We’re living in the golden age of coffee. And by “coffee,” I am certainly including espresso beverages like lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos. Popularity of these drinks has surged higher than that of even craft beer or whiskey.
Recently, a group of us from RITTA visited the New York Coffee Festival and our client, De’Longhi of North America, who was exhibiting at the show. Being that this was only the second year of the show and having never attended, we had no idea what to expect. After standing in line for 45 minutes, we were growing impatient but were even more mystified on what we would see. This show did not disappoint—it had everything from a Breaking Bad–inspired roast to non-cow vegan milk for frothing to even decadent baked goods to go with your coffee. The New York Coffee Festival had it all!
I realized that coffee is a different experience for everyone. My first encounter beyond the average cup of joe was in Portugal when I was introduced to “Galão” at a street cafe in Figueira da Foz. This drink was a mix of espresso and foamed milk. Simple, yes, but it was like nothing I had ever experienced. Here in the U.S., Portuguese delis and BBQ joints make this drink well — but it’s not quite the same.
With coffee culture being such a hotbed, you might be asking where we’re heading with coffee? The elephant in the room is certainly Starbucks, even though they weren’t at the festival. This is even more ironic in the fact you can’t walk for four city blocks in New York City without encountering a Starbucks. Make no mistake, Starbucks has enough power to tell us a small is a Tall and a medium is a Grande—even enough bravado to make drinks like the “flat white” popular in the U.S. and to try to downplay the iconic cappuccino. However, discerning baristas will be the first to tell you their dark roast coffee is “burnt” tasting.
While we’re “talking” coffee here, I am going to offer up a million-dollar idea. The white paper cups for cappuccinos and the like at coffee shops hurt the experience for me. They serve iced coffee in clear cups, and they should do the same for hot coffee. The layering of espresso, steamed and frothed milk in a latte is gorgeous, so why hide it? Luckily, my De’Longhi machine will give me the experience at home, and in a clear thermo glass.
And by the way, Starbucks – my name is Kevin – not “Kelvin,” dammit.