Barista Casey Wehr’s Report from New York Coffee Fest

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By admin
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March 6, 2024
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3 min read

Written By Casey Wehr | March 5, 2024

The New York Coffee Festival is an event I look forward to every year! It’s a great way to stay up to date with the current trends in the coffee industry. It’s always a warm and welcoming environment filled with beverage fanatics just dying to share their passion and knowledge with anyone who will listen. It’s never the same show twice: every year there are different vendors. Although it can be disappointing to not see some of my favorite vendors from previous years, I love observing the changes as each year passes. 

The very first major difference I noticed: several flavored syrup companies that focus on clean, minimalistic ingredients. I don’t recall seeing anything like this at previous Coffee Festivals. One company proudly advertised their syrups made with as few as three ingredients! Although I don’t see these kinds of syrups being the standard in cafes for quite some time, I believe this is not just a fad. I predict the cafe industry is moving in the direction of cleaner and more simple ingredients. This prediction is based on the increase in consumers’ interest in a cleaner lifestyle; not just in beverages but food, cosmetics, clothing, cars, and so much more. 

latte art from the Barista Competition at the NY Coffee Fest

I saw less milk alternative vendors than last year. Hazelnut, sesame, cashew, and all kinds of new/experimental milk alternative vendors were very prominent in previous years. I’ve tried just about every one of these, and I think the science still has a ways to go because most of them have a very unpleasant aftertaste. Oat milk has become the most popular alternative milk choice in the last couple of years simply because it tastes just as good (or some would argue even better) as whole milk. With so many delicious oat milk brands on the market, I think the fad of so many milk alternative choices is fading away. On the other hand, oat milk is high in calories, carbs, and sugar so I think there is still some room for improvement with healthier choices. I expect healthier yet still tasty alternatives to be developed in the years to come. 

What brought me the most joy to see was the increase of ethically sourced coffee and tea vendors.  By prioritizing ethical practices, such as fair trade agreements, environmentally sustainable farming methods, and equitable treatment of workers, these products uphold a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Ethically sourced coffee ensures that farmers receive fair compensation for their labor, fostering economic stability and empowerment within their communities. Similarly, ethically sourced tea promotes biodiversity conservation and minimizes the environmental impact of cultivation, preserving ecosystems for future generations. Consumers can indulge in the rich flavors of these beverages while supporting ethical standards that prioritize people and planet alike. This becoming the industry standard will move us into the fourth wave of coffee. It is so exciting to watch such a major change in history unfold right before my eyes! I can’t wait to see what next year’s coffee festival will bring.

Casey Wehr is a barista at Cedar Bean's Coffee Joint, a self-proclaimed "Barista Baby", and can be found on Instagram sharing her exciting adventures with coffee and tea.

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