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  • Writer's pictureMarielle Songy

NOLA Coffee Festival 2023

On September 16, I attended the first-annual NOLA Coffee Festival at the Morial Convention Center here in New Orleans. What a wonderful experience!


NOLA Coffee Festival, courtesy of NOLA Coffee Festival
NOLA Coffee Festival, courtesy of NOLA Coffee Festival

Before I get into details, let's learn about the NOLA Coffee Festival. From the Festival website:


The NOLA Coffee Festival® celebrates the unique heritage of our coffee industry and salutes the talented community of coffee professionals who create our daily caffeinated happiness. This festival will celebrate all things coffee.


I was excited when I heard about this event a few months ago for a few reasons. First of all, I am a major coffee drinker. I drink it all day, every day. My go-to brand is French Market Dark Roast, but I am open to any and all coffee. My favorite local coffee roasters include Mojo, Coast Roast Coffee, and French Truck, and I like to think I'm pretty schooled on the basic ins and outs of our favorite hot (or iced) beverage.


Secondly, the festival couldn't have come at a better time because I am deep in research for a coffee project, so I am just soaking up all the Java information I can handle. The festival proved to be a wonderful resource and I loved networking with coffee pros.


Coffee News
Coffee News!

Coffee News
Coffee News!

The NOLA Coffee Festival was a two-day event taking place on the fifteenth and sixteenth. Not only were there samples of different brands of coffee as far as the eye could see, but there were also coffee-making competitions and, my favorite, the coffee education classes.



Coffee Education Classes
Coffee Education Classes

Coffee Education Classes
Coffee Education Classes

I'll be honest: after I attended on Saturday, I wished I had attended on Friday as well- that's how much I enjoyed myself and liked the classes. I got to listen to Sue Strachan talk about her brilliant book The Café Brûlot, and Prince Lobo from Addis NOLA performed an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, explained the history of Ethiopian coffee, and let us sample some for ourselves.


Prince Lobo and the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
Prince Lobo and the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Later in the day, I attended a standing-room-only class on the coffee-tasting wheel hosted by author and coffee expert Chris Kornman, who packed an incredible amount of information into an hour. Finally, I wrapped up the day with a talk by Liz Williams from the SoFab Museum about the history of coffee in New Orleans. That was such an interesting talk, and thirty minutes is not nearly enough to cover the incredible relationship that New Orleans and coffee share.


Flavor Wheel Class
Flavor Wheel Class

Back down on the main floor, I wandered from booth to booth, sampling coffee of all types. I couldn't get to every booth, which was another reason to attend both days! The coffee I was able to sample was incredible.


Here are a few of my stops:


Café Tío Conejo from Columbia
Café Tío Conejo from Columbia

Coffee Science from New Orleans
Coffee Science from New Orleans

Del Alto Valle Coffee from Columbia
Del Alto Valle Coffee from Columbia

Cherry Coffee from New Orleans
Cherry Coffee from New Orleans

This barely scratches the surface of what I was able to taste and explore. This event was a coffee lover's dream come true.


One thing that I especially liked about the Fest was the balance between local and national brands. You would expect a first-year coffee fest to rely on only hosting local coffee roasters, but there was a nice showing of brands worldwide. Meeting roasters from various places was so interesting, and listening to them talk about their passion for coffee was inspiring.


A sample of coffee
A sample of coffee

I'm hearing that the fest exceeded expectations this year. If so, I hope that this will become a yearly event!


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