Never underestimate the power of Instagram. Even though I don’t have many Instagram followers, somehow The New York Coffee Festival found me and started following me. So, as a coffee lover, it was a no brainer that I’d follow them back. That turned into a gig shooting the 1st Annual New York Coffee Festival at the 69th Regiment Armory.
The event was the brainchild of Allegra Events Jeffrey Young. The New York version of the festival was preceded by events in London and Amsterdam. I’m so glad the festival found its way to New York City. There were throngs of people getting caffeinated all weekend, from the 25th – 27th of September. People will be buzzing about this event for weeks to come.
One of the events, which took place over all three days of the event was a barista Coffee Masters contest in which baristas from all over the world competed in several categories including coffee making, brewing, grinding, blending, tasting, and even a signature coffee cocktail. All in all, the last two contestants standing were on the Coffee Master stage for a total of four hours over the three days of the festival. Aussie Rob Morrow took home the prize of $5,000 in the competition. Morrow has been working, off and on, for the past four years at St. Ali in Melbourne. If you’re in Portland toward the end of October, you may find Rob competing again at the Coffee Fest in Portland, Oregon.
Besides the Coffee Masters competition, there was enough coffee, food, and entertainment to keep all of the caffeinated people happy for hours. Irving Farm and Bluestone Lane Coffee held another barista competition at the Bluestone Lane Coffee booth. It was a latte art throw down and Rob Morrow came out the victor in that competition also. Rob had a great weekend.
Coffee wasn’t the only type of treat at the New York Coffee Festival. There was great food and cocktails as well. The most popular booth by far was Devoción Coffee, which served some really great cold-brew coffee in cute little brown bottles. I think the prize for having the most fun of any of the food vendors had to go to Joe & the Juice. Those guys must have been drinking lots of energy shakes and plenty of coffee. They were having lots of fun serving the crowd of coffee enthusiasts. Speaking of eating and drinking, there was a space in the middle of the armory with seating for people to sit, check their social media, drink, eat, and–for one person–take a nap on the floor. Hands-on participation made the festival even more fun. People were able to get their barista on and try their hand at making espresso and cupping their own latte art, with the help of an experienced barista.
Another highlight of the event was an award for best coffee art. The award went to Carlyn Beaver for her portait in acrylic titled A Lifetime. Her dad, pictured with her below, was so excited when her name was announced that he let out a big, loud squeal and shouted, “Woo-hoo! That’s my baby”. A proud papa, indeed.
The first New York Coffee Festival is now a memory, but the Chrysler building stands tall and waits for the baristas to hit the city again. The organizers plan on making this an annual event. It’s sure to be even a bigger success than the first one was.