If you know anything about New Orleans, then you know the city is known for its festivals. Hosting 125+ festivals each year, New Orleans has a festival for just about everything – Jazz Fest, Essence Fest, French Quarter Fest, Po-Boy Fest, Greek Fest, Fried Chicken Fest…the list goes on. And New Orleans festivals are pretty epic.
The NOLA Coffee Festival® was created to showcase the unique heritage the New Orleans coffee industry and honor the city’s community of talented professionals – from farmers and roasters to store owners and baristas.
Hosted at the spectacular Ernest Morial Convention Center, the NOLA Coffee Festival® had an admission price of $15 and took place over two days. There’s also a V.I.P option for $30.
With classes, contests, and all the coffee you could possibly consume, the NOLA Coffee Festival® is well worth your time (and your $15) even if you’re only remotely interested in coffee.
Here’s a peek inside the NOLA Coffee Festival®
Day 1: Coffee Trade and Industry Professionals Day:
The first day of the NOLA Coffee Festival® was Coffee Trade and Industry Professionals Day. Well over 50 exhibitors from across the world gathered to share the latest in new products, equipment and brewing techniques.
Throughout the day, attendees could listen to industry speakers and take special skills classes. Some of the best equipment manufacturers were there to train professionals on their latest equipment and techniques.
Day 1 of the festival featured a number of optional classes for professionals, including:
- Barista Classroom – ten sessions on everything from advanced brewing methods to water essentials and customer service
- Roaster Classroom – eight sessions with expert roasters
- Coffee Shop Owner/Manager Classroom – lessons on coffee cost dynamics, career pathways, coffee equipment essentials, and more
- Documentary Video Classroom – some of the best industry documentary films
- Consumer Coffee History Classroom – a look at how New Orleans was the original “Coffee town, USA”
Day 1 also featured barista competitions – or “threauxdowns” if you speak Louisiana. The threauxdowns included:
- Barista Art Gallery – designed to showcase the photography and artistic skills of the New Orleans barista community.
- Latte Art Competition – a classic head-to-head tournament to showcase the best coffee art within the New Orleans coffee community. Ist Prize was $700 in home coffee equipment from MoccaMaster.
- Skills Pentathlon – designed by baristas for baristas and based upon five stages of competition
Day 2: Professionals and Consumers Day
On Day 2, the New Orleans Coffee Festival opened up to the general public. Coffee fans from across the Gulf South region (and beyond) flocked to the convention center to get their caffeine fix…and much more.
Attendees could attend the same classes offered on Day 1, and experience a day of all things coffee. Many of the south’s greatest roasters had booths set up, with coffee available for free sampling.
The festival featured over 50 exhibitors, including:
- Local/Regional Coffee Roasters
- Micro-Roaster Candidates
- Coffee Farmers & Farming Co-ops
- Coffee Equipment Companies
- Related Products Exhibitors
- Industry Seed-to-Cup Sponsors
- Spirits Industry Exhibitors
The Final Scoop
If you’re still wondering if you should hit the NOLA Coffee Festival® – I can’t think of any reason why not. Especially if you’re a coffee lover.
It’s a wonderful event. The Ernest Morial Convention Center is a top-notch facility (which is why it host over 100 conventions every year). New Orleans has a fascinating coffee history, a bustling coffee scene, and a talented community of passionate coffee professionals. You can experience all of this at the New Orleans Coffee Festival.
If you live in New Orleans, then it’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning or afternoon. If you’re coming from out of town, well…perhaps the best part of the whole thing is simply that you get to be in New Orleans.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!