This past November, Los Angeles held its inaugural “L.A. Coffee Festival” at the Magic Box in the Reef, located in Downtown. The festival welcomed all coffee-lovers alike, from enthusiasts to professionals within the industry. With over 4,800 attendees going in and out, the festival gave a glimpse into the bustling coffee scene.
Jefferey Young, the founder of the festival, envisioned the event to reflect the identity of the industry.
“We were a research business looking at trends in the coffee industry for ten years,” Young explains. “We began to launch conferences and noticed there were a lot of trends in coffee, and so we thought, ‘How about a coffee festival?’”
Young and his team noticed that many of the trends within the industry surrounded the creativity and craft of coffee as a whole, as well as the ecosystem that infused music and art with coffee. With this in mind, they created the festival as a way to reflect these values.
The Coffee Festival encapsulated the diverse environment of the coffee industry with workshops, demonstrations, live music, and the attendance of several vendors. Workshops covered topics such as environmental sustainability, direct trade, business, and women in coffee to showcase different trends and trades. Live demonstrations and vendors from companies such as Califia Farms and Verve, featured the newest inventions in the coffee industry with one-on-one tutorials as well as free samples. For the importance of music in the city, the festival featured the Coffee Music Project, where local artists competed through several rounds to make it to the Finals at the Mint in the following weekend.
Also, the festival emphasized charity through their partnership with NYC-based charity, Project Waterfall, to support life-changing water projects in coffee growing regions. Ticket sale donations, charitable activities around the festival, and the “Water Challenge” (where challengers had to hold a jerry can full of water for the longest time to win prizes) brought in $7,000 for this year.
Although success for the festival has been growing over the past few years, Young hopes that the festival will gain even more recognition because of its vibrancy.
“I hope to have a festival that really rocks in the sense that it becomes bigger and bigger. Every year, it gets this incredible community, and we hope that it can reach out to other coffee communities in places such as San Diego and even as far as San Francisco because we know coffee thrives in these places.”
With the event traveling to Italy in three weeks, Young also plans to bring the festival to more countries around the world such as South Korea and China. With attendants ranging from the curious to the professionals, workshops and live events, and friendly activities to benefit coffee growing regions, the L.A. Coffee Festival showcased a growing community within the city, and more importantly, a unifying industry that can be seen in all places of the world.
(All photo credits go to the L.A. Coffee Festival)