Highlights From the 2024 Amsterdam Coffee Festival

BY THOMAS WENSMA
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

The highly anticipated ninth edition of the Amsterdam Coffee Festival, held April 4-6 at Amsterdam’s cultural district Westergas, was a not-to-be-missed event. The festival brought together many coffee enthusiasts and industry professionals with different exhibitors, such as Slayer, La Marzocco, aillio, and Oatly.

“This year, we had 10,380 visitors joining us at the Westergas for three days of specialty coffee, cocktails, music and so much more,” says Jainy Gans, marketing manager for the Amsterdam Coffee Festival.

Organized by Coffee Ventures Europe, part of The Allegra Group, the 2024 edition of the festival provided another immersive experience for visitors to indulge in the world of specialty coffee.

Two hands covered in silver rings hold a black mug with a seahorse design in a green matcha drink.
The ninth Amsterdam Coffee Festival brought together over 10,000 specialty-coffee lovers and industry pros. Photo courtesy of Coffee Ventures Europe.

Festival Highlights

This year the Amsterdam Coffee Festival was as popular as ever, with a long list of exhibitors. According to Jainy, the 2024 edition “brought together more than 125 stands from across Europe.”

The festival held industry days on Thursday and Friday mornings, giving coffee professionals a great opportunity to meet and network. Regular visitors joined in the afternoon and all day on Saturday. They happily immersed themselves in the events of the three-day program, including a live latte art show, the Matcha Latte Art Battle, different workshops, and the Roast Masters competition. Designed by the creators of Coffee Masters, Roast Masters was the most notable live event of the festival, with 10 coffee-roaster teams from Europe competing in eight different disciplines using the latest, most advanced equipment, such as a Slayer Steam LP espresso machine and the aillio Bullet Roaster. Hayb Coffee from Warsaw took home the winning €2500 cash prize.

Festival foers look at a table's merchandise, all holding small gray reusable cups from WeCup.
Visitors could engage with a wide range of exhibitors and taste many different coffees using the limited edition WeCups that replaced single-use cups. Photo courtesy of Coffee Ventures Europe.

A Focus On Sustainability

For the first time, the Amsterdam Coffee Festival teamed up with WeCup, making it the first coffee festival in the Benelux completely free of disposable single-use cups.

“This year’s edition was more environmentally friendly than ever before. We replaced single-use cups with eye-catching limited edition WeCups throughout the event,” Jainy notes. ”Thanks to the groundbreaking partnership with WeCup, we saved 94,000 cups, and 507.6 kg of waste.”

Visitors could use the reusable coffee cups to taste free coffees available at coffee stands from roasters such as The Miners, Create Coffee Roasters, and Meron Coffee.

A barista and festival-goers in Amsterdam.
Interactive workshops such as the specialty coffee and natural wine tasting gave visitors unique experiences. Photo by Thomas Wensma.

Specialty Coffee & Natural Wine Tasting

Part of the festival program was a range of bespoke workshop experiences, and one of those was a tasting of specialty coffee and natural wine. In a special area within the venue, away from the hustle and bustle, small groups could join a 45-minute curated tasting session, hosted by Rob Clarijs, founder of Dutch roastery A Matter of Concrete (AMOC) and Joey Rietveld, founder of natural wine importer Far Out Drinks Co. During several tasting rounds, attendees were treated to a range of high-quality specialty coffees and natural wines that showcased some of the shared philosophies, processing methods, and complex, fruity flavor profiles of both beverages.

A barista prepares two pour over coffee brews.
Pourovers being brewed during the Amsterdam Coffee Festival. Photo courtesy of Coffee Ventures Europe.

Tasting Sessions and Bar Takeovers

Each year, the festival brings well-known coffee professionals to Amsterdam, who team up with coffee shops for special tasting sessions and bar takeovers, making the Amsterdam Coffee Festival even more exciting. This year’s highlight was Daniele Ricci—2023 World Barista Championship runner-up—taking over Taru Coffee Studio. For his takeover, Daniele put together a special menu with first-class coffees served in different courses. The curated experience fits with the omakase-style, reservation-only coffee service they offer every Sunday.

For those looking to relax after all the excitement of the day’s events, the festival’s nightly after-parties gave visitors the opportunity for more relaxed settings to enjoy coffee cocktails, spirits, and natural wine.

After another successful Amsterdam Coffee Festival, bringing together coffee enthusiasts and professionals to connect and share a mutual passion for specialty coffee, we can’t wait for next year’s event, which will mark the 10th edition and promises to be even more exciting!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas Wensma works as a coffee journalist and writer. He is also a creative director. Find out more at thomaswensma.com

Cover image of the April + May 2024 19th Anniversary Issue

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