More than 11,000 people visited the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam for The Amsterdam Coffee Festival from 9 to 11 March. The number of trade visitors grew by 16 per cent and initiated the successful launch of the NL Coffee Summit. Visitors enjoyed unlimited tastings of over 200 different coffees and relaxed with a total of 1,200 coffee cocktails in-hand. The festival kicked off on 9 March with the launch of the first ever NL Coffee Summit for trade visitors. From market insights courtesy of Jeffrey Young (Allegra Strategies) to changing consumer demands for taste, health and variety from Eric Derie (Alpro) and trend talks with Jeroen Veldkamp (Coffee Lab), it was an engaging morning of boundary-pushing conversation. The summit concluded with the afternoon Roasters Panel, featuring representatives from Boot Koffie, Back to Black, Nordkapp Coffee, Bocca Coffee, Manhattan Coffee and Moyee Coffee, MC-ed by Moniek Smit (Smit Prins Amsterdam Agency). The panellists discussed investments, the marketing of specialty coffee, transparency and quality, with cooperation as a constant subject. More than 100 baristas took part on the festival. At the centre of the action was the Latte Art Live stage, which hosted a varied programme of exciting talent each day. Headlining each afternoon was Alpro, whose Latte Art Throwdowns drew a large crowd. Using their market-leading plant based almond, coconut and soy drinks, baristas went head-to-head in knockout battles to win a VIP trip to The London Coffee Festival. Over in the Transformator House, cocktails were available. Presented by Tia Maria + Coffee Project bartenders, there was an array of different recipes on the menu; something for every coffee and cocktail lover. None of this would have been possible without high-quality filtered water, brought to the festival by BRITA. Guests learned more about water quality at their Lab talk in collaboration with the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (now part of the Specialty Coffee Association). Lex Wenneker (Friedhats Coffee, Espresso Service West) won the final of the Dutch Barista Championship for the third time in a row, and will go for another win at the World Barista Championship in Amsterdam in June 2018.
“It feels great to be the Dutch Champion for the third time,” Wenneker said. “We put a lot of effort in again and we were lucky to work with amazing coffee. This year was the strongest competition I've been up against, so it was a huge relief to hear my name on the stage.” The Latte Art Championship winner was Anouk Rodenburg (a freelance barista), who defeated the -time champion Nick Vink, who finished in second place. Olaf Boom won the Brewers Cup, and Niels te Vaanhold (Mocca D'Or) was named the best coffee taster of The Netherlands. The Coffee Mixologists competition brought creativity and showmanship to the festival. International duos of baristas and bartenders battled for the title throughout the three day contest. The final was won by Vito Sportelli (Barproject Academy & APERINFRESCO) and Andrea Peconio (Barproject Academy & Kabuki).
The newest coffee machines and brewing methods were also out in force, and visitors were invited to test them out. Espresso machine brand La Marzocco presented their new model Leva at the La Marzocco Playground. Sanremo, Faema and Victoria Ardunio showcased their high-end equipment, packed with technological features. Hario, Solis and Bodum brought their hand brewing kit to the festival, demonstrating the art of brewing at home.