This weekend in New York City, the second annual New York Coffee Festival hit the ground running: this time, with more roasters, gear-heads, and unusual twists on coffee than ever. Unlike industry events that draw in prospective cafe owners with hopes of selling them giant gelato machines, the New York Coffee Festival keeps the focus on plying local aficionados with espresso martinis and entertainment, from live music to the annual Coffee Masters tournament. We took a spin around the festival to pin down the 2016 festival's top trends.
1. Alternative Materials Coffee Fashion Trend
We spotted 2009 World Barista Champion and this weekend Coffee Masters emcee Gwilym Davies in one of the least likely bow-ties we've seen on a stage floor: this unbelievable coffee bean bow-tie hewn from wood by the Slovakian Republic chapter of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe. While it does not exactly appear to be hand-carved, it does appear to be COMPLETELY FANTASTIC. Be caught wearing one of these at your next coffee gala, or don't be caught there at all.
2. The Never-ending Coffee+Lemon Trend
From Sweden to Brooklyn, the unlikely romance of coffee and lemonade has caught on with such zest that now, whole brands are dedicated to it, with their own tricycles. Hiding out near the food hall, Tom's Lemon Coffee purports to be an artisanal cold brew with a healthy twist—and as we head into the crossover late-summer, early-flu season, we can't argue that this trike trick trend may have lemony legs.
3. Custom-Etched Chemex
It's always a treat to see Chemex turn up at a coffee event, but they've rarely done it in such style as with this festival's line of handsome, engraved carafes and wooden collars. How baller would it be to offer your sleepover guest a fresh cup in the morning from your Ottomatic brewer and bespoke-collared-carafe? We admit we fell for the I Love NY logo and city-skyline-motif Chemexes, even if we know they were kissing up to us. Now let's hope this photo doesn't get anybody sued.
4. Tech Upgrades
The La Marzocco Strada AV turned up at the festival in one of its first US appearances, bringing volumetric dosing to the Strada framework with a brand new group-head-mounted control panel, too. Will the average show attendee walk home with one of these babies? Maybe not. Will they wish their corner cafe would? Heck yeah.
5. Putting Existing Tech Things Onto Carts
While putting existing tech things onto carts isn’t really a new trend, it’s one worth noting as evergreen particularly in New York City, where establishing a brick-and-mortar residence for your new-fangled coffee-lemon-butter concept might just be a leeeetle too expensive. To meet this need, inventor veteran Alpha Dominche rolled out its new roll-out-able Steampunk Coffee Cart to brew local roasters like Nobletree and Toby’s Estate for the thirsty masses who never even knew how much they’d want to have their minds blown by the latest in portable crucible technology.
Stay tuned for more coverage from this year's New York Coffee Festival!
Liz Clayton is Associate Editor of Sprudge and helms the New York City desk. Read more Liz Clayton on Sprudge.