Something tasty will again percolate in Manhattan this fall at the New York Coffee Festival.
The caffeine celebration is back for its seventh year between Oct. 6-8 at the Metropolitan Plaza, offering attendees a taste from more than 100 different local, specialty coffee and tea brands, informational lab sessions, the Coffee Masters NYC barista competition, and live latte art demonstrations, music, art, and food.
The festival welcomes casual coffee drinkers to die-hard caffeine addicts, to entrepreneurs who want to start their own coffee shops. This year’s festival will also bring back the Coffee Masters competition — a barista tournament pitting 12 baristas and their disciplines against one another and judged by a panel of industry experts. The grand prize reward this year is once again $5,000.
One new feature that attendees can participate in is the “Cocktail Masterclass” where people can learn the art of mixology from world-class mixologists and coffee master classes.
Jeffrey Young, founder of the New York Coffee Festival, told amNewYork Metro that the New York Coffee Festival reflects its environment by bringing “something for everyone.”
“There’s something for everyone everywhere,” Young said. “This whole vibrant scene is what we’ve tried to catch up in our New York Coffee Festival.”
The festival will aim for inclusivity by roping in an assortment of local mainstream and specialty coffee brands, including Blank Street, Bluestone Lane, Coffee Project New York, Sail Away Coffee Co., Two Hands, and Variety Cafe.
“There’s a lot of great coffee in the city, and there’s lots to choose from,” Young said. “Ultimately, it’s one enormous coffee party in one, but it’s also a place where people can come and see the best, learn from the best, and be inspired from the best.”
Young, who has worked in the coffee industry, including researching about it, for 26 years, said that he predicted the coffee industry’s boom nearly 30 years ago.
This led to the “big idea” in the late 2000s to launch events that would lead to the coffee festival, which first launched in London and hosted more than 7,000 visitors and over 100 exhibitors. Now, the London Coffee Festival welcomes around 30,000 people.
“It became quite an extraordinary event,” Young said. “It’s one of the biggest and certainly the most high-profile coffee events in the world.”
Specialty and single-origin coffee, latte art, and non-dairy alternatives have especially been on the rise in the last decade. Starbucks has also been “doing some good things with their reserve coffee program,” said Young.
“The craft and science of coffee united to deliver a much more consistent, better cup of coffee across more outlets,” Young added.
For those entering the New York City coffee market, Young said that “having a very clear vision of who you are and what you represent” is very important. He also pointed to “hiring the right people” who can embrace genuine hospitality, practicality, and deliver coffee within a timeframe.
“I think, at the heart of it, this whole coffee industry is highly reliant on very hard-working baristas and front-of-house staff who are there daily making coffee for the locals all over New York City,” Young said. “They have to deal with the general public on a daily basis.”
The coffee festival has expanded to even more places since its launch 11 years ago, including Paris, Amsterdam, São Paulo, and Cape Town.
This year’s New York Coffee Festival will be promoting sustainability as a core theme. There is a “real urgent need for us as a human race to be kinder to our planet,” Young said.
All of this year’s proceeds are donated to New York City-based nonprofit Charity:Water, which works to provide drinking water to people in developing nations across Africa, Central America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. So far, the coffee festivals have been able to raise around $290,000 to Charity:Water. This year’s goal is to raise more than $50,000.
“It’s an extraordinary industry and there’s so much passion,” Young said. “They’re passionate to to stand there every day pouring hundreds of coffees and delivering a great experience with a smile. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of new friendships made, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Details at a Glance:
What: New York Coffee Festival
When: Friday, Oct. 6 to Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011