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Coffee purists find grounds to flaunt their art at Coffee Fest

Coffee, Tea or Barista?

Those and others are the daring choices at the 55th edition of Coffee Fest: an annual convention of exhibitors dedicated to the preservation and advancement of an industry focused in the main on that brewed beverage prepared from roasted seeds.

This is not your average cabin crew peddling in-flight joe but an orgy of java experts and industry vendors with a mission to advance one of this nation’s most favorite refreshments.

It all starts with a simple bean and make mine bird-friendly: there are those coffee plantations that adhere to “shade-grown” farming practices and that’s good for birds, other forest-dwelling wildlife and it will get a supportive nod from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Whereas others, so called “sun-coffee” farmers, can certainly generate higher yields and larger profits, they do so at the detriment of myriad insects, orchids, mammals, reptils, amphibians and other less well known denizens of tropical forests because large swaths of forest are cleared to make way for coffee fields. Who knew?

But the bean is still green when harvested. Roasting brings out the brown and the lovely flavor. No longer done over an open flame, the pride of coffee engineers today are fully automated roasing systems that load, roast and remove bean product in a highly efficient production line. Individual coffee shops can purchase seemingly portable shop roasters that transport a bean from green to your preferred shade of dark almost before your eyes. And who can resist that wonderfully intoxicating roast aroma?

Flavored coffee? Yeah, it’s all the rage at CoffeeFest. Chocolate, mocha, and unique formulations create tastes your Pan-American Clipper crew would never have found in the Orient. Just ask your neighborhood barista for gourmet flavoring that vaults coffee to a realm beyond Viennese and Turkish imaginations. This is an American coffee mixture and its pretty darn good tasting.

Coffee-on-the-run generally means a stop at the drive through. Coffee cup comfort grips and wraps may not insulate you’re thighs (use the cup holder in your vehicle) but your fingers will be pleased about the double-sleeve padding that does its best to insure against a McDonalds-hot-coffee-accident. These sleeves are one place to look for coffee-house branding: just get your hands out of the way so people can read the clever copywriting and see the logos.

There was so much to appreciate at Coffee Fest it requires every minute of a two-day visit, and you won’t want to miss the fun and education. Besides: there’s good tasting java and java elixirs on-hand to help power your way through.

By Jay Barber, Catalina Media Group

Filed under: Industry

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