Should you ever have the opportunity to attend a Coffee Festival – anytime, anywhere – jump! Forget about the consistently endless arguments as to the benefits – or not – of caffeine. There is no rationale to coffee – it’s as basic as washing your face and brushing your teeth. The bright scent of brewing/perking coffee starts our day. The question – “Coffee?” Followed by “how do you take it?” creates a warmth, a comfort zone – and our individual preferences DEFINE us. Ever notice how an intimacy is immediately established once you recall someone’s coffee choices? Such a telltale sign of friendship is this important information – an entrance into our lives, a signal of a caring person now in your orbit. Sounds like a Hallmark card – when you care enough to remember how they take their coffee. ☺
Now regarding that “cuppa Joe.” We have reached a new level of global sophistication with coffee. Not so long ago, coffee was an American phenomenon, we practically invented the “coffee break.” Today it’s more like “tasso Giovanni” – so embraced by the world. And a delicious coffee festival, such as The New York Coffee Festival which I just experienced this past weekend at the landmark 69th Regiment’s Lexington Avenue Armory, will solidify the importance of coffee as daily ritual. Or am I preaching to the converted? I grew up hearing “did you have your coffee yet?” You too?
Now that coffee has been globally situated, “barista” is a growing vocation, a welcome addition in our vernacular, and coffees such as espresso, macchiato, lattes and cappuccino have joined our daily coffee choices. So naturally, with such an expanding industry, everyone is now looking for the next “big thing” in the coffee universe. And that is why a coffee festival is not only fun but essential! Nothing worse then walking into Starbucks and being even MORE intimidated by their selections!
An inordinate variety of products augment the coffee market. Be it an organic chai addition to enhance the flavor of coffee, or stand on its own (‘Prana Chai’ and ‘Dona Chai’ from Brooklyn were especially noteworthy); a new type of milk blend (‘Know Brainer’ which actually burns fat – LOVE IT or ‘Milkadamia’ – a flavorful macadamia based nut creamer from Australia); another method of brewing (‘illy’ and ‘De’Longhi’- always perfecting their brewers); an innovative “to go” cup (‘the lttl tumbler’ – splash proof aluminum!) or a non –alcoholic additive (I sampled ‘183’ – a syrup using the purest water from the Swiss Alps) – it was all available at the festival for sampling and/or purchase.
As far as new roasts, I was totally captivated by a delightful bean from Rwanda – ‘Coffee of Grace’ – a lovely, fresh roast. I couldn’t help but admire their worthy aim to employ only women of Rwanda with rewarding, self-esteem enhancing jobs. For more information, you can reach them at 877-211-4406.
And so “The NYC Coffee Festival” covered all things new and exciting in our expanding caffeine universe….I mean, Wow! It featured an ‘Espresso Martini Bar’ – so original – as well as ‘Live Lattes’ – my personal favorite “cuppa” – really enjoyed all the new spins to my mid-day latte break. Now a lightbulb went off with the obvious, a true no brainer – “TeaCoffee.” Why didn’t I think of this? Like why not? From “Nagi” a Kyoto, Japan based company, it’s organic and unique in flavor. So symbolic as now East meets West, and our coffee/tea universe is complete!
“The New York Coffee Festival” was exactly that- a celebration and champion of an ever growing commodity. There was even a display of oil paintings and the subject matter – you guessed it! – were portraits of coffee drinkers. For the true devotee, there is an essential publication –The New York Coffee Guide – which was available at the festival. So thorough, surely this is the definitive guide to all NYC coffee venues – in EVERY borough. An invaluable resource for the NYC coffee drinker.
The New York Coffee Festival is a tailor made event for the city that never sleeps! Try and catch it the next time around, an informing as well as entertaining event. This was their 2nd NYC Festival, I sure hope it becomes an annual tradition!
And do share below…how do you take YOUR coffee?
By: Joanne Theodorou
Photos By: Lassara Photography