New York has become such a cutthroat coffee town that baristas have to grace their latte foam with dancing hot dogs in order to stand out. So who’s the Master of the Marzocco, and which coffee roaster makes the best brew? Hit these two coffee competitions to find out.
Hester Street Fair’s Iced Coffee Competition
Jul. 29, 11am to 6pm, Hester Street Fair, Hester and Essex; tickets free or $10.
Bring your Crest Whitestrips, cuz you’re going to need them after sampling brews from the East Village deconstructionists at Coffee Project NYC, the cascara crazies at Nomad Trading Co., and several others vying for best iced coffee. Among those going all-out, Lower East Side purveyor Round K (no relationship to Circle K, thankfully) will be serving up its Black Matte Latte, made with almond milk, 98% Dutch Cacao, and “coconut ash.” A $10 ticket gets you 2-ounce pours from everyone and the right to be a judge (a separate panel of experts will include Sam Penix of Everyman and Simonez Wolf of Football Cafe). Or just order a la carte and sip casually.
The New York Coffee Festival
Oct. 13 to 15 at Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St.; tickets $24.50 to $90.
You’ll definitely have the jitters after this one. This trade show at the sprawling Metropolitan Pavilion is a veritable Coffee-Con, with latte artist demos; a cafe where you can marvel over a La Marzocco like it’s a Ferrari; a coffee-themed art show; a caffeinated cocktail bar; a lab hosting guest speakers like a “coffee educator” from Toby’s Estate; and a cutthroat tournament in which baristas will show off their skills in cupping, brewing, latte art, and more. Local exhibitors include familiar faces like Cafe Grumpy, Birch, All Saints, Irving Farm, Stumptown, and little place called Starbucks. Plus, you can finally see the ultra-modern Steampunk brewer in action.
There is an actual, not veritable Coffee-Con. We’re in New York each spring. Next year will be our fourth NY event. It is not a trade show, but aimed directly at consumers, with a giant tasting exhibit, prize giveaways and onsite classes to perfect your own in-home tasting and brewing prowess. If you can’t wait until next spring, come join us in Chicago on October 7-8. Go to Coffee-Con.com