How many ways are there to enjoy a cup of coffee? A thousand probably. Alone, to wake up in the morning, at lunch with a friend, over a good conversation, in a meeting, quickly at work or a firm favourite, in a coffee cafe, with the buzz of people all around you and that familiar smell that lured you in. On the farm we drink good coffee to keep us sane. Boeretroos, we call it in Afrikaans.
This weekend, Bloemfontein had its own coffee expo, the third of its kind, but the first I am aware of, and because I love coffee so much I had to pop in to see what they offer.
The venue at Urth Garden Centre, was perfect for the occasion. Spacious enough and with options to sit inside or outside in the sun. You could also go eat a bite at the nursery if you were hungry.
I was fortunate to attend the well prepared and interesting presentation on the origins of coffee done by James Kilbourn from Stereo Cafe, but unfortunately had to miss out on the other presentations. I really would have loved to attend the Latte art which was presented by Jaru Coffee.
Other presentations were done by Urban Brew, Royal Roastery, Bloem Coffee Roasting. These companies and some more were also the exhibitors at the expo and there were some lovely displays and coffee experiences, like the coffee tasters done by Bloemfontein coffee roasters.
Unfortunately not one exhibitor thought of bringing decaf with, and I, have limits. Two hours down and I was high speed, all in the name of good coffee. Non-coffee drinking spouses of coffee-lovers could at least drink tea and Urban brew had a lovely red Cappuccino and some very interesting flavoured caffeine-free latte’s, beetroot for one. Their coffee is really good too.
The event also had live entertainment done by the talented Simpl3 stori3s and Atheha London.
I asked Free State local, Chris Eksteen, who drove through from Theunissen to visit the event, on his views. Chris felt that for a first of its type it was a fantastic effort. He suggested that directions to the actual venue at Urth Garden Centre could have been a little clearer. For exhibitors he suggested that they could have smaller sizes of their normal coffees available so you would be able to easily drink cups of coffee from all the different exhibitors. For future events he would like to see more exhibitors and also some food and coffee pairings.
I agree that additional exhibitors would have made the event more exciting and personally, I like a taste of dark chocolate with my coffee and definitely some water between coffees to balance things out.
To close off, if you haven’t visited any of the coffee roasters in Bloemfontein you are really missing out. Each of them have their own unique feel in the shop and special touch to the coffee. On a zero waste note, all three of the roasters also very willingly let me bring my own containers, some on an advance arrangement, to fill them up with coffee beans or freshly ground coffee.
I am excited about the initiative taken for this first coffee expo and I hope that it will be the first of many more coffee related events in Bloemfontein.