It’s safe to say that coffee—the world’s most popular beverage—has its share of fans. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that the popularity of the coffee festival has grown to the point that many cities (New York, London, Tokyo, Istanbul and St. Petersburg to name a few) now host their own distinctive coffee festival. Predictably, many of these events claim to hold the honor of “world’s biggest coffee festival.”
Events in North America
The popular Coffee & Tea Festival takes place annually in Philadelphia and New York City. Patrons can attend seminars, trade coffee wisdom with like-minded caffeine junkies and sample of a wide variety of tastings and coffee-themed products in the trade show hall, which hosts nearly a hundred different exhibitors. In a fun twist, June 2016 saw a variation on the festival theme with the inaugural Coffee & Tea Festival Philly: Iced, which put a frozen twist on the concept—iced coffee, tea- and coffee-infused frozen treats, “chilly” seminars and more.
Coffee Fest began in 1992 and encompasses four different cities—Nashville, Chicago, Anaheim and Portland. Highlights include the Latte Art World Championship, where 64 baristas engage in head-to-head, bracket-style competition in front of three judges; America’s Best Espresso Competition, in which roasters prepare three shots in no more than ten minutes for a panel of judges; and America’s Best Cold Brew Competition, in which competitors choose to create either “traditional still,” or “nitrogen infused” cold brew in hopes of taking home a $2,000 First Prize. Among the many fun and informative seminars is “Cold Brew U,” which covers topics such as bean sourcing and roast selection, accentuating flavor profile and Nitro Coffee.
For boundary-pushing baristas at the international level, there’s the TristEspresso Expo in Triste, Italy, which features workshops on how to prepare the best espresso, cupping sessions, outlooks on green coffee production, and the Espresso Italiano Champion barista contest.
For those who wish to vie for the honor of Best Barista in The World, one should head to Seoul, South Korea, the 2017 home of the preeminent international coffee competition, the World Barista Championships. Each year, individual champions representing more than 50 nations each prepare four espressos, four milk drinks, and four original signature drinks to exacting standards in a 15-minute performance set to music.
The City of Kunming, China hosts this year’s International Conference on Coffee Science, which assesses current technical knowledge on coffee and encourages further coffee research and academic communication for scientists, producers, traders, officials and consumers in the field of coffee science. The event is hosted by the prestigious Association for Science and Information on Coffee (ASIC), which was founded in 1966.