After a disappointing withdrawal from the festival last year (due to school schedules, work schedules, not having the certificates we needed), we finally made it this year. We were so excited to be part of an awesome gathering that is the San Francisco Coffee Festival. A place full of people ranging from beginner to expert coffee connoisseurs, young and older crowd eager to see and taste what the local coffee community has to offer.
As we got there on Friday afternoon, you can feel the excitement and some of the stress a festival this size brings. There was major traffic issues due to some road and street closures so some of the vendors were running late. We got there at around 3pm or so already tired from packing 135 bags of coffee for the event. We set up our booth pretty quick since we only showed up with a banner, a table, a drip brewer, 6 carafes and 3,600 sample cups. It was roughly 70-71 degrees, it felt so good after a really hot summer in the valley.
Saturday morning I woke up at 5:45am, got ready and went down stairs to enjoy the free breakfast the hotel I stayed with my family offered. I always get this nervous/excitement feeling and it just turns my stomach around but knowing it was going to be a busy day, i forced myself to eat two slices of toast with cream cheese, a banana and milk carton. I took a green apple as a snack just in case. Theresa ( my mother in law) was going to help us out for this event. She has great talking skill and she loves coffee so I knew this was gonna be right up her alley. She picked me up from the hotel and we went to pick up Anthony and then off to Fort Mason we went. We got to the venue, the weather again was perfect. Nice ocean breeze, I think it was in the mid 50's. We got to our booth and we turned on the brewer to warm up, got our 5 gallon jugs of water, got our vendor passes and we got to brewing! We decided to just brew our flavor coffees and excluding our single origin coffee since the festival was going to have a lot of options for single origin coffee. We had talked about a game plan to keep a steady flow between the two talkers (Anthony and Theresa) and the brewer/POS handler/sample cup refiller/photographer (me) and man did it work. Work flow was great. We never bumped into each other, no accidental spills, communication was great. I was so stressed out about handling such a big crowd but our game plan was near perfect that we were able to handle the lines we got at times. Of course using a drip machine has its perks. You can brew a lot more to serve more people. After the first session was done, people were asked to leave. We were still riding on adrenaline and kept helping people who approached us and we were left with 15 minutes to eat something before the second session started. We continue on for the rest of the afternoon with the same rhythm. 4:30pm came and we were done for the day.
Sunday morning was pretty much the same except I was more calm in the morning. I was able to eat a more filling breakfast. I was tired from the day before but I was pumped. The adrenaline from the constant rush was addicting. We got there, got our brews ready and off we go. It was a lighter crowd Sunday morning which was actually good. It gave us time to get into the rhythm of things. For our lunch break we decided to hide behind the curtain and actually enjoy our meal. Sandwiches and boba drinks hit the spot. I was only able to check out three coffee vendors. Our neighbors to the left, Grand Coffee, had some smooth pour overs going. I loved their back drop ( note to self, get a back drop for next year) and I hella liked their decals but forgot to get one. Our neighbors to the right were Quokka Coffee. Hella good Cold brew in a can with oat milk. If you get a chance, get yourself a six pack. I recommend it. You can even order them on Amazon. I got to try out Cafe Graciela. Their Specialty Blend was light and delicious with the perfect amount of sweetness to it. As the day came to an end and we handed out 3600 sample cups plus like 30 cups we borrowed from our neighbor ( thanks Quokka Coffee for being generous) I felt like we accomplished something big. Actually we accomplish something huge! The amount of positive feedback we got from everyone was overwhelming and something I was hoping to get. Two owners from different established coffee companies told us to keep it up. We're heading the right direction and not to give up. I find words like that very inspiring. Especially coming from established business owners. I sometimes wonder how our coffee would measure up alongside more experience companies. I now know that we do have a place in the coffee community and we can't wait to share it with the world.
So this event is what needed to happen to us. To showcase our coffee to a larger audience and to put into perspective of what our next steps should be as a coffee roasting company. 2024 I can't wait to see what you have in store for us.