I’m always a bit surprised at people’s disbelief surrounding the existence of coffee festivals. I’m also quite surprised by how many are held in the UK alone (Manchester, Edinburgh….). But yes, Coffee Festival is a thing and there’s one group of folks who host Amsterdam, London, and New York Coffee Festivals.
Amsterdam was my very first experience with a coffee festival, so I went in wide-eyed and not knowing what to expect. I read about past festivals online, I knew the website (http://amsterdamcoffeefestival.com/) inside-out, but I had no expectations for the actual experience. Well, let’s be real, I knew it would be amazing no matter what.
Coffee I learned a valuable lesson: Pace yourself. I tried to mentally prepare myself for this, practicing ways to sip coffee, not feel inclined to finish a whole coffee, discerning when to skip a particular beverage. But once you’re inside the festival amongst the buzz and hype and passion, you lose count so quickly. I had 7 espresso-shots-worth of coffee…in 5 hours. And because caffeine suppresses your appetite, and I was so engrossed in all the happenings around, I totally forgot to eat lunch. Good thing there were some amazing vegetarian options at the mini food truck station. I must mention Black Goat Coffee, a roaster who uses 100% robusta beans (arabica is the unchallenged champion bean).
Chocolate High quality chocolate ran rampant here, from bars of 100% dark to hot chocolate powders. Rawchock‘s raw chocolate bars, which are also offered with exotic fruit flavors mixed in, were especially fun to taste test. And Macao‘s drinking chocolate was so smooth, even in cold milk!
Tea The Dutch Tea Championship took place at ACF, so naturally there was a great variety of tea to try and learn about. Let me just say, if I see kombucha, I will immediately go there, and YaYa had some pretty nice stuff. Aside from the amazing kombucha, though, there were a couple powdered tea beverages showcased, of which Chalo surprised me most. I’m an avid chai drinker and make my own at home; as far as powders go, I opt for David Rio (the David Rio Chai Bar in SF makes me biased), so for me to accept Chalo is something. Do powdered chais have a place in a connoisseur’s home? I think so- they make for a comforting drink on rainy afternoons when you’re not feeling the hot chocolate!
Stay tuned for Part II!