WHEN you emerge from the MRT subway to Queen Sirikit National Convention Center’s (QSNCC’s) entrance gate and staff put an event’s sticker on your shirt, then hand you one clear empty plastic cup, you know you are ready for fresh caffeine enlightenment at the Thailand Coffee Fest 2018.
For coffee lovers, the event is the closet thing to heaven since coffee tasting, or “cupping,” is offered by almost every single booth in the event.
It is understandable for one to try to stay clean from caffeine for the day, if not days before attending the event, in order to replenish the body with coffee for the next two weeks.
The exhibitors themselves were more than willing to give away free samples, and they had to, considering the number of coffee solution vendors, roasters, growers, importers, including other related businesses such as bakeries, sweets, drinks, tools, equipment and utensils which were creating awareness throughout the event. The number of exhibitors hasn’t decreased from last year.
Strong Thai coffee
It is obviously a good sign to see familiar Thai players such as Bluekoff, Doi Chaang, Doi Tung, Peaberry, Bon Cafe, Aroma Group, Espressoman, and many more still there after the last few years of supposedly “bad economy,” not to mention most of their booths got even larger. These major players offer anything from coffee machines, grinders, beans, all the way to training and even complete franchise solutions.
Drip is hip
Another of festival’s obvious trend is the abundance of smaller drip coffee booths which mostly offer their own roasted beans and of course, cupping sessions for you to try. This hand drip coffee style focuses on something different from a previous trend of quick produce, high-pressure water and steam-milk that resolves around espresso shot; a careful slow pour of small hot water stream at a precisely calculated temperature on to a precisely weighted ground coffee contained in a cone-shape filter paper. Then you wait for the coffee to seep through the paper and “drip” down into your cup.
Nitro Cold Brew is the new beer
Thais are quick to respond to many foreign and western trends and coffee is no exception. This is why you see quite a few craft beer tabs popped up alongside the espresso machines around the hall. It is simply a cold brew coffee charged with nitrogen to produce rich, creamy head (think Guinness) which tastes and feels very much like craft beer.
You can also find wide varieties of coffee/tea-related apparatuses to suit your style, be it industrial, minimalism, stylish, elegant, retro, etc. They are offered by importers, retailers, and even hand-crafted by designers at discounted price.
Brewing it across
“The love of coffee,” although it sounds intangible, but is as lively as the coffee aroma filling the hall, clearly seen, heard and felt among both exhibitors, attendees and the people between them. There were booths of local community groups consisting of coffee and other local products not to mention foreign exhibitors who came from the usual western world and Asians such as Koreans and even Japanese.
“Thai people drinks a lot of coffee, Japanese too. They [Thais] drink even more now,” said one member of a group of Japanese roasters from Nagoya, Kumamoto and Osaka who have found the market here in Thailand and decided to join forces to come back for the second year.
“Promise me you won’t forget to visit us when you come to Japan, ok?”, said one of the roasters with a warm earnest smile.
The Thailand Coffee Fest 2018 event is from March 8-11, 2018
Facebook: Thailand Coffee Fest 2018
Story and photos: Piboon Awasdaruharote