“Some of the most exciting surprises came from the names that I had never heard, both domestic and foreign.”
Welcome back to Coffee. Curated. our special feature on coffee roasters and coffee experiences in New York City.
The New York Coffee Festival came back to Manhattan, once again, last month with an exciting lineup of festival mainstays and a few surprises.
Coffee. Curated.’s New York Coffee Festival Finds
First off, the big surprise and, for me, best-in-show came from Birmingham, Alabama’s own Revelator Coffee. Revelator was at the fest as a guest of Trade Coffee, the service that puts so many of the country’s best regional roasters together under an online, mail order banner. And Revelator was a perfect showcase of what Trade can do. I took home a bag of their Kolla Bocha, Ethiopian, which was light and fruity, their Santa Terraza, Costa Rican, which has a transparent, bright profile, and caused me to fall in love with Costa Rican coffee as an early fall treat and, last but certainly not least, their Wildcat blend, which I like as a French press and cold brew but fell head over heels in love with as a ristretto shot of espresso. It has a sugar forward, zingy cherry, apricot, plum profile, that’s scented with an orange blossom/ bergamot aroma. The Wildcat Blend reminds me how much creativity people can bring to coffee.
Next, I’d be absolutely remiss to not mention the handful of old favorites that brought their unbelievable coffee together to celebrate the incredible roasting culture of New York. SEY Coffee wowed an entire crowd with a floral Ethiopian Geisha varietal, prepared cleanly and beautifully by the owners. Nobletree again had the most lovely Nitro Coldbrew of the convention, a fact which I never let them forget, although I didn’t get to include in my Roaster Roundup. Devoción pulled sweet and nutty espresso shots and showcased how singular Colombian coffee really is.
Some of the most exciting New York Coffee Festival surprises came from the names that I had never heard, both domestic and foreign. Chinese coffee has officially entered the arena, representing here under the banner of SeeSaw Coffee and their honey processed offerings. Though their coffee was darker than I’m used to, it may be their entrance to the coffee elite comes by way of their neighbors in Japan, who have navigated the darker roasts to produce many of the modern preparations of coffee and the most obsessive minds on the subject. I’m excited to see where China goes from here and what innovations they bring, once they’ve had some time to play.
On the scientific stage, East One Coffee brought a spectrometer to read shots of espresso. The scientist in charge presented a shot and then she asked a young man to drink it and grade it on a taste scale from grassy to chalky. Then she ran it through the spectrometer and told us where it fell on the scale. Amazingly, the man’s palette was perfectly on the money. Having a chemist on the team has obviously paid off for East One, as their coffees were uniformly delicious and produced the exact flavors advertised on their bags. I look forward to reviewing their entire lineup. New York!!!
On the technological front, Coldwave was selling a crash coffee chiller as an alternative to coldbrew. Now, I love making coldbrew, especially from Guatemalan and Peruvian coffees, but there’s a reason shops like SEY don’t do it. Many of the most delicate flavors get distorted when steeping coffee overnight. Crash chilling hot coffee, in two minutes, without diluting the strength(ie using ice) is an exciting prospect for the home brewer. I still haven’t been impressed with my home efforts but it’s early days.
All in all, we look forward to seeing how The New York Coffee Festival evolves. Hopefully, next year, they’ll bring on new roasters from around the Tri-state to keep the festival more saturated with new discoveries.
-by Geoff Rickly, writer/musician/coffee enthusiast, coffee. curated.