An Afternoon at the Los Angeles Coffee Festival

Coffee or Tea? Ah, the age old question. For me, the answer is simple – both! I love a good cup of coffee in the morning and happily consume cappuccinos, lattes, frappes and more. I feel the same way about tea – whether it’s black, green or herbal my answer is always “yes, please!” So, when I learned about the debut Los Angeles Coffee Festival was coming I knew I had to attend. Luckily,  I scored a press pass and made my way there on Friday.

Held at Magic Box @ The Reef the festival is a three day celebration of all things coffee…and tea. There are demonstrations, hands on workshops, various vendors and unlimited samples of caffeinated beverages. In other words, it’s paradise for any coffee (and tea!) lover.

On Friday afternoon I headed to the fest just in time to grab a spot in the workshop Matcha: The Espresso of Tea presented by Rishi Tea. Rishi is an organic tea brand based in Milwaukee, WI. They work directly with producers in order to offer the best teas to the public and have a wide range of matcha on offer.

In the class we learned all about the origins of the tea as well as how to make the perfect cup. Included were lots of delicious samples. As a matcha fan, this was a definite highlight.

Matcha has a distinct bold yet bitter flavor that that offers a true energy boost. I must admit I generally drink it in lattes so to have it pure, with no sugar added, was a true, yet delicious, jolt.

After the workshop I headed to the show flow where a number of vendors were offering everything from coffee and tea to milk and liqueur. Now, this is where the true sampling began.

I had a fantastic cappuccino from Verve Coffee

a tasty tumeric latte from Silk

some lovely chai from Chalo

and the most delicious coffee liqueur from Mr. Black.

Mr. Black is a liqueur from Australia and it’s absolutely wonderful. A blend of cold brew coffee and vodka it’s simple yet flavorful. Not only does Mr. Black brew their own coffee but the beans are actually roasted on site creating a truly unique experience.

And speaking of spirits…the coffee festival also offered a cocktail demonstration that I was happy to attend.

The Future of Coffee in Cocktails was presented by Aaron Melendrez and Sarah Meade of Here and Now – a bar in the heart of the Arts District. In the demo, Sarah and Aaron explained the evolution of coffee in the cocktail world and offered a sampling of one of their custom creations – Java Bird. This modern tiki drink features rum, campari, pineapple, lime and cold brew coffee. I, honestly, had never thought of combining pineapple and coffee but it”s actually quite delicious. The Java Bird was an amazing drink and I can’t wait to head to Here and Now for another.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the inaugural Los Angeles Coffee Festival. I may have not have slept much that night but it was well worth it. The festival continues today and is definitely worth visiting.