For New Yorkers who can’t get out of bed without a cup of coffee, who know the difference between a macchiato and a cappuccino, and who scoff at the sight of a Keurig, the best weekend of the year comes this fall.
Baristas from 75 coffee vendors will pour hot brews for caffeine-deprived New Yorkers at the fourth annual New York Coffee Festival, planned for Oct. 12 to 14 at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W. 18th St.). The festival is open to coffee industry members on Friday, Oct. 12, and to the public on Saturday and Sunday. For $29 ($40 if you purchase your ticket on-site), you’ll access unlimited coffee tasting, live music, latte art workshops and the Coffee Masters barista competition.
“This is an opportunity to bring the whole ecosystem of coffee to life in a live space to create an experiential event where you can explore the tremendous and exciting world of coffee,” said Jeffrey Young, the festival’s founder, who drinks between three and five cups of coffee each day.
Young launched his first coffee festival eight years ago in London, where specialty coffee was a new trend in a predominantly tea-drinking nation, “contrasted to a city like New York where coffee, coffee, coffee has always been the drink,” he said.
But New Yorkers aren’t satisfied with street vendor coffee in Greek “Anthora” cups anymore.
“There has been a revolution away from standard drip coffee towards a much more diverse and high-quality range of drinks,” Young said. “Not only the espresso-based drinks like your lattes and your cappuccinos, but also the cold brew coffee and nitro cold brew.”
Young’s favorite is the flat white — “velvet texture, microfoaming of the milk, really, really fine bubbles like a champagne.”
Visitors to the festival will taste different styles of coffee made from beans sourced all over the world, as well as those brewed by local roasters like Toby’s Estate Coffee, Irving Farm Coffee Roasters and Joe Coffee.
Young especially hopes to educate coffee drinkers on the origins of their beans. Admission comes with access to the Lab, an educational space with coffee-making demonstrations and workshops.
“If you’re a coffee aficionado wanting to explore, you can join the Lab and sit down and spend a couple of hours learning about where coffee comes from, where it’s made, how it’s sourced — just a complete discovery of coffee,” Young said.
Coffee fans also can watch baristas from all over the world duke it out for the title of Coffee Master, based on skills like cupping, brewing and latte art.
More than 12,000 people attended the festival last year. This year, Young hopes to top 15,000. All proceeds from the festival will be donated to Project Waterfall and charity:water to support clean water in coffee-growing regions.
Come thirsty and be prepared to caffeinate.