Beaucoup brewfests, but no java galas.
That seemed like a missed opportunity to Seidy Selivanow, who moved to Vancouver a few years ago and got into the coffee business. She and her husband launched a company called Kafiex Roasters, supplying beans to local restaurants and cafes, and lately they’re excited — and pretty stressed, she admitted — about the upcoming opening of their own cafe on the west side of Esther Short Park.
Drinking coffee is about as universal as it gets, Selivanow noted, and yet the widespread toast of everyone’s taste buds appears to be beer. Weekend after weekend, beer fandom is what inspires craft brewers, local taprooms and happy drinkers to swarm brew festivals all over the region.
Now, they’ll make room for a cool new beverage. “I noticed that coffee competitions are the opposite of brewery competitions,” Selivanow said. Brewery competitions tend to be public parties, she said, while coffee competitions are “not open to the public. They’re judged by industry professionals.”
“That didn’t make sense to me,” she said. “The public is who’s drinking the coffee.”
If You Go
• What: Cold Brew Fest.
• When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
• Where: Esther Short Park, West Eighth and Columbia streets, Vancouver.
• Cost: $20 for 15 tokens, $30 for 30 tokens.
Selivanow decided to take a page from the brewfest playbook, she said: people buy tokens and a souvenir glass and mill around enjoying small samples of brewed coffee by different roasters — some local, others as far away as Texas and Australia.
“They can showcase their creations to the public and the public can have a say” by voting for their favorites, Selivanow said.
And since the coffee style called “cold brew” is taking over the world these days, she settled on that as the theme of the festival. Cold brewing doesn’t mean just pouring hot coffee over ice; it’s “a very Asian and very historical method of extracting coffee” that involves nothing but “beans, water and time,” she said: course-ground beans are steeped in room-temperature or cold water for 12 or more hours. After that, the coffee can be heated — but it’s usually served cold.
Cold brewing can bring out all sorts of different flavors, Selivanow said, and is generally less acidic and less caffeinated than hot coffee. “So many people prefer a cold brew because of that,” she said. Plus there’s the recent trend of infusing cold brew with nitrogen, making it still smoother and apparently creamier — even though there’s no cream.
Curious? That’s what Selivanow wants. “We really want to educate the public about coffee,” she said. “Coffee is one of the largest commodities in the world, after oil, but there is a huge lack of information about it.” To remedy that, she said, she’s worked with a paper artist in Virginia to create an educational coffee display that will demonstrate the whole journey of the bean, from farm to cup.
Approximately 30 different cold brews will be available for sampling, she said, and visitors can vote for Best Cold Brew and Best Nitro Cold Brew. Noncaffeinated cold-brew tea, chai and golden tumeric will be on hand too, as well as juices and smoothies. Two admission packages are available: 15 tokens for $20 or 30 tokens for $30. Tokens are good for food too, and additional tokens can be purchased at the event.
Vancouver reggae band CoLoSo and Portland soul-pop outfit Bitches of the Sun will provide live music.