POUR Coffee is Charlotte, N.C.’s first specialty-coffee festival, celebrating the vibrant coffee community in Charlotte and bringing together coffee professionals, consumers, and maybe a few barista champions.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos by Elli McGuire
POUR Coffee, Charlotte, N.C.’s first coffee festival, will happen on Saturday, March 3. The event, which will be held at Unknown Brewing Co., will bring together coffee roasters, professionals, and experts from around the city to conduct brew demonstrations, connect with other coffee professionals, and showcase the wide array of talent Charlotte’s coffee community has to offer. The event is the work of co-founders Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp of Undercurrent Coffee (and frequent contributor to Barista Magazine Online) and Matt Dudley of Marco Beverage Systems.
POUR shines a light on the talent and coffee culture the Southeast has to offer. “People might be surprised to learn that our region has a thriving specialty-coffee scene,” Matt says, “but that’s exactly the case. The Carolinas are home to two United States Barista Champions [Lem Butler and Kyle Ramage], a number of Specialty Coffee Association training campuses and educators, and some of the best importing companies in the country. We’ve got a killer community of coffee leaders and we want to introduce them to the people of Charlotte.”
The festival will provide folks an opportunity to engage with those coffee leaders—roasters such as Black & White Coffee Roasters, Counter Culture Coffee, Pure Intentions Coffee, Methodical Coffee, and Summit Coffee will be on hand to pour samples and share their coffees with the community. Along with brewing demos and coffee tastings, patrons can also attend classes like the “Seed to Cup” presentation offered by Counter Culture, or step into the Flavor Wheel Exploration Room designed by Ally Coffee.
“As a career coffee professional in the Southeast, it’s been encouraging to see how our community has grown in the last decade,” Diana says. “However, there is still a lot of room for growth, and that hinges on the public’s ability to understand the value of specialty coffee. This shift of perception happens when they know the stories behind each cup—learning about processing, life on a coffee farm, the care that goes into roasting, the labor that is required to brew something beautiful every day. … We’re hoping that by putting coffee consumers in front of exemplary coffee professionals, we can bridge that gap of knowledge and have every attendee walk away with their own unique ‘aha!’ moment that connects them to the specialty-coffee community in a more meaningful way.”
Along with promoting the Southeast specialty-coffee scene, the event will also raise money for the Southeast chapter of Women Investing in Northwest Coffee Champs (WINCC), an organization dedicated to providing wares, coaching, and funds to help marginalized members of the coffee community attend barista competitions. “Putting on coffee festivals is fun,” Diana notes, “but empowering our community is even better.”