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The Seventh Annual Coffee and Tea Festival Hits NYC Like a Shot of Espresso

28 Feb

This weekend marked the seventh annual, “Coffee and Tea Festival,” at, “7 West,” located on 475 E. 34th Street in Manhattan.
The event, celebrating coffee and tea, featured samples from several vendors and small businesses as well as a regional, “barista competition.”
The scene upon entrance mid-event, looks much like you would expect a tradeshow to look while still in the preparatory or end-stage. Scattered empty cardboard boxes line the eleventh floor entranceway, just outside of the elevator doors where hundreds of people are scurrying in, out and around like hornets out of a nest shot with an arrow.
The tables are placed adjacent to one another but in a non-diagrammed and disorganised fashion. The first table to the left belongs to, “ING Direct,” a company which has apparently branched out from banking into the coffee industry, but still is sure to offer information on mortgages, accounts and investments with their firm.
Next is, “The Village Voice,” they unfortunately have taken the obvious and logical path of a newspaper firm, that is, opening a coffee house; they fortunately make up for their crime by offering, “Kind,” bars to anyone who signs up for one of their various newsletters.
The man and woman at the, “Kind,” stand did not live up to their name, sadly. They filled cups with granola samples and otherwise texted and talked to one another, occasionally glancing at customers with a, “move along,” look.
The event is far from limited to its implicit focus. Among the displays you will find exhibitors such as Justin Perry, 23, spokesperson for, “Green Mountain Energy,” whose goal is to, “Switch you over from Con-eds disgusting paradigm of coal and nuclear gas to hydroelectric energy.”
Product samples are limited to half inch biscuit and candy bar pieces and one to two ounce coffee, tea and juice samples, the money spent pays more for the experience than the products themselves.
The event drew not only consumers, but also competition, such as owner of the award-winning coffee company, “Organic Coffee Cartel,” Clay Enos. “I’ve never been to a regional competition before,” says Enos, “I have been to world competitions, but when I heard it on the radio this morning, that it was up the street I said, ‘Why not?’ today’s efforts are on a smaller scale but the efforts and rules are the same.”
As for the vendors, Enos says, “the tradeshow itself is on a smaller scale and far more tea-biased than I expected, but when it’s up the street and you can share a barista competition with someone who hasn’t seen one, why not?”

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