Blog: New York Coffee Festival 2015
Whether you like it iced and cold or piping hot with frothed milk, half-caf, decaf or with double shots- coffee is amongst the most pervasive parts of our everyday lives in New York City, be it from a big name brand or from our local bodega. The weekend that was brought us 2015’s New York Coffee Festival emanating from the massive 69th Regiment Armory right in Kips Bay. The midtown location was entirely suitable for an event of this caliber, where three full days would barely be sufficient to house the thousands of attendees and the dozens of coffee-makers and food purveyors that would encompass the weekend- some seventy different exhibitors taking up the Armory’s main space and the basement level laboratory.
The highlight of Coffee Week NYC, The New York Coffee Festival would be an experience of the senses with delicious coffee being the drawing card for the food, art and music that would follow, allowing guests to enjoy an interactive experience with some of the genre’s most widely respected and popular bean grinders. Marveling at the sizable espresso machines in their shining silver stature, each serving station represented a brand that resonated with coffee drinkers in our area. With our arms outstretched with small paper cups, we immediately indulged in delicious samples from smaller but familiar niche makers like Irving Farm, Toby’s Estate and Bluestone Lane, before descending upon coffee’s most recognizable green brand.
The day’s most grandiose display belonged to Starbucks Reserve, meshing one part science experiment with one part bean brew. One side of their elongated booth worked on deliciously refreshing drinks like an “Iced Sparkling Espresso with Mint” and a “Shakerato Bianco” while two beakers at the other side of the display concocted some piping hot “Espresso Macchiato” drinks for patient onlookers. Though Starbucks was definitively the weekend’s most recognizable brand, there were plenty of standouts to steal some of the spotlight. Brooklyn Cold Brew utilized actual pumpkin in its “Pumpkin Cold Brew Coffee” and it showed- deliciously creamy and rich, without being overly sweet as it poured from growler to cup to our delight. Growing espresso chain Fika was nearby, doling out helpings of their house made dark chocolate and selling v-neck t-shirts to a surprisingly excitable crowd. Bags of their different brews and jars of beans decorated their constantly busy table as guests grabbed different bites of cocoa and chocolate.
In true coffee-shop fashion, live acoustic music complemented the comfortable setting and a makeshift ‘Central Perk’ would perch itself right in the center of the action. As some folks sat comfortably on couches and chairs slowly sipping on the likes of La Colombe’s incredible “Craft Latte”- served from the coffee equivalent of a draught beer keg- the day’s lengthiest line belonged to Williamsburg’s Devocion, handing out take-home sized mini jugs of their excellent Columbian coffee for attendees to save as keepsakes- at least, until finishing their contents. Fortunately there was also some booze involved for the post brunch crowd. VDKA 6100 would host an Espresso Martini Bar where iced and frothy liquor drinks would be carefully mixed and poured to a waiting line of guests. Our favorite taste of the day though belonged to Magnum Cream Liqueur though, a tiny, sweet explosion of ultimate deliciousness served in a steel thermos. Retailing under $30, the sip-sized dessert drink will make an absolutely ideal holiday gift for any drinker on our holiday list. The Roost Bar was stocked with a half dozen cans of beer from “Dale’s Pale Ale” to Bell’s “Two Hearted Ale” along with salty chips and pastries to pacify some hungry attendees- but in our heart of hearts, the weekend was all about the coffee.
Overall some 10,000 visitors would stop in at The New York Coffee Festival as the weekend progressed. Whether enjoying some live music and relaxing, taking in a live exhibition at The Lab from Joe’s Coffee, Counter Culture, Portland Roasting, Taylor St. Baristas or Stumptown Coffee Roasters, or exploring some of the art installations on hand to keep your eyes as occupied as your taste buds, 2015’s Festival offered a plethora of things to do for novice and expert coffee drinkers. And while tasting each of the respective blends was the best part of the day for us, smelling the scintillating coffee stench affixed to our clothes the next morning seemed equally as satisfying.
- Jane Van Arsdale