I paid a visit to Coffee Fest NY yesterday and took a few pictures to share (today is the last day of the show, so if you want to visit you have a few hours left, or pre-register for next year). Trade shows are rather unglamorous, full of syrup manufacturers, smoothie products, and other goods & services targeted to all kinds of coffee related businesses, rather than consumers. But it can be interesting if you’re a hardcore coffee geek with a lot of patience. Below are a few highlights from my visit.
The majority of booths at a trade show are like this — free samples of Guittard chocolate? Don’t mind if I do.
The folks at PTs Coffee (below) were really nice. Visiting from Kansas, they had some great coffee available to sample. I really enjoyed the Colombia Villa Loyola, a Caturra Peaberry prepared on the Chemex. It was the best that I tried at the show and I’ll be looking out for more of their coffee here in New York – you can try some at Culture Espresso (article coming soon).
I was really looking forward to checking out the espresso machine built by the guys at ZPM Espresso. If you haven’t heard, they’re the ones who came up with a new design and crowd-funded its development on Kick Starter, raising far more than their initial goal (currently they’re at $370,000). With PID temperature control, the potential for after-market open-source software customization, and a focus on producing a machine for geeks at an affordable price, this is definitely something to keep an eye on. You can still pre-order machines, so check out Kick Starter or contact them directly.
Unfortunately their final prototype was not fully functional at the show, so I tried a shot on the original prototype. It was a solid shot, and according to Steve Rheinhart, who pulled more than a few, the machine was pretty consistent. I’ll be looking forward to reading reviews of the final product and might just purchase one myself. Wish Gleb and Igor all the best with their rapidly growing company.
I’d never heard of Birch Coffee, but apparently they’ve been roasting in NY for two years. They had a Kenya that tasted like a ripe tomato, and a pleasant espresso. I’ll have to visit their retail location sometime to try more.
Dallis Bros. is one of the oldest roasters in New York, with nearly a century of history. They also sponsor competitions like the Northeast Regional Barista Championship (NERBC). I enjoyed one of their coffees from the Dominican Republic and look forward to learning more about them.
Kuma Coffee at Visions Espresso
Overall it was an interesting mix of experiences – some nice coffee, some not so nice, and some weird, as every coffee trade show I’ve gone to has been. The $30 admission price ($20 if you pre-registered) is a bit steep, but you could get discounted subscriptions to Roast and Barista magazine, partially offsetting the expense. I had been meaning to subscribe to Roast and took the opportunity to do that. The best part about it is meeting people behind the businesses, and having an opportunity to taste samples of coffee and other products from a variety of companies. It’s perhaps most useful for indie cafes and other businesses looking to improve their coffee service, but if you’re a super geek you might have fun too.