Already from its maiden event, the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL managed to establish itself as a new institution for professionals and coffee aficionados, but also as a great celebration for those who love coffee and its surrounding culture!
For the first time ever, the coffee import, processing and trade businesses, as well as the businesses dealing in related equipment, had the opportunity to come into direct contact with the general public!
During the 13th, 14th and 15th of May 2016, Technopolis Gazi – Athens hosted industry professionals and coffee aficionados who wished to be informed about the latest trends and techniques prevailing in the international coffee scene, to try coffee varieties from all around the globe, to attend educational seminars and presentations and talk with experienced roasters, talented baristas, specialized buyers and renowned guests from Greece and abroad.
For the first time ever, the coffee import, processing and trade businesses,
as well as the businesses dealing in related equipment, had the opportunity to come into direct contact with the general public!
Over 25,000 professionals and coffee aficionados from Greece and abroad, had the unique experience of visiting the 1st ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL during the three days between the 13th and 15th of May, 2016!
Technopolis-Athens, in Gazi, was flooded during all three days by visitors of all ages—both from Athens and the rest of the country—who displayed an unprecedented interest in the presentations, seminars, tastings and live concerts included in the rich program of special events. The festival was held under the auspices of SCA Greece—the organization dedicated to the promotion of speciality coffee—and was sponsored by BARISTA’S Gold.
The overwhelming response of sector professionals and buyers alike, as well as the conclusions obtained by the 75 exhibitors from their contact with visitors, demonstrate the huge success of the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL. It is a new institution on coffee and its surrounding culture, with a reputation that has already—from its maiden iteration—surpassed the Greek borders!
The ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL was proven to be a very significant commercial meeting for sector businesses. It was an important forum for exchanging ideas for sector professionals, and a great celebration for coffee lovers. Thanks to its unique architecture, its modern, industrial style and historical significance, Technopolis was the ideal setting for hosting the festival and receiving thousands of visitors from Greece, Cyprus and twenty more countries.
Making the most of all available spaces, but always with respect for the monument’s history, the organizing company, FORUM SA, gave exhibitors the opportunity to present their products and services in the most comprehensive and efficient way possible, to a wide audience of professionals and consumers. Both the exhibitors, as well as the visitors of the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL were impressed by the high level of the organization, as well as the richness of special events, which exceeded 45 hours in duration!
The Chatroom, where the presentations were hosted, and the Lab, where the seminars took place, were packed with professionals and consumers during all hours. They attended the presentations from leading baristas, roasters, journalists and other personalities from Greece and abroad.
Nikos Bellis presents the secrets of Latte Art in the Lab
Joseph Brodsky in The Chatroom
Speakers at the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL included the coffee manufacturers Joseph Brodsky and Graciano Cruz, SCA’s training director, Annemarie Tiemes, the deputy executive director of SCA, Giannis Apostolopoulos, baristas Alexandru Niculae, Kostas Komninakis and Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, who won first place in this year’s global Roasting, Ibrik and Coffee championships respectively, specialized journalists Sarah Allen (Barista Magazine), Michal Molcan (Standart Magazine) and Henry Wilson (Perfect Daily Grind), older world champions Stefanos Domatiotis, Giorgos Koustoumpardis, Tasos Delichristos and Stavros Lambrinidis, the winners of the PanHellenic coffee championships Thanasis Nikolis, Nikos Belis and Michalis Karagiannis, and others.
Festival visitors also had the chance to tour the Coffee Museum, which hosted 150 rare objects dating from the early 18th century, to the late 1970s! For the first time ever in Greece, a specially designed area hosted painting by German visual artist Goesta Hellner, who utilizes coffee sacks as canvases. The ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL was complemented artistically by three live concerts, with the participation of Penny Baltatzi, Idra Kayne and RSN, while the events concluded with an after party by dj PlayMo’Bill in the packed main square of Technopolis.
Visitors’ turnout and participation in ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL seminars and presentations—organized at the Lab, the Chatroom and the Technopolis main stage—exceeded all expectations. Approximately 6,000 industry professionals and coffee aficionados attended a rich program of events that lasted 49 hours throughout the 3 days of the festival. The packed LAB room, received three times as many visitors than originally anticipated! Top baristas and roasters from Greece and abroad managed to answer all questions asked by the audience, presenting simple and specialized techniques on preparing hot and cold beverages, coffee grinding and roasting, and even on matters of equipment maintenance for baristas or home baristas.
It is worth mentioning that three—of the total of five—winners of this year’s coffee world championships conducted so far—Alexandru Niculae (Roasting), Michalis Dimitrakopoulos (Coffee in Good Spirits) and Kostas Komninakis (Ibrik), were among the speakers of ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL seminars.
The program of seminars was prepared by the editorial team of SNACK & COFFEE magazine, in collaboration with SCA Greece—under whose auspices the festival was held—and with the assistance of BARISTA’S Gold, which was the major sponsor of the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL.
“The festival proved to be a great celebration of coffee and its surrounding culture, as well as an important step in raising awareness of both professionals and consumers about issues related to coffee cultivation, processing, supply and, ultimately, quality”, said the national coordinator of SCA Greece, Konstantinos Konstantopoulos.
“We committed to the notion that visitors at the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL would get to experience coffee, perhaps in a way that they had never previously imagined. It was widely agreed that the presentations, seminars and tastings we organized during the three days between the 13th and 15th of May achieved this purpose”, said Nikos Chouladakis, Managing Director of the organizing company, FORUM SA.
“We sincerely thank the speakers, the visitors and all those who contributed to achieving this goal. We all leave Technopolis with more knowledge, flavorful experiences and information about coffee. Taking advantage of the conclusions of the first event, we are already preparing for the 2nd ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL, in 2017!”
For the first time ever in Greece, rare items related to the processing, trade and enjoyment of coffee were gathered in one venue: the Coffee Museum that operated as part of the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL. More than 150 rare objects dating from the early 19th century to the early 1970s, were hosted at the Coffee Museum, which was open for the duration of the ATHENS COFFEE FESTIVAL in the old furnaces building, the most imposing area of the historic gas factory in Gazi.
All festival visitors and exhibitors without exception, browsed the impressive museum and embarked on a mental journey through time, from the shelves of pharmacies in the 1800s, where coffee was sold as an elixir in porcelain silos, to the early postwar years when the electrification of the country allowed for the upgrading of local neighborhood coffee shop equipment.