New York Coffee Festival

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“Coffee is a language in itself,” said Jackie Chan, the legendary Chinese martial artist and actor. The annual New York Coffee Festival provided an exceptional experience to all coffee lovers at the Metropolitan Pavilion from Oct. 12-14. Now in its fourth year of celebrating New York coffee culture, the event featured over 100 innovative exhibitors, including Alpha Dominche, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Devoción, Coffee of Grace, Five Elephant, Gotham Coffee Roasters, Joe Coffee Company and many more.

It is noteworthy that 100 percent of profits from the New York Coffee Festival will go to Project Waterfall, which provides life-changing water products to seven coffee-growing countries: Nicaragua, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Vietnam. Since 2011, Project Waterfall has helped bring clean drinking water to more than 37,000 people. At the Project Waterfall stand, visitors participated in the “Water Challenge” and tested who could hold a bucket full of water the longest. The winner walked away with a prize chock-full of goodies. Project Waterfall, with an initiative of bringing clean drinking water to people, sold Ecoffee Cups, for which 7.5 percent of all ongoing revenue will be donated to coffee-producing communities in need.

Jeffrey Young, the festival’s founder and CEO of Allegra Group, said in an interview with The Ticker that “coffee is a media platform for millions and millions,” and that he hoped to help the coffee industry “get more connectivity.” True to his word, dozens of coffee aficionados participated in the event with their innovative products. One of the most prominent examples was Nobletree Coffee — a coffee company based in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, with one roastery there, two farms in the Sul de Minas region of Brazil and cafés in the New York area. Nobletree presented “Spicy Mocha,” composed of antiquado espresso, milk and “Whimsy and Spice” spiced chile hot chocolate mix, the latter a spice recipe created by the coffee company’s baristas. Another creative product came from Slayer Espresso, which sponsored Coffee Masters — a barista competition at the event. The company also introduced a new espresso machine, the Steam LP. Sarah Dooley, director of Slayer’s customer success, said, “We are honored and excited to partner with Coffee Masters. It has been a long-time goal of ours to bring a very approachable working platform that truly is the barista’s machine.”

The New York Coffee Festival is the home of the Coffee Masters. Sponsored by Slayer Espresso, Battenkill Valley, Silk Barista Collection, Mahlkonig and Hario, the New York barista competition took place with 16 contenders participating for a $5,000 prize, the prestigious title of Coffee Master, a tour of the Slayer factory and lunch with founder Jason Prefontaine. Remy Molina, representing Café Barakah, was declared the ultimate winner. The competitors were judged based on cupping, brewing, latte art, fulfilling orders, signature drink, espresso blend and origin.

Coffee jewelry, made by jewelry maker Anna Steinerová, offered a visual element of the coffee trade. Steinerová has introduced handmade, coffee-themed accessories through her company, Kaawa. Situated in the Czech Republic, Kaawa has been specializing in coffee jewelry since 2013. Steinerová was also selling handmade postcards that had the message, “Each postcard purchase contributes to the activities of Club Aphasia,” referring to Klub afasie, a social service organization in the Czech Republic.

In addition, a high-profile, coffee-themed exhibition featured the artwork of artists specializing in various forms of art, including paintings, drawings, photography, film, design, sculpture and conceptual art. Artists of all levels could enter one piece of artwork that related to coffee. The drawing “Sunday Morning” by Julia Getsos depicted the scene of people spending a day at the coffee shop.

“The scene, depicted here in the drawing, was both inspiring and welcoming,” Getsos wrote in her description of the painting. “Inspiring for the amount of connection. Imagination and growth that can be triggered by a cup of coffee.”

The figurative painting “Cafe Life” by Gwen Meyerson depicted a captivating young woman who is “sipping an espresso and deep in her own thoughts.” Meyerson stated in a caption that the woman in the drawing is “the main subject of my ‘slice of life’ cafe scene.” A percentage from the sale of each artwork will be donated to Project Waterfall. Not only is the art exhibition conducive to clean drinking water and sanitation to communities, but it also catches the eyes of coffee enthusiasts.

Situated right next to the music stage, a coffee cocktail bar treated people with signature drinks, such as Mr Black Nitro Espresso Martini, Mr Black & Tonic and Spiked Ice Coffee. Sipping the drinks, visitors were able to listen to unsigned New York City musical acts. Musicians included finalists from the Coffee Music Project, a music competition for emerging artists.

Dozens of people joined the New York Coffee Festival for their love of coffee. The impact of coffee and coffee shops has been constantly growing as more and more people are developing an affection for the joy that coffee brews. The experience at the New York Coffee Festival can be priceless to every coffee lover.

Editor's note: The print edition of this article erroneously identified Klub aphasie's location as being in New York City.