The POUR Coffee Festival—Charlotte, N.C.’s ode to coffee—returns this March.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos by Elli McGuire Photography
If any one event were simultaneously a love letter to coffee and its hometown, it’d be the POUR Coffee Festival. Founded by coffee pros Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp and Matt Dudley, the festival brings together coffee roasters from across the Southeast to mingle and introduce folks to the delights of specialty coffee.
“The coffee industry—both nationally and internationally—is growing at such a rapid pace,” says Diana, “and we wanted to make sure that all of the groundbreaking, interesting, and downright delicious stuff happening in our backyards wasn’t getting lost. This festival is a celebration of the creativity and passion that we see being poured out by our Southeastern coffee community.”
Founded in 2017, the POUR Coffee Festival drew widespread attention from the moment it was announced—it’s not like most coffee festivals, which are often either aimed at industry professionals interested only in shop talk, or solely for folks new to the coffee world. Both groups can share common ground at POUR while taking part in an unlimited amount of coffee samples, exchanging ideas, and talking about their local coffee scene.
“We want to connect coffee people with one another, and to provide the coffee-loving public an opportunity to learn about the thriving coffee culture we have here in the Southeast,” says Matt. “POUR is a festival for everyone: coffee professionals and enthusiasts alike.”
With that in mind, the POUR Coffee Festival is also incredibly intentional in its design. Along with showcasing the work of roasters and creating dialogue between coffee pros and newbies, POUR is built around three main pillars: sustainability, education, and diversity. Patrons will be handed ceramic mugs to sample coffees, and the goal is to reduce waste from last year’s output, which was still incredibly small. “Last year we only had four 50-gallon trash bags of non-recyclable, non-compostable garbage at the end of our 400+ attendee festival, which is something we’re incredibly proud of. This year, we’re taking what we’ve learned and are working to reduce that number even more, with our goal to be as close to zero waste as we can,” Matt shares.
Likewise, education is paramount to the POUR team. “We care about empowering people with information,” says Diana, “which is why it’s our priority to create an educational space on the festival floor where folks can learn from leaders in the coffee industry.” The festival will feature a space for folks to take free classes and learn more about the dynamic world of coffee.
Lastly, the festival is committed to promoting inclusion. A portion of sales will go to support competitors as part of the Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp, and tickets will be available at an accessible price point. “We’ve also made it our priority to make our ticket prices affordable ($12-$20) so that, no matter what your background or financial situation, you can attend POUR,” says Diana. “We really want to make this event accessible and fun for everyone!”
The POUR Coffee Festival will take place on Sunday, March 10, at Lenny Boy Brewing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are available here—and you should act now (tickets for the inaugural POUR Coffee Festival sold out quickly)!