What does one encounter at a coffee festival? This may seem like a ridiculous event for some, but for others, like myself, it is anticipated with fervor. The San Francisco coffee scene constitutes not only those who work in specialty coffee, but also general caffeine lovers, which come in all shades of enthusiasms and commitment. Being a part of the coffee scene in SF is about the mingling of professionals and casual drinkers, the mix of baristas and customers, and everyone in between and outside. It is events like this that bring together the wise and the novices, and make us realize that even if we think we know it all, we aren't even close.
Apart from running into familiar faces, everyone from high school best friends, who wanted to attend a fun non-alcohol-centered event, to old coworkers still doing what they love, it was particularly awesome to see what everyone has been up to, what they're roasting, what they're drinking, who they're visiting. As much as I would love to be able to visit all of the multitudinous coffee shops, cafes, and roasters that exist in such a vast city as San Francisco, there are only so many hours in a day and only so many hills I can pedal up, not to mention (milli)grams of coffee that is healthy for me to consume. There were 20 different roasters at this year's San Francisco Coffee Festival, which happens to also be the very first annual event of its kind in the Bay Area. This event unified roasters based in North Bay, East Bay, it even brought roasters from all the way out in Sacramento and of course from the city itself. This year was the inaugural year for the San Francisco Coffee Festival and it completely sold out. That is pretty darn cool.
Representatives from all across the coffee-world were present, from Intelligentsia and Blue Bottle, the notorious bigwigs, to Strauss Family Creamery and the delicious Donut Savant. What is coffee without the proper accompaniments? All the awesome roasters that have saturated the market with truly amazing coffee did not hold back. Algorithm Coffee Co, Andytown Coffee Roasters, RoastCo, Temple Coffee Roasters, and so many others were confidently representing their coffees. Henry's House of Coffee came out with a honey processed Sumatra and Algorithm's natural processed Ethiopian Ayehu is still one of my favorites. Granted, an hour into it I was nearly cracked out from all of the samples I had (have you tried to say no to an Andytown Snowy Plover or Temple's Geisha from Panama rated 96 on Coffee Review?). Can you imagine a bunch of hyped up baristas fervently talking about coffee while also trying to hold their hands steady enough to give and/or receive a sample? It was comedic and poetic and entirely avoidable, but like I said, saying no simply is not an option.
Even if you had never heard of any of the roasters there, it would be impossible not to be excited. These people work so hard and put so much passion into what they do on a daily basis that it translates into the amazing cup of coffee that you bring to your lips. When the owner of Andytown hands you a Snowy Plover herself or you bond over a mutual love for coldbrew with RoastCo baristas that's when you realize what this business of coffee is all about. We just want to bring people together and give them something awesome that we made. You don't have to know the difference between washed and natural process or what the different species of coffee are, you just have to be willing to try something that someone has lovingly and purposefully created.