coffees there was the opportunity to snack on rows upon rows of macaroons, muffins, pastries, and even a wall of doughnuts. Less of a caffeine break was Flat Brew, an edible spreadable espresso that can go on bagels (or whatever you want). One of our favorite snacks came in the form of a Starbucks Cold Brew with Fennel Syrup, Honey Foam, and a cheese garnish.
Have you tried the “Tim Tam Challenge?” It involves using a Tim Tam (an Australian wafer biscuit) as a straw to drink hot chocolate or coffee, but before it melts too much, you “Slam” (eat) the whole chocolatey mess. I’ve included a “during” photo here, and intentionally neglected to include an “after” photo. Give it a try!
We discovered one of our weekend’s favorite beverages on Sunday morning. Upruit had three varieties of fruit infused sparkling cold brew. Their Meyer Lemonade felt hydrating even with the kick of caffeine, to which we proclaimed “This is the perfect hangover cure!”
All event profits were donated to Project Waterfall of NY-based charity: water.
If you missed it this year, be sure to mark the calendar for next year. This caffeine buzz should get me through the winter. For more of my photos, click here. For everyone else’s, check out #NewYorkCoffeeFestival on Instagram.