Coffee, that wonderful stuff, is so totally unique. Both symbolic with and symbiotic to the very concept of hospitality, coffee unites the high and the low, the functional and the fantastical. From the humblest traveler’s rest to the finest dining rooms in all the land, good coffee is always a welcome offering. And so how fitting that espresso service would play a key roll at the 2023 edition of The Welcome Conference, happening today at the historic Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan.

Co-founded by restaurateur and author Will Guidara, The Welcome Conference has since 2014 been among the world’s most influential hospitality gatherings. The event’s 2022 edition featured speakers such as Simon Kim (Cote), Robert St. John (Extra Table), Asma Khan (Darjeeling Express) and Erick Williams (Virtue), and past speakers have included Danny Meyer, Jon Batiste, Simon Sinek, Mark and Brian Canlis, and many more.

This year’s edition of the event features a curated multi-roaster espresso bar experience presented by La Marzocco. Guests can expect the very best from New York City’s roasting scene, highlighted in a DIY Bar as well as an eagerly anticipated afternoon Espresso Martini service. Featured roasters include Stumptown Coffee, Joe Coffee, Variety Coffee Roasters, Devocion, and more. “Hospitality is at the core of the coffee industry,” says Andrew Daday, Managing Director of La Marzocco USA. “We can think of no better place to share our love of coffee than with our friends at The Welcome Conference.”

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Guests at The Welcome Conference will receive a specially minted physical coin from La Marzocco, good to redeem for a free coffee of their choosing at cafe locations across New York City.

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To learn more, Sprudge reached out to the team at The Welcome Conference in advance of today’s sold out event.

Tell us more about what role coffee will play at this year’s edition of The Welcome Conference. Why is coffee important to include at an event like this?

The audience at Welcome is about 75% restaurant and industry people—and broadly speaking, they typically work late and their days don’t begin until just before noon. So when our conference opens its doors at 9am, we’re asking people to wake up a little earlier than they usually might—so having ample coffee, and getting it to people fast is crucial.

What role do you see role do you see coffee playing in hospitality in general? How about in a fine dining setting?

Coffee plays such an important role, not just in a restaurant setting but over the course of the whole day. Hospitality professionals work the fringe hours of the day and night—so coffee literally and figuratively fuels them. In some ways, restaurants couldn’t operate without coffee or caffeinated beverages. Moving through the day, the gesture of inviting someone to meet you over coffee is such a wonderful way to extend hospitality to someone by setting aside time to have intentional conversation in person. And later in a restaurant setting, ending a meal with coffee is a beautiful way for people to sit a bit longer in conversation and each others company. Coffee ultimately helps foster a sense of community and friendship.

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What does your partnership with La Marzocco mean to Welcome Conference?

The La Marzocco team and brand operate from the same mindset of Unreasonable Hospitality that we do, and in every conversation with them they’ve continually pushed the boundaries on creativity and what is possible with integrating a coffee program at the conference. From wanting to integrate a variety of NYC roasters, to giving people a beautifully-designed coin they can redeem for a free coffee as a takeaway, it’s helped us think outside of the box on what is possible and been so inspiring to bring the best coffee yet to our guests.

The 2023 Welcome Conference takes places today, September 18th, in New York City. Follow The Welcome Conference on Instagram and visit their official website for more details.

Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder at Sprudge Media Network, and the winner of a James Beard Foundation Award for journalism.

Disclosure: Sprudge Media Network is proudly partnered with La Marzocco.