Lisbon Coffee Festival Brings Big Names Under One Roof

The Lisbon Coffee Festival celebrated the quickly growing coffee scene in Portugal, and crowned a barista champion.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos by Nuno Alexandre

The Lisbon Coffee Festival, which took place last month on March 25-27, was something completely different from the usual European coffee festival. Here, instead of a festival run by the specialty-coffee community, the main sponsors were large, established coffee companies—both domestic and international brands—that are well-known in Portugal.

What We Saw at Lisbon Coffee Festival

A quick look at the three-day program revealed a packed schedule, including the Portuguese barista championship, lectures on coffee flavors and more, and home barista classes. A big highlight was also the Roaster Village, hosted by La Marzocco, which featured a large percentage of Portuguese specialty-coffee roasters.

This was the second edition of the festival; originally scheduled for 2020, it was eventually hosted in the LX Factory, an industrial area close to the dock that recently developed a creator’s island occupied by artists, unique companies, and restaurants. 

At many coffee festivals in Europe, the action starts even before the main event begins, with cuppings and events taking place around the city in the week prior. At Lisbon Coffee Fest, however, everything was concentrated into just two and a half days, from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening.

There were plenty of home brewing and latte art demos.

The Exhibitors

The ground floor of the Lisbon Coffee Festival featured commercial coffee and coffee equipment manufacturers, who showcased their products to the market. Here, Cimbali, Sage, Slayer, and others shared the floor with Portugal’s Delta Coffee, Nestlé, and other local non-coffee brands like the Pastel de Nata liqueur, inspired by the classic local egg tart. La Marzocco’s booth even featured its own DJ and presented the company’s new KB90 machine, billed as the ultimate evolution of the classic Linea PB. Many international and young crowds gathered here to dance, mingle, and brew.

Rui Pedrosa is this year’s Portuguese barista champion.

The Portuguese Barista Championship

The main event on the ground-floor stage was the Campeonato de Barista, the SCA barista championship of Portugal, which crowned Rui Pedrosa as the upcoming Portuguese representative for this year’s World Barista Championship.

Lisbon Coffee Festival Lectures

Simultaneously, the smaller workshop stage hosted various courses focused on subjects that included latte art, cocktails, and home brewing. One particularly interesting lecture was titled “A roaster, brewer and bartender walk into a bar … to explore the sensory world of flavor.”

Another element that many can rely on at a coffee festival is a Roaster Village; here, eight Portuguese specialty-coffee roasters from all over the country shared the space with a real sense of community. The Roaster Village is also where the after party was. On Friday and Saturday, a two-hour DJ set with cocktails and finger food closed the day, helping people connect even more after the show.

The Roaster Village was a big highlight of the festival.

A Changing Coffee Festival

The event showed that many things are changing and that a new era of coffee had begun, but with the reminder that Portugal’s true roots of coffee will always be there to lend a hand. Everyone here already knew each other, but nevertheless these festival days helped people to create new bonds, new partnerships, and new friendships.

In conclusion, the Lisbon Coffee Fest felt like a gathering of coffee lovers of all sorts in one space.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.

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